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Why You Should Never Recover to a Failing Drive

Data loss is less of a question of ‘if’, but more ‘when’. It’s something that will happen to every drive – perhaps not during the lifetime of when you use it, but it’s not unlikely. Of course, in an ideal world everyone would backup their files and there’d be no need to ever recovery anything. As you’re probably aware, the world certainly isn’t ideal and data is constantly being lost.

Luckily, programs such as R-Studio exist that allow you to recover your data. When data is removed from your drive, it isn’t actually permanently removed. Even once you’ve cleared your Recycle Bin, that data still technically exists on your hard drive. This is the reason that programs and professionals are able to recover data that has been deleted or corrupted.

This is because when a file is deleted your system just marks it for deletion and hides it from view. Technically, that data is still on your drive. This data is overwritten only when new data is created on the drive and assigned to that space. You don’t have control over what data is overwritten – which is why you could find that files deleted from months ago can be recovered when files from weeks ago can’t.

This information is precisely why you shouldn’t attempt to store any recovered files on the drive that you’re recovering from. Regardless of if you have the free space to do so, any extra data put on the drive is simply a huge risk. This even means small files, like temporary internet data. It’ll lower your chances of a successful recovery, without question. The best way is to recover the data onto a separate drive – an external hard drive is usually a good choice.

Not only that, but if your drive is mechanically failing (in that the internal components are breaking physically) then it isn’t worth putting any extra strain on the drive than you need to. Keeping activity on the drive to the absolute minimum is highly advisable.

One way to get round this is to create an image of the drive as soon as possible. To create an image of the drive essentially means to replicate it exactly, lost data and all. This way you’ll be able to carry out data recovery on a second drive without putting any strain on the original copy of the data.

Of course, the best recovery programs should already tell you all this information. A recovery program will, by nature, know what drive you’re trying to recover from, and if it doesn’t warn you not to recover to that same drive then you need to be extra careful.

At the end of the day, the bottom line is to stop using a failing drive as soon as possible. Continued use of a drive, whether it’s using your computer normally or attempting recovery, isn’t going to help matters and could cause your chance of a successful data recovery to diminish. Bottom line: never recover data straight onto a failing drive.


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