We’ve probably all lost data at some point, and many of us have tried various drive recovery solutions over the years. Of these, Disk Drill has been available for Mac OS X users for some time, but the company currently offers a Windows compatible version, released last year. The best part? It’s totally free (and not in the ad-ridden, drowning in popups kind of way). So does it work? Using some of my own data as a guinea pig, I decided to find out.
The interface is clean and simple
To begin with I’ll list the features of Disk Drill as Clever Files describes it on their product page:
- Any Drive
- Our free data recovery software for Windows PC can recover data from virtually any storage device - including internal and external hard drives, USB flash drives, iPods, memory cards, and more.
- Recovery Options
- Disk Drill has several different recovery algorithms, including Undelete, Protected Data, Quick Scan, and Deep Scan. It will run through them one at a time until your lost data is found.
- Speed & Simplicity
- It’s as easy as one click: Disk Drill scans start with just the click of a button. There’s no complicated interface with too many options, just click, sit back and wait for your files to appear.
- All File Systems
- Different types of hard drives and memory cards have different ways of storing data. Whether your media has a FAT, exFAT or NTFS file system, is HFS+ Mac drive or Linux EXT2/3/4, Disk Drill can recover deleted files.
- Partition Recovery
- Sometimes your data is still on your drive, but a partition has been lost or reformatted. Disk Drill can help you find the “map” to your old partition and rebuild it, so your files can be recovered.
- Recovery Vault
- In addition to deleted files recovery, Disk Drill also protects your PC from future data loss. Recovery Vault keeps a record of all deleted files, making it much easier to recover them.
- Disk Drill For Windows - Free download here
The Recovery Process
(No IDE hard drives were harmed in the making of this photo)
My recovery process involved an old 320GB IDE drive, which was used for backup until a power outage-related data corruption (I didn’t own a UPS at the time, and the drive was in the process of writing) which left me without a valid partition. At one point I had given up and formatted the drive; thinking all of my original backup was lost. Thankfully I didn’t use it much after this, and it’s been sitting on a shelf for years.
There are different methods that can be employed to recover lost or deleted data. One of these is to scan for the file headers (or signatures), which contain information about what type of file it is (i.e. Microsoft Word, JPEG image, etc.). There are advanced recovery methods that attempt to reconstruct an entire file system, preserving the folder structures and the original files names. Unfortunately, this is not a simple (or fast) process, and is generally left to the professionals.
Subject: Storage | April 18, 2016 - 12:32 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: storage, sony, optical disc archive, optical disc, ODA, hard drives, backup, Archival
Sony has developed a higher-capacity version of their Optical Disc Archive (ODA), which now allows up to 3.3 TB of archival storage with the promise of 100-year retention.
Sony ODS-D280U (Image credit: Sony via Computer Base)
Of course the viability of such a system in the next century is unknown, and a working cartridge (which is similar to the multi-CD systems found in cars a few years ago) would be needed to access the data. The idea is certainly interesting considering the potential for failure with traditional hard drives, though hard drives are relatively inexpensive and offer more utility, unlike the write-once Sony ODA cartridges.
Cartridge exploded view (Image credit: Sony via Computer Base)
For those seeking pure read-only archival storage, the higher capacity of the second-generation Sony ODA at least brings it closer to parity with current hard drive storage.
Subject: Storage | October 21, 2015 - 09:22 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: western digital, WD, sandisk, ssd, hard drives, solid-state drive
Western Digital has agreed to purchase Sandisk for $19 billion in cash and stock, a deal which values Sandisk at $86.50 per share and represents a 12% premium over yesterday's closing price. Current Western Digital CEO Steve Milligan will remain in charge of the company, which retains its headquarters in Irvine, California, while SanDisk's CEO Sanjay Mehrotra is expected to remain with Western Digital and join their board of directors.
