Data recovery requires five major steps:
- Protecting the source drive holding the lost data.
- Installing File Scavenger®.
- Purchasing a license to activate File Scavenger®.
- Scanning the source drive and saving recovered data to another drive.
- Validating the recovered data.
It is most important to immediately stop data from being written to the source drive being recovered. New data may irreversibly and permanently overwrite lost data, thus making it unrecoverable. This page describes procedures that allow no or the least amount of writing to the source drive. If carefully followed they provide the best chances for a successful recovery.
First determine if the source drive is a system (boot) or data drive and follow the appropriate link below. The procedures for a system drive are more elaborate. A system drive is one holding files required by the operating system (i.,e., Windows®) or a critical component such as Internet Explorer. On a standard PC drive C: is almost always the system drive. Note that "My Documents" and "Desktop" are not a drive but merely folders, usually located on the system drive. If a drive only holds user programs and data, it is a data drive.
For highly customized computers, click here to determine if the source drive is a system drive.
We describe three procedures as follows:
Creating a backup disk image file
If the drive holds high-value, irreplaceable data, create a backup disk image of the source drive onto a new drive. A disk image file is an exact
sector-by-sector copy of a disk. Many popular disk utilities provide this function.