Data Recovery Software: How does it Work?

Data recovery software can be a useful way to undelete lost, corrupted or accidentally deleted files. But how does it work?

All data is made up of a series of 0s and 1s, known as binary data. All files, whether they’re text documents, photos, videos or audio files, are made up of binary data. Each bit represents part of a file; in a document it can represent a letter, in a photograph a pixel’s colour.

When data is deleted on a PC and sent to the Recycle Bin, which is then emptied, it isn’t actually physically gone; what’s actually been deleted is the master file table reference. This is essentially a pointer, or map, to the portion of the drive where the data is stored. When the master file table reference is deleted, the space is marked as free, ready for new data to be overwritten. But the original data is still there, stored as a series of 0s and 1s. As long as this isn’t overwritten, data recovery is possible, and that’s where data recovery software comes into play.

It’s worth pointing out that you should have data recovery software installed and ready in case of a data loss emergency; the irony is that if you install the software after you lose your data, you could inadvertently end up overwriting it. There are loads of great data recovery tools out there, many of them free, and we’ll be going over them in a future post.

One thing to note, however, if that data recovery software will not fix physical problems, such as a head crash on a hard disk drive (HDD) or firmware failure on a solid-state drive (SSD). Data recovery software should only be used in the event of lost, corrupt, or accidentally deleted data. If you have a physical fault, consult a data recovery specialist immediately.

Data Recovery