Rado’s experiences with recovery

Let me share my own experiences with files recovery. It happened many times to me personally and once I was recovering files for my friend.


Easiest “recovery” was on:

-          quick formatted HDD (recovering MFT using primary and secondary MFT of my  FAT32 formatted hard drive allowed to read everything)

-          clicking HDD (buying new HDD and copying files saved everything)


Worst recovery case was on destroyed head mechanism of HDD. It was with zero recovery success. Fortunately, thanks for partial copies of data on several HDDs I was able to “rescue” something. This led me to these decisions, I do recommend to you:

  1. to buy more reliable storage set up in RAID 1 (NAS – network attached storage) and make sometimes backups of external USB HDDs

  2. when buying HDDs buy at least 2 pieces of same model, this will help you in case of HW failure

  1. you will be easily able to replace control board of your HDD in case of failure (you do not need to have special skills to do this)

  2. you will be able to replace head mechanism of your malfunction HDD (this is much more complicated thing)

 Last time it was demanding recovery of failing HDD (very short HDD heads lifespan). Partial backup on NAS was very fine. But still there was long period since last backup, so it was interesting for me to recovery as much as possible. So I’ve replaced HDD heads from same, but working, HDD model. I was able to read 1/3 of 1 TB, before replaced heads completely deteriorated. It was not too bad.

Problem was that during recovery there were several issues to cope with:

-          only partial recovery was done (1/3rd of HDD)

-          drive had physical failures on media (not just HDD heads)

Soon after recovery I have found many files filled with zeros and many corrupt files. Investigating tools allowing detect at least zero filled files I was not to able find anything useful in internet. Therefore I’ve find efficient to create simple tool to find such files (you can find in tools section).