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Raw Data Recovery

Raw data recovery is used in cases when logical structures of file systems have suffered serious corruption or were overwritten. Normally, a file system holds specific information about each file, such as name, type, size, number of clusters (for big files), location, etc. In the case of damaged directory structures and missing file information, it is not possible to recover original names of the files, and folders starting from the root are not available as well, so the regular tools for data recovery do not work in this situation.

Raw data recovery uses the scan method, reading all sectors on the disk sequentially sector by sector using a file signature search algorithm. Most file types have unique file header and, sometimes, footer signatures. This allows cutting out the data found between the header and footer. If the file size is smaller than the cluster size, there are big chances to get a perfectly recovered file.

When the file is larger, it is usually stored in consecutive clusters on the disk. The probability of successful recovery for big files depends on some conditions. Larger files should be stored in consecutive clusters, or a problem results such that the fragmentation of a partition increases the probability that all used clusters are not sequential, and the effectiveness of this recovery method would be less successful. E-mail files, large documents, databases and large image files fall into this category. To recover fragmented files correctly, data recovery specialists takes intelligent approach as manual data recovery. These techniques require the knowledge of reassembling the file, analyzing all possible combinations of clusters and putting all findings together into a new file. Obviously, it can be done for a few of files with a known content.

The disadvantage of raw recovery is that the files are recovered without file names and storage paths. Normally this recovery method is used as the last resort.

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