Sandisk had reportedly been looking for a buyer, with Micron the other likely candidate according to this morning's report from The Wall Street Journal. The move should help to better position Western Digital in the SSD space, something rival Seagate appeared to be focused on when purchasing LSI last year. Neither company has any significant presence in the consumer solid-state market dominated by Samsung, and it will be interesting to see where WD goes with the Sandisk brand.
Subject: Storage | April 9, 2013 - 08:24 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: usb 3.0, thunderbolt, hard drives, g-technology, g-drive, g-dock
G-Technology took the wraps off of a new external storage product lineup during NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) this week. The new series includes the G-Dock thunderbolt-connected hard drive dock, and the G-Drive and G-Drive Plus Evolution external hard drives.
The G-Dock is an aluminum external hard drive enclosure that features two hot-swappable drive bays that can accept up to two G-Drive (or G-Drive Plus) external hard drives. The G-Dock includes two Thunderbolt ports for daisy chaining other Thunderbolt devices and to connect to the PC. While in the G-Dock, the drives connect via SATA 6Gbps ports. The G-Dock supports JBOD, RAID 1, and RAID 0 modes to configure it for storage, data redundancy, and performance. The G-Dock comes with a Thunderbolt cable and two 1TB G-Drive Evolution external hard drives. It has a MSRP of $749.95 and will be available in May.
G-Technology's G-Dock enclosure accepts the company's own G-Drive ruggedized hard drives. The G-Drive Evolution drives are fitted into an aluminum case. The 2.5" 7200 RPM drives come in 500GB and 1TB capacities. According to G-Technology, the external hard drives are capable of up to 126MB/s transfer speeds. The G-Drives connect via SATA 6Gbps while in the G-Dock, but the drives also feature USB 3.0 ports to connect to PCs when it is used as an individual drive. Available in May, the G-Drives have an MSRP of $149.95 for the 500GB capacity and $199.95 for the 1TB model.
Finally, the G-Drive Plus is a 2.5" 7200 RPM drive that is also installed in an aluminum case (though it is a bit thicker than the non-plus G-Drive). It has the same USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps ports, but it is only available as a 1TB drive. It is reportedly capable of up to 250MB/s transfer rates. The speed increase comes at the cost of a higher MSRP of $349.95. The G-Drive Plus will be available this summer.
The G-Dock and included G-Drives are Mac formatted out of the box and have a 3 year warranty. The company is positioning the multi-bay dock and hard drives at media professionals that need high-capacity portable storage and high-bandwidth connections.
Subject: General Tech | March 4, 2013 - 12:40 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: hgst, hard drives, western digital
HGST, the recently purchased research division at Western Digital is promising to double the density of platter drives over the next few years, enhancing the longevity of a storage media that many already consider obsolete. However, like tape and optical media there continue to be many scenarios where inexpensive high density storage is more useful than the speed offered by an SSD. Using a combination of self-assembling molecules and nanoimprinting they are hitting a density of 1.2 trillion bits per square inch, not quite the density of the salted drives we heard about in 2011 but perhaps much closer to market. Each of those dots is 10nm in size and because of the self assembling nature of the pattern HGST told The Register that they expect to be able to shrink the size of those dots even more as their process matures.
"HGST, the Western Digital subsidiary formerly known as Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, says it has developed a method of manufacturing hard-disk platters using nanotechnology that could double the density of today's hard drives."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Yet another Java zero-day vuln is being exploited @ The Register
- Apple 'insider' explains why vid adapter hides ARM computer @ The Register
- NikKTech And Cooler Master Joint Giveaway
- Win an ASUS GTX Titan GPU & Seasonic Platinum 1000W PSU! @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | March 3, 2013 - 04:49 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Seagate, mobile, laptop, hard drives, 7200 rpm
Seagate Technology, the world’s second largest hard drive manufacturer (by market share), recently announced that it will be ceasing production on notebook hard drives featuring 7200 RPM spindle speeds. According to X-Bit Labs, Seagate Director of Marketing and Product Management David Burks stated that “We are going [to] stop building our notebook 7200rpm hard disk drives at the end of 2013.”
