Chapter 11 - Troubleshooting Data Recovery

11.1 Troubleshooting drive selection

Important: If you hear an unusual clicking or grinding noise coming from a hard drive it is an indication that it has physical damage. Power down the drive immediately and see assistance from a hardware recovery service.

If the physical hard drive is not listed:

The drive letter of the problem drive is not listed:

If the drive letter of the problem drive is not listed, select and search the hard drive

My digital camera is not listed as a drive:

Some digital cameras have a proprietary connection to your computer which Recover My Files cannot recognize as a drive letter. In this case you will need to use a digital camera card reader, an inexpensive device into which your digital camera memory card is inserted and then connected to your PC (usually via a USB connection).

My iPod Touch or iPhone is not listed as a drive:

The iPod Touch and iPhone have proprietary protection which prevents software from gaining access to the drive letters. Recover My Files is not able to search these devices. Other apple devices do not have this issue.

11.2 Search speed

Knowing when to stop a search

In most data loss situations Recover My Files is capable of getting back all files within 2 hours (and often in much less time). The greatest time savings can be achieved by knowing when to stop a search.

The longest search component of Recover My Files is the sequential search of a hard drive for “Lost” files (by file signature). However, it is rarely necessary to let this search run over the entire drive. Refer to 8.4.2 (File Recovery) and 0 (Drive Recovery) for more information on stopping the search.

General Speed Issues

If you are experiencing a slow search speed, check the following:

11.3 Files do not preview in search results screen

Files which do not preview

Not all file type will preview in the Recover My Files display window. If you are not able to preview a file, switch to Text or Hex view to determine if the file has a valid header and recognizable content. The example in Figure 68 below shows a JEG file in HEX view with a valid JPG header. In this instance, the only way to determine if the file is valid is to save the file and try and open it.


Corrupt files

It is not unusual in a data recovery that some files may be corrupt. The principal reason for this is that new data has been written to the drive since the data loss and the content of the missing file has been overwritten and destroyed. It is also possible that a corrupt partition no longer points to the correct location on the drive for a file. Corrupt files present with random data, as seen below:

Corrupt JPG

Corrupt files can rarely be repaired. If possible, do not save these files. They can be identified by running the Validate Extension tool described in 10.1.1.

A hardware issue

A hardware issue during a search can break the connection between the search results and the problem drive. For example, a drive may lose power after the completion of the search. In this case, all previewed files will show now data, as seen

Hex View

To recover from this problem:

  1. Save a listing of the search results to a .rsv using the save search button in the program toolbar;
  2. Close Recover My Files;
  3. Listen to the drive to determine if it has power and is spinning (If an unusual grinding or clicking noise can be heard, power down immediately and seek assistance from a hardware data recovery service).  Check the status of the drive in Windows > Disk Management.
  4. If the problem drive is a USB, disconnect the drive and power the drive down and up. If the drive is a non USB, consider a reboot of the computer;
  5. Double-check computer power settings (see Chapter 7) to ensure that is not a power related issue;
  6. Reconnect the problem drive,
  7. restart Recover My Files and load the search results using the “Load Search” button in the toolbar;
  8. Click individual files in the search results screen to identify if the files preview.

11.4 Saved files do not open

Were you able to preview the file in the search results screen?

Corrupt files which did not preview in the search results screen are unlikely to open once saved. The Valid Extension tool described in 10.1.1 is an automated method of identifying corrupt files and excluding them from the save process.

Conversely, if a file did preview in the search results screen, but does not open once saved, it is an indication of an error during the save process.

Does the file contain valid data?

Open the saved file and view the raw data to determine its content. To do this for small files, change the file extension to .txt and open in notepad. For larger files, download and use a use a hex editor.

In some instances a storage device may power down (or go flat) during the save process. This may cause Recover My Files to save blank files. If this is the case, follow the instructions provided in 11.3 above.

The file contains data but will not open

If the saved file contains data, but does not open, it is likely that it is partially or totally corrupt. Examine the header and content of the file to determine if it has a recognizable file header or read able content. Try an alternate method to open the file. For example:

If problems persist with corrupt files, please contact technical support.