It is an unfortunate fact of life that most of us will eventually need to recover data that we think has been lost forever. Data recovery services that attempt to recover data from damaged hard disk drives are costly and are unable to guarantee results. Without proper planning and implementation of data backup and recovery software upfront, you may never have the opportunity to retrieve or recover that data. How to backup reliably is the challenge that most individuals and businesses are faced with when it comes to data backups and implementing a system that delivers effective, ongoing protection with little or no administration.
What is data recovery?
Data recovery is the process of salvaging data from a failed, damaged, corrupted or inaccessible storage medium when it cannot be accessed normally. In its simplest terms, data recovery is the ability to selectively recover or retrieve your data (files/folders, images, pictures, music etc.). There is a paradigm shift occurring in that data recovery also now includes the ability to retrieve or recover your operating systems settings and applications. This new form of data recovery is called full-system recovery.
Full System Recovery
A full system recovery enables you to recover/retrieve your entire system; data, applications, drivers, settings and your operating system. Significant time is saved by eliminating the need to install applications, configure them for use, and transfer data files. The result is a computer that starts, looks, and behaves just like it did previously. The recovery procedure typically requires the creation of a rescue CD that is unique to the computer, but some systems, such as the Rebit Recovery system, eliminate the need for the rescue CD by storing and updating the relevant information on the backup media. By storing system information on the backup media, it is then possible to recover the full system to one of multiple points from the past.
In addition to full-system recovery, there is also differential/incremental and selective back up options. Incremental and differential backups are similar to one another; both make copies of only the files that have changed since the last time you ran your backup schedule. The main difference between the two is that differential backups do not indicate which files have changed and therefore grow bigger and bigger. Because incremental and differential backups don't copy each and every file on your system, you'll find that they generally take less time to create but more time to restore. This is due to the nature of multiple archives that need to be scanned or searched in order to find the location of the most recent copy of a particular file or folder.
With selective backups, you manually select the files you'd like to back up at a given point in time. When using this option, you must first start by making a full back up of your system. You will also need to create a start up disk for your operating system, as this will be needed should you experience a full system crash. The startup disk will allow you to get your system up and running again. You will need to review your PC help section to understand how to complete this step, as creating a disk will vary by OS system. This option is not ideal as it requires that a human consistently set a time on their calendar to perform the backups – manually.
In the event that a single file or folder is required, you would selectively copy items from the backup to the computer. Traditionally, this involves scanning an archive or multiple archives to locate the desired file and then retrieving that item from the archive. Depending on the backup system, this may require only a short time to find items in an archive, or it may require multiple hours for the scanning process to complete. With disk-based backup systems, the process is quick and may be as efficient as browsing the archive just like browsing the file and folder structure of Windows.