Data Recovery

What Does Data Recovery Mean?

Data recovery refers to the salvaging or securing of data from failed or compromised hardware systems. In data forensics and espionage, the term refers to techniques for obtaining "hard to get" data, usually during hardware or system failures, or when system data has been erased.

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Techopedia Explains Data Recovery

In the general data recovery category, a few different types of techniques are applied to specific scenarios. Hardware data recovery techniques work on situations where a system failure prevents easy access to a hard drive. With more sophisticated hardware, this problem is easily solved. Another type of data recovery technique applies to disk level failure, where more elaborate approaches may be required. Other types of data recovery pertain to data that has been deleted and possibly overwritten, where data recovery involves specific manipulation of the bits recorded on a drive.

Certain key data recovery techniques that apply to disk failures and other scenarios are sometimes called in-place repair and read-only data recovery. The first type of approach uses utilities and other resources to try to fix disk errors. A read-only approach creates a copy of a drive, where data can be extracted. In another approach, professionals may try to physically repair a failed disk with replacement parts.

A key to understanding data recovery is to look at the difference between older magnetic drive mediums and new solid-state drives, which record data in different ways.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.