I had nearly dodged a bullet today.  I was applying an update a server and rebooted it.  In the server I absent mindedly left in my USB key.

Small detail to remind to self.  If it wasn’t there BEFORE bootup, it shouldn’t left laying there afterwards.

But mistakes happen.

Upon bootup the USB key took the Drive letter my SAN target had been happily using for the  past few years.    I looked and saw a Hyper-V missing server missing about 15 machines.  It’s file system online, but saying “RAW”

Yes I almost …… well you insert a dramatic picture thought here.

But I kept thinking.  “I didn’t do anything that should have erased the data…” so online I went to www.cgsecurity.org and downloaded TESTDISK.EXE

I scanned the SAN drive and found the entire structure and data was there.   Turned out it just lost the drive letter.  RE-assigned the proper letter with the USB key REMOVED (DOH!) and Bounced the server and life was good.

But I almost panic’d if it wasn’t for TESTDISK.EXE from Cgsecurity.org

Testdisk is a program I stumbled across in my past job.    It’s a simple utility that simply “assumes” the partition table is bad.  It scans the structure of the drive to find the start and end point of file systems and can usually recover them in seconds.

At the VERY minimal you can use it to SEE if the data is there to have your boss spend the money on some expense software if the drive is damaged more than just a partition table.  

It also comes with a little program called “Photorec.exe” which scans your memory cards from the camera for pictures you accidentally deleted.  

Both of these programs are simple, VERY effective and (ready for this?) FREE.

I can personally state I’ve used TESTDISK on multiple occasions.  File systems that were hit with and “DiskKiller” virus (MBR erased).  I’ve converted a Dynamic drive mirror to a Basic Drive mirror with it. Confirmed almost 1 terabyte of data WAS still on a SAN target and used it to UNDO a completed removed Data structure for a company. 

Let’s just say a person who used to work with me ERASED the entire data from a client system when changing a Drive Mirror.   He had inadvertently erased the MBR (when prompted by the controller) and shuffled his feet when I drove out to Aurora with my boss and we saved the day with Testdisk.

No spyware, no popups, no malware.  If the program is useful to you, I HIGHLY encourage you to donate to the author.  Think of what other companies are charging for said applications.  

Think of the cost of Data Recovery.

Think of your peace of mind.

Testdisk.   One of the best tools to keep in your IT toolbox.  It’s right up there with ProcessExplorer from www.sysinternals.com

The Energized Tech