Around 174 years ago, the first calculating machine was created. The program that controlled it was used for handling Jacquard punched cards (the same that were used in the famous Jacquard machines for weaving patterned carpets).
When the creator of the machine, Charles Babbage, presented his invention for the first time, he made a mistake by inputting the card the wrong way around, turning the programme into waste paper.
That’s when the first ever “Fatal System Error” was documented. Blue screen? Worse – Babbage’s machine became unusable. The program stored on the card was never recovered and had to be recreated (because who in 1841 thought about a backup!).
Modern media devices are much more durable and reliable, but that does not mean that they cannot fail. Data recovery methods are still being developed and improved, although the basics are essentially the same, i.e. put back together what has been damaged then copy the data off onto a new storage medium. There are always new challenges associated with the development of the new technology.
In this series, I want to share my knowledge about data recovery. I will be showing you what information is stored on a disk (for simplicity, I will focus on the classic HDD), how the data is organised, how devices usually fail and how to deal with it. Finally, I will present step by step instructions of a data recovery procedure.
You will be able to sign up to the course from next week.
Keep an eye out for my next post where I cover the causes of data loss and some interesting facts about backups.
Image credit: “Babbage Difference Engine” by User:geni – Photo by User:geni. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons