Data Recovery: Logical Damage

Logical damage is what occurs when a hard drive is damaged in a way that requires software data recovery. This happens when the damage is not found in the physical components of the hard drive, but rather in the software itself. When the coding is corrupted by media errors or bad file partitions, it must be extracted using a software extraction method. There are many different ways that logical damage can occur within a data storage unit, and there are many ways it can be remedied. Often, the use of professional data recovery technicians is essential in the recovery of data lost by logical damage.

Different Types of Logical Damage to Data

Overwritten data is perhaps the most commonly-cited source of logical damage to data. People mistakenly overwrite or erase large amounts of information from their hard drives while trying to do something else. It is often assumed that once this data is erased it is gone forever. However, the truth is that it can sometimes be recovered through the use of various software options. Of course, this depends heavily on the type of drive being used. Most computer hard drives are very difficult if not impossible to recover overwritten data from. However, solid-state drives can be rescued to a certain extent.

This is because solid-state drives overwrite data differently than other types of drives. Unlike hard drives, solid-state drives store their data in pages. Using flash memory, these drives are able to create new files overwriting old ones while still retaining the original source data in the background. This data can sometimes be recoverable after a number of overwrites, depending on the amount of overwrites and the methods used to recover the data.

Corrupt partitions and file errors are another type of logical damage that requires the use of software to recover data. When there are corrupt partitions in the drive, it can become impossible for the data to be read. Data that has been compromised in this way can often be recovered, and mostly to a large extent. There are a number of ways to recover this data, including the use of data recovery technicians. However, this type of data loss is often looked upon as a "low level" loss, and it often only requires the use of a consumer-level data recovery software. As such, this is potentially the least expensive of the different classes of data recovery.

Repairing Logical Data to Hard Drives

Depending on the exact type of corruption being faced, logical damage to data can either be the easiest or most difficult type of data corruption to fix. When the damage exists in the data partitions and file-systems, the data can be very simple to repair. In fact, just about any untrained person with the ability to purchase some software can often remedy these problems. However, when data has been overwritten on a hard drive, it can be nearly impossible to get back. This is different for solid-state drives, but even then it can be extremely difficult to get this data back.

There are five major forms of data recovery software that can be used to remedy logical damage to data. They are called bootable software, consistency checkers, forensic software, file recovery software, and imaging software. They each have their own specific uses and benefits that can cater to the needs of each user.

Bootable software is intended to be used when a system is so corrupt that it can barely boot up. When users have a system that has been corrupted to the point where they turn the computer on and simply get an error message, this is the software to use. It may not always fix the problems, but it is the only option in these cases before physical data recovery is used.

Consistency checkers will cross-reference any active files with the remnants of previous versions of those files. When there are inconsistencies, the user is alerted and given options for recovery.

File recovery software is used to repair or recover media files and other files when they have been corrupted. The fidelity of the files the user can save using this method is not seen as "excellent" but is enough to bring reasonable value back to the data.

Forensic recovery software is used by law enforcement personnel to recover data from hard drives that have been intentionally wiped clean. Due to the expansive nature of this software, it has also become popular for use with commercial data recovery. For the most part, this is considered overkill because of level of damage criminals apply to hard drives to hide contents.

Imaging software takes an image of the disk contents, which can then be applied to another drive. This method can be useful for lightweight data recovery operations, but is perhaps not in-depth enough to have an impact on a drive with significant damage.