Digital Disaster Recovery

In the past few weeks as well as archive and museum activities, I have been kept busy with major hard drive problems caused by software assuming a different drive name that resulted in data loss including all of the KHS digital archives and administration information.

The most recent backup found that the previous two weeks work was lost, however some (free) recovery software called "Recuva" had then yielded all of that data back, which was then organised into the correct folder formats from several sources. It had taken about a week to undertake this recover scan and restoration of data to new drive, then check and sort this restoration.

The second almost empty backup 1 TB drive was then to be re-formatted to do a new backup but in a moment of haste at the end of a long night working on this, an accidental "quick format" to the new drive with the recovered files, lost all the sorted KHS data again!

In this situation if no new data is written to the newly formatted hard drive, then there is a better chance of recovery. I had not written anything to the accidentally formatted new drive apart from all of the recovered data which now appeared to be gone on an empty drive. With use of the "recuva" software and by using the "Advanced Options" to select "Restore File Structure" and "Find files after format" (? checkbox), which took about 36 hours to deep scan a 1 Terrabyte drive for (~700GB) lost data then another 24 hours to recover all of the scanned files found (~700GB) and located all that data back to another drive.

The result was that all of the KHS archives and information was restored intact with no loss of the recent work.

With funds from the digitisation grant we will soon have in place for KHS a high end backup system for the future of this data, by use of SATA drives in a RAID array that will always have a mirror copy of the main system and separate back up sata drives. It may also be wise to store a USB drive and/or a DVD Data copy of each digital collection to be stored with each corresponding archival record.

Perhaps a timely reminder that a good backup regime is a wise move! Also keep in mind some software can recover lost data eg camera images from a hard drive, SD card, USB drive  etc.

Go here ( to DownLoad "Recuva" (Free File Recovery Software - Version 1.40.525  - 2,394 kb) Once installed it will run automatically at end of installation - select the "Restore File Structure" option tick box and then run it on the lost data drive letter eg G: - You then need to select (in options you can select a "directory tree" view with tick boxes for each folder - tick all the found data that you want to "recover" to your a hard drive or other disk drive (NOT back to the same drive).

[Contact KHS for more information - AB 2 VII 2011]