Friday, July 21, 2006

Recovery Trials

This is an adumendium to the post of earlier. The assumption I utlized and sold myself on when purchasing an external hard disk is/was this will be a 'live' back up system which I can off load my data while still being able to us it. I operated under this philosophy even until error did it part. Even when I got a DVD burner did I maintain that philosophy. The purpose of the DVD burner was to provide quality images to friends without spanning over multiple CDs. I did burn a few DVDs of important files and settings. I did as well burn a few back up pix disks however not of reciently off loaded data/pixs. The pixs I really want to recover are family images and of the immigration rally of two months ago. Pixs of fall colors and of winter soo activities are not all that important however they are vital to me for the process of developing my style.
What I am doing at this time is trying to find work arounds to regain 'read' access to the HD. If I can read it I can save it to another HD or burn to DVD. How I am doing this is by using Live Linux distro's. From these I've gained some info about the drive that I did not have under windows. I am also reading how others have sought to recover lost or deleted files. This info is invaluable and I will try the recovery programs.

Fast forward to this morning, I did not do anything last night with the drive. Today I bit a bite and bought a 250G HD to mirror if I can. My intention is to load a msos onto it, set the other drive up and run some recovery programs. {7/17/06 - I fore went the msos route} Using a file recovery program from I tested recovery on a 128M flash card. I retrieved 200M of deleted files! That was after I reformated the flash card. Is my math correct? Yes it is. I later tried a SD card. The only way I could get the program to recognize the SD card was through the camera interface. The 1gig card worked. The 2gig card did not. I paged the FAQs, some bios's do not recognize the larger cards.

I am still working on the work arounds. The PC tower I am using will not recognize the 250gig HD via Win98 (se). The linux live distro's will not either. This morning I turned on the faulty drive to my laptop, the recovery program did analize and recognize the logical partions. I also looked at the directories and files. Great relief sweapt my brow. I did start a limited recovery to verify that recovery is possible.
Next time to 'play' a little more with the 250gig before launching my recovery effort. I cycled on and off the 250gig trying to replicate the original error, So far no luck. My next thing to try is to recover the data by read & copy.

Yes, last night I ran a r&c program. This morning I hit random files of the some 50 thousand files it found. Of the images I viewed I saw what I went looking for, however, of doc's I saw very few that were readable while the txt's and html's were pretty much garbage. Therefore the conclusion of this trial and error week light to me: BACK UP ALL IRREPLACEABLE DATA! Some people get hit by viruses, some by trojan's, others by malware, me, I get hit by my own uh stupid mistakes.
If you have any image CD that I have given to you over the last 2 (two) years please give me a copy. My recovery effort I know will not be 100%. The more original image CDs I have the more stable my collection will be.
My next steps this week is to redo that which I did last night with refinement to my search pattern, followed by a sort (manually) of the images into folders on the 250G; do that again using another r&c recovery program; compare both results; finally with my images saved from the bad drive restore the partion table.

Yeah my images are salvagable. I ran one r&c last night saving all the jpg's and other images. Now, with those I have to sort them. The yeah transitions to an ugh with the thought of additional work.
The key to all of this is ensure your back up system is fool proof.
I am confident at this point to say I will survive. I do have a lot of work to do over the next few days before I claim this battle for my data is won.

And every time I say 'I am confident that I will survive' something else crops up. Last night I ran my second r&c program only to have it freeze up on me while I created directories to save my data to this morning. Choices and issuses which do I do; do I re-run that program to night or do I try the partion file replacement option of the first program? This is a trick question, I re-run the program.

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