Is disk fragmentation such a huge issue in the context of data recovery? Various sources report that, while normally disk fragmentation is rather low in modern systems, fragmentation rates for user content such as photos, documents and videos can reach 16 to almost 60 per cent due to frequent overwrites. Having the ability to recover fragmented files would be great for any data recovery user.
Limitations of File Carving
File carving sounds amazing. But if it’s such a great technique, why don’t all the data recovery tools use it? Why using “inferior” signature search instead?
File carving is an extremely complex task. Multiple attempts may be required in order to reconstruct a single file. Sometimes a skilled human operator must provide assistance during the recovery. The required computation resources and time make file carving only suitable for extremely important files such as those making criminal evidence. In a word, file carving is not feasible to use in order to automatically recover “everything” (user-created content) from the hard disk, as the entire operation would probably take days or even weeks of meticulous analysis.
Another limitation of file carving is the limited number of formats supported by the algorithm. Typically, the file carving process can support pictures in a few most common formats; Office documents in several popular formats; videos produced by popular devices, and a few other formats. Due to extreme complexity of data carving, the number of supported formats will probably never reach the numbers of formats supported by simpler signature search algorithms.
Fast, reliable and fully automatic recovery is possible with tools supporting signature search such as The Undelete or HDD Recovery Pro. These tools will scan the entire hard drive looking for characteristic signatures of known file types, extracting the files even if the file system is not present on the disk.