NTFS file recovery is possible, even after files have been deleted, because the hard drives of modern computers use magnetic tracks. Those tracks represent the file on the drive, and often enough when files are deleted the corresponding tracks are not erased, merely marked as “deleted”. Disk file recovery aims to uncover those markings and scoop up the tracks attached to them. They are then remarked as not deleted.

Specific software is used for NTFS file discovery, which scans the specific hard drive from end to end to find all of those markings. Loads of programs with differing levels of functionality abound, and nobody need worry when accidentally deleting files or folders. A problem arises if disk space has been needed by the computer to write new data since file deletion. The computer will start overwriting the deleted files, and that makes them much more difficult to recover. Hard disk data recovery is thus most effective when done immediately, and with as little having been done with the computer as possible.

The NTFS file recovery will also need another drive to copy the recovered files to, in order to avoid overwriting any other deleted files in the process. But all this is dependent on the drive still working. Sometimes the drive could be damaged, and can’t be used to boot the operating system. Then it needs to be plugged into another computer, which scans it externally. That is to say, the drive can’t be used to search on itself for data, so other drives must search it instead. This is achieved either by building it into another computer, or by putting it into a housing for external hard drives, and using a working computer to access it.

Some drives are so utterly damaged that even this will not work, and disk file recovery is not possible. Physically broken drives can still be read, but not at home and not with readily available software. Companies, specialized in hard disk data recovery, can be hired to rectify this problem. Using data recovery software sometimes will recover the data, however if the drive is physically broken it will have to be recovered with professional assistance.

In a few cases broken drives can also be repaired by replacing ruined circuit boards or other similar parts, but the nature of magnetic hard drives shows that such repairs can be quite difficult. The plates which are used to store the data and the read/write head which hovers above it are all made with such exquisite precision that mere dust can destroy it. Even the collision of the read/write head and the plate, which are separated only by the tiniest distance, can be disastrous for the magnetic plate. So physical repairs of hard drives are seldom feasible, and normally it only pays to recover data from physically undamaged drives. So NTFS file recovery is quite possible for deleted files, but can quickly become unwieldy if the hard drive itself is damaged.