Data recovery has become an increasingly important part of both retail and commercial IT in the last few years. With so many digital products being sold and many of the storage devices holding these purchased products being contained in relatively cheap hardware, the likelihood of lost data increases with each passing year. A small data recovery company in Bath told us that they have seen a 80% increase in the amount of data recovery required for devices that do not have a windows operating system, one of these devices on the rise includes games consoles.
How can an individual user recover data from a game console in the event of a drive failure or data corruption?
Files vs. Data
One thing to remember when performing a data recovery on either a failed or corrupted hard drive is the difference between a file system and the data itself. The information on your hard drive is simply a very long string of one and zero values. This is referred to as “raw data.” The games, saved games, user profiles, achievements and purchase records on that drive are files, which consist of much smaller individual chunks of the data stream.
Recovering Files vs. Recovering Data
If your hard drive or storage device has failed, it doesn’t necessarily mean the data is gone. It just means the mechanism you would normally use to read the data no longer functions properly. In this situation, you will need to take the disk to a data recovery professional and have them do a bit-for-bit copy of the data only. Once that data is placed on a new drive, it should restore function to your console.
If, on the other hand, the drive is working and is simply corrupted or not responding correctly, it is possible you will be able to access the file system. This works by connecting the console to a PC or other general purpose computer in “mass storage mode.” This will allow your PC to read the console’s file system as if it were simply another hard drive. Then you should be able to make a copy of the files themselves before you attempt to repair or replace the hard drive.
Should you be unsure about doing this, don’t run the risk of corrupting the data further or deleting files through human error, get specialist hard drive data recovery services to clone the data for you, once this has been done they will often transfer the data back onto a new console.
Operating systems like Windows have a poor track record of supporting non-Windows file systems like ext4, HFS+ and so forth. If your PC can’t “see” the console drive’s file system, this may be the cause. It is recommended you use an up-to-date Linux system if you want full access to the widest variety of file systems. OS X Mac PCs can also read a variety of file systems.
Corrupted or failing hard drives also have a tendency to randomly alter data in the event of an error. If your drive is making strange noises or you are getting error messages from either the console or the PC you are using to try and recover the data, it is strongly recommended you take the disk to a professional recovery expert so as to protect your data.
One other thing to remember is that most retail game consoles come with standard warranties which may cover the storage systems. This can often reduce or eliminate the cost of recovering your data and may entitle you to a replacement disk.