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HDD Mechanic

September 1, 2010


HDD Mechanic

Items Tested 40GB External USB HDD that has had an extensive amount of files written to it, and then randomly deleted, approximately 16GB in total. 500mb USB stick with unknown contents.
Author:
Michael Munt
Source:
Hakin9 9/2010 https://hakin9.org

Installation

This was very straightforward and just involved the usual default settings of where to install software. Nice and simple, exactly how all software installs should be.

External USB Hard Drive

I plugged the external drive in and then powered up the software. It saw my drive straight away, and stated that it saw it was formatted to NTFS. When I asked it to scan the drive, strangely it asked did I want it to look as NTFS or FAT. I went to check the helpfile to doublecheck I hadnt missed something, and it was for a product called DiskInternals Uneraser so I wasnt even sure it was for this product. (I googled DiskInternals, and the screenshots look exactly like this product, but it appears to have slightly more features). I selected NTFS and it churned through the drive. Once it was finished it provides all the data thats on the drive, deleted and nondeleted files. You can select in the right hand menu to only see the recovered files, which makes it a lot easier to see what the program has actually found. If you look at the properties of the files and folders that have been listed as being recovered, you can actually see the prognosis of each file if you decided to proceed and recover the file completely. When you goto recover any files or folders, you are given the option to browse to where you want to recover the selected files to and include the existing directory structure from the recovered items. Unfortunately, due to the fact that this is a trial, I was unable to test the recovery process from start through to completion.

USB Stick

There is an option within the program to actually create an image of the device so you can recover data from that, rather than working with the physical device (so long as you have the space to save the image file). I proceeded to created an image of the stick, and followed the very simple process of right mouse clicking the stick on the program’s main window and create an image. You are asked to provide a name for the image, and it then asks for a place to save the file. (don’t change your mind here on the name, if it doesnt have the dsk or img file extension, it appears to become corrupted. I found out the hardway). Working on the imaged version of the usb stick, appeared to be quicker in response when looking through the files and folders that were recovered, than compared to working on the stick correctly. Again as above, once it is completed, you are given the option to recover the files and to give a location to recover to. Real shame I couldnt test the full recovery process.

Summary

The layout of the program is nice and clean. Very simple and obvious what you need to do. It performed very quickly in the tasks of recovering data. Overall, I am quite impressed with what I have seen so far and consider this a very useful product in the restoration of data from drives where data has been deleted by mistake. The one thing that would be good to have as a feature is the ability to have a log of the files recovered, prior to the actual recovery. But I expect the preview of the files (which I couldnt see due to this being a trial) would make this potentially redundant. I think this product is comprehensive enough to belong in any IT dept’s toolbox for those times, when users delete what they aren’t supposed to.

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