Kanakagiri Siddhartha

Recover Data from Crashed Harddisk/Memory Card

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There are two types of hard disks. One that is crashed already and one that will soon. The same can be said about usb drives, memory cards or such storage devices.

We all have experienced data loss due to crashed hard disks or failed memory cards that refused to show up on our file explorers. 

While there are services that recover data from crashed hard drives, they are expensive, cumbersome and actually, do not guarentee any recovery afterall!

This post is intended for those who want some DIY free software to try and recover their data.

First things first. The moment you find any trouble with your storage device, like intermittent detection problems or memory sector error warnings, stop using them immediately. You do not want to overwrite the files which you want to recover.

Before you attempt a recovery, you must try to exhaust options like repairing the hard disk. It can be attempted from utilities like Disk Utility on Mac OS X and CHKDSK in Windows. 

Now there are a lot of free softwares that can help you recover your data from crashed disks, like Recuva, Zero Assumption Recovert etc. I am going to introduce one which i had most and consistent success with. I wish i had discovered it earlier.

TestDisk is a manual CLI application which works under Windows/Linux and Mac Operating systems. It recognizes multiple file systems and partition tables. 

Download and Install TestDisk. If you are using Linux or Mac, you need to be the root user. Connect your hard disk/memory card and fire up TestDisk. You will see a command line terminal. Wait for it to display all the devices connected. It will also display your native hard disk. You want to be cautious here. Verify the size before proceeding further. User input is determined by a letter to be typed in. A legend at the bottom of the command line is available for the user. The letters are case sensitive. C is different from c.

Once you have selected your target disk, select proceed using arrow keys. In the options page next, you will see options like Analyze, Advanced etc. You have to select Advanced using Arrow Keys and enter. In the Advanced options, you will find an option called 'List'. Look out for the legend at the bottom. Click on list and you will find all your files. Select one or more files and click on copy. You will be asked to select a target folder, which is where you want to copy your recovered files. Remember, there is no GUI and you have to navigate through the entire process using keyboard. Once you have selected your target, you can iterate through the folders in the crashed disk for recovery. 

Remember, depending on the size of your crashed disk, the whole recovery process may take from an overnight to an entire week. The more time you spend on it, the more data you can hope to recover.

Wish you success!

Siddhartha's books

A Christmas CarolMidhunamLate Victorian Holocausts: El Niño Famines and the Making of the Third WorldThe HobbitThe Emperor of All MaladiesThe Compleat Angler, or the Contemplative Man's RecreationThe Lord of the RingsMan Against MythOne Last Story and That's It
ChowringheeHarry Potter Boxed SetThe Sense of an EndingThe Man Who Knew Infinity: A Life of the Genius RamanujanThe AlchemistThings Fall ApartA Time to KillThe Hungry TideSea of Poppies
 
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December 14, 2018

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