Monday, November 23, 2009

DiskDigger: No easier way to revive the dead, umm... i mean undelete/recover deleted files


DiskDigger is a free data recovery solution made noob friendly. Have you ever deleted files accidentally and and cried yourself a river knowing that there is no way to recover them? Well, these files might not be completly lost afterall. There is a perseption that whenever a file is deleted and removed from the recycle bin that those files are lost forever. Wrong !!! Whenever you delete files from your computer you are basically marking the space that the file used as now available for data storage. You dont see the file anymore on your computer but it still resides somewhere on the storage device. So if you just deleted some illegaly documents and think that you're now safe, think again. These files can be recovered using some advanced file carving techniques (which i wont cover, use google to aid your research: keyword: magic bytes) where the storage device is analyze byte by byte for known file types. Diskdigger is one of those tools that embraces such techniques to recover lost files.

Diskdigger can recover files from media such as
  • USB thumb drives
  • memory cards (SD, CompactFlash, Memory Stick, etc)
  • and of course your hard drive
Two main modes that Diskdigger supoports are (taken from
  • Scan the file system for deleted files (dig deep). This scans the file system that is present on your media, searching for deleted file entries. Supported file systems are FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, exFAT, and NTFS. The advantages of this are:
    - Very fast
    - Recovers all file types
    - Recovers file names
    And the disadvantages are:
    - Doesn’t support all possible file systems (see above for supported file systems)
    - Doesn’t scan entire disk (only scans what the file system is aware of)
  • Scan the disk surface for traces of lost files (dig deeper). This thoroughly scans every sector of your media, searching for traces of known file types. The advantages of this are:
    - Scans entire disk
    - Goes underneath the file system, therefore independent of file system
    And the disadvantages are:
    - Slower (sometimes much slower) than the first method
    - Doesn’t recover file names or fragmented files
    - Only supports certain file types
    - Finds ‘existing’ files as well as deleted files.
For instructions on how to use Diskdigger, see:

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