This publication focus on helping beginners understand if and when data can be recovered. This information is for understanding how the recovery process works and is not to be used as a guide for recovering data. If you don’t have the experience of recovering data you could make the problem worse. There are many factors that could prevent successful recovering of your data. I will not be held liable, or responsible for any actions you take as a result of using information.
As of 2020, most devices have two storage technologies: Hard Disk (HDD) and Solid State (SSD) technology. Depending on which technology your device uses, the way in which the data has been lost, and the knowledge of what solutions are available determines the likelihood of data being recovered.
Identify the Model
Start with identifying your device’s model. That can be found on a sticker or plate attached to the device. Where this sticker or plate exists is determined by the form factor of the device. For Desktops it’s usually printed on one side of the computer case. You may have to shutdown the device to move it into a position to see the information. With laptops and tablets its usually printed on the back of the device. Sometimes the print is so small or non-existent, you may then need software from the manufacture to obtain the information. Or you could use the device’s operating system tools. With PC’s and Laptops running Windows you can use the System Information, for Mac’s its under System Preferences, and for tablets its under the device’s settings tools.
Find out which storage device your device uses
After you obtain the model information you can then use the Manufactures website to look up the storage device’s type. You need to find out if your device uses HDD or SSD technology. Or you could use the device’s operating system tools. With PC’s and Laptops running Windows you can use the System Information, for Mac’s its under System Preferences, and for tablets its under the device’s settings tools. The storage device type should be shown in the tool itself under storage drives or disks.
If your device uses a SSD and the information was erased using a delete file/folder or format command your data is gone. On the other hand if your device uses a HDD you can use a recovery tool to recovery that data, but you have to be sure that you stop writing to that drive (saving information, or using the device on a regular basis and go right into recovery mode. I will not recommend a product due to the limitations of each product. Put you can find a product online using a google search “Data Recovery Software”.
If your data recovery situation meets the requirements in the storage device section. You can use a tool to scan for the information you lost and see what it finds, you can then select the data that is able to be recovered. You most definitely want to store this information on another storage device like a USB Flash drive or external HDD as overwriting information on the storage device you are trying to recover from can actually wipe out the data you are trying to recover.
Recovering data successfully can be tricky depending on the complexity of the loss itself. If you lost your own personal data, you own the device, and you need help recovering it, you can consult with me on a data recovery analysis. Please note that recovering data in a forensic situation requires a forensic recovery expert and there are legal constraints about recovering personal data from another person’s storage device.
- Hard Disk Drive Technology: A hard disk drive (HDD), hard disk, hard drive, or fixed disk is an electro-mechanical data storage device that uses magnetic storage to store and retrieve digital data using one or more rigid rapidly rotating platters coated with magnetic material.
- Solid State Drive Technology: A solid-state drive (SSD) is a solid-state storage device that uses integrated circuit assemblies to store data persistently, typically using flash memory, and functioning as secondary storage in the hierarchy of computer storage
- Form Factor: The physical size and shape of a piece of computer hardware.
- Storage Device: A piece of computer equipment on which information can be stored.
- Forensic Recovery: Relating to or denoting the application of scientific methods and techniques to the investigation of crime.