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What’s in your toolbox?

If you’ve ever wondered what tools a technical data recovery engineer might use on a daily basis, then here are my top five  tools, although they may not be quite what you’re expecting.

If you think that data recovery is just about running a bunch of software tools on hard disks or RAIDs or data from backup tapes then for a professional technical company, this is far from the truth. As a data recovery expert my job at Altirium involves interrogating raw data and writing software to solve often complex problems. This is one thing that I think sets us apart from some of the other companies in the data recovery industry. Yes we use “off the shelf” recovery software where it’s appropriate but often they are found lacking and don’t give the best results or properly report their findings. Therefore to recover data where there are no tools available, we develop them in-house.

Some of the achievements we’ve delivered in the past 12 months, using my top five tools include:

  • Reverse engineering the MS SQL Server data structures and written software to recover data from dropped tables, where off the shelf tools failed.
  • Extending our Tivoli Storage Manager recovery software capabilities, adding extractors for more data sources and software compressed data.
  • Identifying and implementing the processing of many undocumented structures in the Microsoft Tape Format, used in software such as  Symantec BackupExec.
  • Reverse engineering Atempo Time Navigator backup format including processing of software compressed data.

All of this has contributed to solving genuine data recovery issues and has saved the companies that have come to us, thousands of pounds in lost revenue, many hours of support time and countless terabytes of potentially “unrecoverable” data.

Here are the top five tools that I use pretty much every day during the course of my job.

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