Data Recovery File Listing

by PlatterSwapper

When it comes to confirming that your data recovery has been successful, a file list is nowhere near enough evidence. Many data recovery companies will simply provide a client with a listing of the filenames that they claim will be recoverable, the client then makes payment, the data will then be extracted by the company and supplied to the paying customer. All too often the client then discovers that much of the supposedly recovered data consists of corrupted files. The file list of the data stored on a hard drive exists as a separate single file itself. It is analogous to the index of a book, you may theoretically possess the index but none of the contents. For this reason it is never safe to assume that a data recovery has been successful simply because the file list has been obtained, the presence of a file on the file list in no way implies that the data to which it refers is either present or intact.

What Should You Ask for to Confirm that Your Data Recovery has been Successful?

The only way to be certain that a data recovery has been successfully conducted is to open the file in question. This is necessary not only because the file list itself doesn’t guarantee that the data is present but it also ensures that even if the file itself is present, it is not corrupted.

One of the most common forms of data loss results from scattered unreadable sectors across a hard drive. A typical photograph will consist of tens if not hundreds of thousands of these sectors, if any one of these sectors is unreadable then in all likelihood the photograph will be ruined. However that photograph will still be referred to on the file list. Therefore to confirm that a data recovery has been successful is necessary not only to have the file list but to open the files in question.

Of course many data recovery jobs will involve hundreds of thousands of files and so it is often not possible to open every single file within the recovery. In these circumstances the data must be sampled extensively to establish the overall quality of the recovery, this task will routinely take many hours. Furthermore any responsible data recovery company will offer the client the option to specify any files which are critical and the company will then confirm that these are indeed intact before payment is made.

You need to see sample screenshots of opened documents to be sure that your data recovery has been completed successfully

A sample screenshot showing various opened documents

So in summary, never accept a simple file listing as proof that there has been any kind of successful data recovery carried out because in order to obtain this file listing it was only necessary to recover one single file from your hard drive. Similarly always insist on a selection of screenshots demonstrating the files which are of particular interest to you, for example contact sheets showing thumbnails of photographs or screenshots showing the first page of essential documents. Once you have been provided with this then you can have confidence in the data recovery offered.

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