Restore formatted disks and deleted files with Active@ UNFORMAT

Computers & Technology

  • Author James Keene
  • Published July 20, 2020
  • Word count 519

No two data recovery scenarios are the same. There are so many things which can go wrong, even on today's machines, which are a lot more reliable than they used to be. But in spite of that, most cases of data loss occur due to human error. Most of us have experienced that dreaded situation where we have emptied the recycle bin only to realize too late that there were important files there too. It is an easy mistake to make if you are in the habit of quickly deleting files you think you no longer need. Perhaps even more common, however, is accidentally formatting the wrong hard drive or partition and deleting every single file and folder on it in the process. Of course, other situations are completely out of our control, a common example being a logical disk failure or power cut.

In the end, there are lots of reasons for data getting lost, but that does not mean it cannot be recovered. In fact, in most cases, it is possible to recover everything that was deleted, but you need to act quickly. When you perform a typical file operation that involves deleting data, nothing will change at first, save for the information about the file in the master file table. The MFT is like a huge database, which stores information about all the files on your hard drive, but it doesn't include the contents of the files themselves. When you delete a file, the MFT simply deletes the entry, thus marking the disk space that was previously occupied by the file as available. The same applies when you format a drive or partition, in which case the entire MFT is deleted and the drive appears empty.

Except, the drive isn't empty. All the original data is still there, hidden. Even if the drive hasn't been formatted and assigned a file system, the data is still there. But, because it doesn't have the original file system, the files will be inaccessible to your operating systems and other programs. The original data will stay there, intact, until something else overwrites it. And that's why you need to act quickly to exploit that opportunity, or the data could finally be gone for good. Active@ UNFORMAT is designed to help you do that, without requiring any special data recovery knowledge. It gives you the best chances possible to get back the files you've lost and recover entire drives which have been accidentally formatted. The new version also adds recovery support for Apple's ApFS file system.

Version 10, launched on April 22, 2020, provides support for many new file signatures. This makes it easy to find files of certain types, since their original metadata will be lost. New file signatures supported include AQ, ODT, ODG, ODP, OPDS, ODF, ODB, DOCX, XLSX, and PPTX. Other improvements include better recovery on devices with the Microsoft ReFS file system and many minor bug fixes and refinements to the recovery kernel. The software also ships with the latest versions of Active@ Boot Disk Creator and the Boot Disk utilities. Get started at https://www.unformat.com/index.html .

James Keene is a technical support specialist who regularly uses data recovery software to help clients recover lost files.

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