A partition is a logical division created inside a hard disk to separate one chunk of data from the other. A computer may also have different operating systems for different partitions. So, you may have a system which runs on Windows in the C drive, and Linux in the D drive. Partitions help to increase the efficiency of the pc by making it speedier. This is because smaller chunks of data are being handled at a time, and the data is also usually better managed. The chances of fragmentation can be reduced too, as it is easier to manage the drive content and clean it up more regularly.
Accidental deletion of a logical partition is that perfectly butter-fingered act that we sometimes end up doing, and instantly regretting. How can a partition be deleted?
• You are trying to clean up the system. The fastest way is to run a defragmentation, and then manually go through the drives, deleting all the extra stuff that is lying around. So far, so good, but things may go horribly wrong if you are careless. In one moment you may choose the whole partition and securely delete it. This is the result of not seeing what you are doing.
• Sometimes, we may decide that we can put in all we don’t need into one partition, and delete the whole thing. The recycle bin will invariably inform us that the data selected is too huge to accommodate, so would we like to throw it all away for good? In one overzealous moment, we may choose to do exactly that, resulting in the whole partition being deleted as we wanted. The snag is that the partition might have contained some data which was not quite so useless after all. By the time you realize that the recycle bin does not show anything you need to access, and you want to bite your nails in frustration.
• You mistakenly press the wrong key and before you can do anything, the whole partition gets deleted. There have actually been cases where people have done this while working at night or for long hours which made them sleepy.
What to Do Next
There is no doubt that you want your data back. The good news is that it is still there. It has not gone away from inside the computer when you threw it out. If the recycle bin has it, all you have to do is restore it back to its original location. If the recycle bin does not have it (as in most cases), then you will have to try to get it using the GetDataBack utility for the FAT entries. The file, in other words, is still there, but under a different ‘address’. This will help the file to be restored to an address that is traceable or recognizable for you – but not always. Let us give an example. You open a folder that has just been restored, and you find some files are missing, or you may not find the folder at all. The ordering will be quite different now, so you are back to square one again. There are two ways to solve the dilemma.
• Recovery Software: There are a number of data recovery software available on the net and off- the-shelf as well. However, you need to be careful while using such software. Always buy or download original products from reputed companies. Check whether the software has a user-friendly visual-based interface. It would also be a good idea to download it elsewhere and then run it on the affected disk, as it may mess up the FAT even more if it downloads randomly. All good software have answers to such problems, and will either ask you where you want the restored file to be saved, or would automatically restore it to the original location as allocated by you formerly. Such software is available on the net for free and also as copied software on CDs. But these are not reliable and may end up doing you some more harm. You may actually have to spend a pound for being foolish about that penny, so go for a good company always.
• Professional Data Recovery: Professional data recovery would cost you more, but is also more secure. This is usually not needed for the home user. But if you are using the company computer or running your own SME, the volume of data would be higher. Therefore, it is always advisable to go to a professional data recovery group.
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James Walsh is a freelance writer and copy editor. If you are concerned about data loss and would like more information on Data Recovery see www.fields-data-recovery.co.uk
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