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Looking for Your Data in the Garbage

They say cleanliness is next to Godliness but in data recovery structure and organization stands next to none.


So your new assistant can't find that all-important file you have been working on. The back up is gone and the original is nowhere to be found as well.

Looking for your precious data in the garbage isn't fun. You know it is somewhere on the drive. Maybe it is corrupted and unreadable. Maybe it is here under this... shit, what is this?

One precious file lost in a terabyte of trash. Maybe the file is somewhere else? Maybe. Maybe. Maybe. Data recovery is so much easier when you know where the data is supposed to be. Maybe it is on that drive that crashed last week that had nothing but company party videos. Maybe it's time to start digging in that trash can.

At Secure Data Recovery, we don't mind taking the lid off a hard drive to recover the movie of your boss wearing a lampshade, but we are just as unhappy as you when we can't find your "lost retainer."

Data Recovery begins with Data Organization

The problem that usually comes with data organization is the person who would normally volunteer for such a task is some left-brained geek who would try to figure out some complex system of digital filing, so everyone would know where everything goes and where everything is.

And where would this digital table of contents be? On the very hard drive that crashed. That plan doesn't work. Computers are already good at organizing things; it's the people that need to be organized.

Believe it or not, data organization is often best left to semi right-brained graphics guys who tend to organize in bigger clumps of data, i.e. accounting files ALL go here, proposals ALL go here, engineering files ALL go here, etc. etc. These rules should have no exceptions, ever—unless you like looking through the trash.

Knowing where everything is

What's on this drive? I don't know, but it's important. That, surprisingly isn't a worthless answer. We at least know what your stress level is. You have lost your virtual wallet and you have no idea how much money was in it. We get it.

It's not like when a drive dies and you know it had all of last week's accounting on it—and you haven't backed it up yet. You lost your wallet, but you know it had exactly $8,000 in it. Still stressful, but knowledge helps you to deal with it more effectively. We know what we lost and we need to have it back within three days. Or, we know what we lost and it doesn't matter how fast we get it back.

Don't mix the ants with the elephants

A vital document in Word may take up 516 KB of space while a Final Cut Pro project may take up gigabytes of space—it may be best not to mix the two. Why? Do you really want to go through the effort of recovering 250 gigabytes of worthless video just to recover that vital 516 KB file?

And while we are talking ants and elephants, not all files are as important as others. Why mix your most important files with your every day files? In the real world, you have filing cabinets, locked filing cabinets, and then the wall safe. The same should apply in the virtual world. You need a strategy for your files—not an obsessive detailed plan that is hard to follow but a general strategy that makes sense, that works, and is set up as a routine from which you should never deviate.

Know where to look

The old joke goes that a man is searching under a streetlight for a silver dollar he lost. Two fellows come along and decide to help.

One asks, "Where exactly did you drop it?"
The man replied, "Oh, I dropped it over there in the alley."
Exasperated, one man asked, "Then why are we looking over here?"
"Because the light's better," was the reply.

Knowing where your data is, or should be, is an important part of maintaining data. Too often, data recovery is a step that companies take, hoping to find a file. They know that everything that was on the drive was worthless, but the thought of that one critical file being there is worth the try. For the record, we don't mind searching through the trash for you. Hopefully, the above information will make it less likely that we have to.

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