Stopping production of high-end notebook hard drives is a curious move for a company that is still dependent on hard drives to survive--with just a toe in the Solid State space with its hybrid hard drives. On the other hand, the market for such high-end notebook drives is likely feeling pressure from Solid State drives for pure performance at any price, cheap hard drives paired with a small mSATA caching SSD, and high-capacity 5400 RPM drives at extremely cheap prices. Users that would have traditionally favored 7200 RPM drives for an extra price during laptop configuration are now faced with more choices on the performance at modest price increases front with caching options. Further, with the advent of interfaces like Thunderbolt and USB 3.0, it is now more acceptable to go with a low capacity, cheaper, Solid State Drive for the operating system and applications while using external hard drives for your storage needs without incurring a transfer speed bottleneck that USB 2.0 exhibited.
Reportedly, Seagate will stop production of its Momentus 7200.4, Momentus 7200.2, and Momentus Thin notebook drive lineups. Further, the storage company will put more focus into further fleshing out its Momentus XT drives. The XT series features a spindle hard drive and small bit of SLC NAND flash for caching frequently accessed files. Hopefully the renewed focus on its hybrid hard drive series will result in drives with larger caches. That may necessitate the move to MLC flash to keep costs down, but I think a HHD with 32GB+ of MLC or TLC flash would be an acceptable compromise.
What do you think of the move? Customers will likely be able to get their hands on 7200 RPM mobile drives well into 2014 thanks to stock on hand at the various OEMs and retailers (and alternative options from other HDD manufacturers), so the fallout is likely to be minimal. Still, is it the right move for Seagate?
Subject: Storage | March 20, 2012 - 01:27 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: storage, Seagate, hard drives, HAMR, density, 1 Tb/in^2
In April 2006 Seagate began shipping the first 3.5" desktop hard drive using Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) technology and since then PMR has become essential in allowing all of the hard drive manufacturers to create the 2 TB+ drives available today. As we approach the limits of what drive manufacturers are able to do using PMR alone; however, they are starting to look at additional technologies to boost the storage density. One such technology on the horizon is Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording, or HAMR. According to a recent press release, Seagate is not only experimenting with HAMR but is the first drive manufacturer to use HAMR to reach 1 Terabit per square in of areal density.
HAMR works by using a laser to heat up the storage medium before the compounds used to store data have their orientation aligned by the write heads of the drive. As bits get smaller and smaller, traditional magnetic recording methods are not strong enough to permanently change the magnetic orientation of the bits, which means that there is an inherent, if theoretical, minimum bit size and corresponding maximum storage density possible with current Perpendicular Magnetic Recording. HAMR further allows drive makers to get around that limitation by heating the physical bits to the point that traditional magnetic write heads can change the orientation.
Via Bit-Tech. The laser heats up the platter before being written to.
The current 1 Terabit per square inch achieved using HAMR is also the theoretical maximum storage density for PMR alone (as mentioned above), which is promising as it implies HAMR still has a lot of working room to improve and has matched the maximum proposed for PMR.
Seagate expects to use HAMR to produce 60 TB+ 3.5" and 20 TB+ 2.5" hard drives within the next ten years. To put this areal density in perspective, current 3 TB desktop drives feature approximately 620 Gigabits per square inch while current 750 GB laptop (2.5") drives feature about 500 Gigabits per square inch. Interestingly, when comparing the 1 Tb/in^2 mechanical drive density to flash (ie SSD) storage at equivalent densities, it works out such that a single bit equals 1nm of flash storage!
Unfortunately, we won't be seeing 60 TB drives any time soon. Rather, Seagate expects 6 TB desktop drives and 2 TB laptop drives to be the most immediate benefits of the heat assisted recording technology. Still, as my 2 TB drive is filling up more quickly than I ever imagined (thanks to working with HD video and making regular backups of data), I welcome as much increased storage as I can get!