I don’t think I have to say that data loss is everyone’s nightmare. At home, data loss could mean years worth of photos, videos, financials, and documents lost. In business, data loss means money out the window. Many times, however, you want to recover data, but you don’t want to pay the exorbitant fees that data recovery companies charge ($150-$250/hour). Let me introduce you to some free data recovery tools.
1. NTFS Reader (http://www.ntfs.com/products.htm) – NTFS reader is a great little program that comes in a boot disk image. This allows you to boot from a floppy disk, read an NTFS partition, and copy the files to the floppy. This is probably the fastest way to get your files off of a non-booting NTFS partition.
2. Restoration (http://www.aumha.org/downloads/restoration.exe) – Restoration is a utility that allows you to recover items that were deleted out of your recycle bin. It is a very successful tool.
3. Boot Sector Recovery (http://bootmaster.filerecovery.biz/recover_boot_sector.html) – Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting that boot sector back on track. This little utility simply does the job.
4. DIY DataRecovery(http://www.diydatarecovery.nl/download.htm#) – They have a great little repository of free utilities waiting for your perusal. DiskPatch is a great set of tools for repairing partitions, boot sectors and the like. iRecover helps recover lost data. Go check it out.
5. HDCopy(http://home.tiscali.de/zdata/hdcopy_e.htm) – HDCopy allows you to make an exact copy of your drive. You can even push it over to another drive. Ever been stuck with too little space and you wanted to put all your stuff onto a new, huge drive? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
6. Recoverdm (http://www.vanheusden.com/recoverdm/) – Recoverdm allows you to recover disks with bad sectors. Now, having said that, it’s not for the faint of heart. You should be well versed to use this utility.
Remember, once data loss occurs, use that drive as little as possible. This keeps the sectors from being overwritten. Also, you don’t want to be turning the computer on or off, if possible. This will greatly increase your chances for recovering your valuable data.
You’re probably reading this because you have the time to do it yourself or you don’t have the money to purchase commercial data recovery software or services. Just remember, if this is your business and you have really critical data on your drive, it may be time to dig into your wallet. This is especially true if time is of the essence. Also, if your configuration involves RAID or complicated implementations, this also may be time to dish out the money.