Case Study | Overwritten HDD Recovered After OS Installation
Client Music Files Recovered After Operation System Installed Over Original Filesystem
As rapidly as storage device technology has advanced throughout the decades, human error remains an unsolvable point of failure and a large contributor to data loss. When you experience a hard drive failure or any trouble accessing your data, the safest thing you can do is power off your device until you’ve consulted with a professional and have a plan. One of our clients learned this the hard way. After two failed attempts with other data recovery companies, we finally got our chance.
The client was attempting to install Windows, but unintentionally made the destination their external hard drive. This mistake overwrote essential metadata and rendered all their files inaccessible. After this disaster, they started reaching out to companies for data recovery. The drive contained thousands of professional audio .ptx files that needed to be successfully restored.
So, how do you recover deleted data that has been partially overwritten? By a method typically referred to as a “raw scavenge.” Files are denoted with a header and a footer, comparable to a book having a front and back cover, it bounds the pages (data) inside. If a file is the book, and the hard drive is a library, a raw scavenge would be like going to a library and every book on every shelf is missing its cover and the pages are unbound. How would you tell when a book starts and ends? For the sake of this analogy, you would have to rely on phrases like: “Once upon a time,” or “and they lived happily ever after.” Even then, you couldn’t tell what book (file) you’re looking at unless you can infer from the actual information inside.
Like the ill-fated reader in our library, consumer and professional data recovery software can “scavenge” a drive looking for signatures to determine when a file starts and ends, but it must know what constitutes a signature beforehand. In this case, the relatively obscure .ptx files were not recognized by whichever programs the previous data recovery companies attempted, so they said it was impossible and moved on. When we received the drive in the mail, the client expressed that we’re a last resort and unfortunately, that expectations were low.
We were quick to realize why this recovery had been failed by other companies and wasted no time in developing a solution. One of our engineers created a script specifically for this client and their rare music file which was then able to successfully scavenge a significant percentage of these files with their original name. Not all recovery softwares are created equal, and neither are all data recovery companies! ACE will go the last mile to successfully recover your data, even if it means inventing new solutions along the way.