Reducing exposure to data loss

Here are some tips to help you reduce your chances of permanent loss of data.

  • Backup your data regularly. There is absolutely no substitute for reliable and regular data backup.
  • Utilize the Windows Recycle Bin. This provides a built-in mechanism for protecting recently deleted files by moving them to the Recycle Bin instead of immediately deleting them from the drive. However, the Recycle Bin is limited in space for storing these files and thus is only a viable feature for recently deleted files.
  • Be wary of deleting data using any secure/shredder type utility. These utilities bypass the the Recycle Bin and typically delete data in such a manner as they are not recoverable even with the use of a recovery utility.
  • Be wary of deleting data using SHIFT+DELETE this also bypasses the Recycle Bin. However, data deleted in this manner is not secure/shredded and can often be recovered with the user of a recovery utility.
  • Defragment (defrag) your drives often. This assists in forcing the operating system to write new data in the contiguous free space towards the end of your drive as opposed to potentially reusing the physical space occupied by recently deleted data.

Maximizing success of recovering lost data

Any file activity on the drive that the lost data resides on will reduce your chance of successfully recovering lost data. Any new file activity may cause partial or even permanent loss of your lost data. This is due to the manner in which file data is managed by your operating system reuses free drive space for new data.
  • Attempt to recover your lost data as soon as possible. The more time that passes since the data was physically deleted the less chance of success you will have recovering that data due to the increased chance the physical space the data occupied will be reused.
  • Do not install new software to the same drive the lost data resides on.
  • Do not write new files to the same drive that the lost data resides on.
  • Do not defragment (defrag) the drive that the lost data resides on.
  • If your lost data resides on your C: it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED you perform your file recovery by physically removing the C: drive from your computer and attaching it as a slave on another computer and then performing the file recovery using that other computer. This is to prevent your operating system from writing new files, such as temporary files, swap file data, cache, etc. to the C: drive. Please consult your computer manufacturer for assistance configuring hard drives in this manner.