Tag Archives: backup

Data Recovery Tools

Data Recovery ToolsSometimes critical data gets lost and no matter how much you wish, you wont find it behind the fridge, so what does the over-stressed IT technician do to recover his data and/or sanity? What data recovery tools are available to help resurrect that important missing data? Read on for the answers..

When you need to recover data it certainly helps if the computer it is on will actually boot up! If you’re stuck with a system that refuses to cooperate in this manner then what you need is a LiveCD (which could actually be on a usb stick) with which you can boot the recalcitrant machine and then (hopefully) mount the disks with your data. Popular Live CD distros include Knoppix (Linux based), WinPE (from MSFT and based on Win7) and Spinrite.

Many of these LiveCD distros of course also include various utils which you can use to diagnose problems and help recover your data, for example disk and filesystem checkers such as chkdsk for DOS/Windows, fsck and gparted for Linux/Unix systems and Disk Utility on OSX.

When it comes to actually finding and recovering the wayward files there are many options these days from free (but still good) to not so free (and sometimes still good) and some products which come with both options so you can try before you buy – assuming the free version doesn’t trash your data you might be tempted to pay for the premium version!

Among the options available for data recovery on Windows systems you can try the likes of Recuva, OnTrack Easy Recover, Total Recovery, Undelete 360, MiniTool Partition Recovery, Wise Data Recovery and even Norton Utilities.

On the Mac platform you can find such things as FileSalvage, Disk Drill Basic and Data Rescue 3, amongst others.

If your data is on a Linux system then you will find the imaginatively titled Recover Data for Linux and Linux Data Recovery to be right up your street.

If you’re still in need of more options then this page should provide enough to keep you busy for a long time. Feel free to let us know which data recovery tools you rely on.

When all else fails, it is time to reach for that ever reliable backup you made. You did make one right? You did also make sure to keep it up to date AND check that you could actually restore from it, just in case, right??

Backup Tools

Backup ToolsIf there’s one thing that keeps IT Managers and business owners awake at night it is the thought of catastrophic data loss, typically due to hardware failure but it could also be due to failed software upgrades , database updates, human error or even malicious hackers. So in order to sleep better it is of course essential to have good backup tools.

Backups can be done in many ways, even manually with a simple copy command, however manually created backups are not something to be relied on because it is only a matter of time before a backup is forgotten or it fails to include some essential data and you may never know about it until you need it and find your critical data is not there. You do not want that to happen! Proper backup tools which are automatically run on schedule and which make incremental backups containing data updates and additions along with periodical full backups with all your data are the order of the day. There are quite a few solutions which provide just this, as you would expect as backups are not a new thing, some of which are software you must install and manage, some are complex backup server systems and some are remotely managed services so you only have to deal with defining what and when to backup and the rest is done for you.

For Linux based systems a popular backup utility is rsnapshot which is basically just a Perl script that wraps around rsync and is run by cron every hour or at intervals you define. It creates the incremental backups as you would expect and rotates them all for you. Once configured it works well. It does of course depend on your own backup hardware and you need to make sure it is configured correctly and actually runs as and when required.

For a more ‘enterprise’ level backup system you could use something like Bacula which is an open source system featuring a linux/unix based server along with client daemons which run on multiple OS’s including Windows.

Once you have a backup system in place you need to know it is actually running and doing its job so you could use your monitoring tools to keep an eye on it and alert you if things go wrong so you can hopefully fix it long before you ever need to access your backed up data.

So called ‘Cloud’ backup tools are another option and there are many to choose from, quite a few of which depend on Cloud storage systems such as AWS (Amazon). Having your data managed and hosted by another company may be something you would need to consider carefully for various reasons from legal to security. Is your data secure there and do your terms of service or client contracts allow you to store data in such a way? There are undoubtedly benefits to using a managed backup service but make sure to do your due diligence before trusting your precious data to a 3rd party. Services for MSP’s to consider include Kaseya, Datto and GFI, amongst others.

Either way it is certainly wise to have more than one backup location anyway so your backups do not go up in smoke along with your primary systems!

Whichever backup tools you choose to use you also need to make sure that you can get your data back from your backups should you ever need to. It is essential to test that your backups are working and the right data from the appropriate snapshots is easily and quickly available – data recovery is just as important as data backup!

Which are your favorite backup tools? Let us know in the comments..