Data Recovery Glossary

Data Recovery Glossary Book

Data Technology Jargon Explained

File Deletion Example

Accidental File Deletion

An intentional or mistaken deletion of a file, often the result of tiredness from late or long work hours. A software solution usually resolves this problem.

File System

File System

In order to store data on a drive it needs to be formatted with a file system that the OS understands. Generally speaking, for Windows that is typically NTFS or FAT32, for MacsHFS+, and for Linux currently ext3. Macs and Linux can read and write the Windows file systems as well (additional software may be required).

Program Autosave

Auto Save

A feature in some programs that automatically and periodically saves your work. Auto Save is designed to recover files in the event of a power loss or unexpected computer shutdown.

Hard Drive Firewire


An interface to connect external peripherals to a computer, similar to USB. Comes in two variants, FireWire 400 and FireWire 800, which are compatible with the appropriate cables.

Data Backup

Data Backup

The process of periodically saving copies of your files for safe keeping. These are often encrypted for additional protection. Backup is an essential part of data protection.



Software stored in the System Area with detailed information regarding the specific model and configuration. Not readable through ordinary means.

Software Backup Location

Data Backup Location

The location to which backups are saved. The location can be on the same machine (not recommended), on an external hard drive, on CDs or DVDs. These are considered local backups. Backups made to remote servers, or online backup services are considered remote backup.

Hard Drive

Hard Disk Drive (HDD)

A computer component on which the data, programs and operating system are recorded on platter type recording media. This is the most common form of hard drive, especially for consumer desktop computers.

Data Backup Software

Data Backup Software

This is software specifically designed to backup your files. Some programs work in the background to continually backup your files. Others can be scheduled for a time when the computer is not in use.

Head Failure

Head Crash

When one or more of the read/write heads no longer float on an air cushion over the rotating disks, but actually touch the disk surface. This causes severe damage, and a drive having experienced head crashes cannot be repaired without special tools in a clean room.

Software Backup Types

Data Backups - full, incremental, differential

A full backup contains a complete set of the backed up files and takes the longest to perform. Incremental backups only save files that have been changed since the last backup (of any kind) and take less time than a full backup. Differential backups save copies of all files that have been changed since the last full backup. A workable schedule for most home and small business users would be a monthly full backup, daily incremental backups, and weekly differential backups.

IDE Hard Drive

IDE (also EIDE or PATA)

An interface used to connect drives internally that has been widely replaced by SATA.

Hard Drive Recovery Cleanroom

Data Recovery Cleanroom

A cleanroom is an area where the atmosphere is controlled to remove contaminants in the air and measures are taken to keep contaminants from being introduced into the area. A Class 100 cleanroom is required by all hard drive manufacturers for hard drive recovery service.

Hard Drive Mount


The process of the operating system initializing a drive for use in a computer. The operating system does not recognize an unmounted drive and the data on that drive is inaccessible.

Clicking Hard Drive

Hard Drive Clicking

A sound, when made in regular intervals by a drive, indicates that there are mechanical problems with the drive. Data should be backed up ASAP, if possible. Also known as “click of death.“

Disk Drive

Optical Disk Drive (ODD)

A computer drive for reading and/or writing CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray disks. These disks can be used as a backup location.

Cloud Backup

Cloud Data Backup

Cloud backup is a form of file backup that places copies of your data onto online servers that are maintained by an online backup service. These services offer a variety of options, from backup storage only to online collaboration.

Operating System


Operating System, describes software loaded from disk that allows the user to work with the computer.

Data Loss Drive

Data Loss

When files are not accessible due to physical or logical damage to the hard drive, you have suffered data loss. The solution to data loss will depend largely on what form of damage has occurred.

Hard Drive Platter


One or more magnetic disks rotating within the drive, containing magnetically stored bits of information. Most drives contain more than one platter, and one or both sides can be used for data storage.

Data Recovery

Data Recovery

Retrieving files that have been lost is called data recovery. Some types of data recovery can be done by the end-user while other kinds require specialized training, equipment, and procedures.

Perpendicular Recording

Perpendicular Recording

Technique used on newer drives to store more information per square inch by orienting the data perpendicular to the platter surface.

Data Recovery Service

Data Recovery Service

A data recovery services specialize in retrieving lost data from failed computer drives. An excellent service will have the necessary equipment, trained technicians, and procedures to safely and efficiently recover lost data.

PCB Drive

Printed Circuit Board (PCB)

Typically a green board that carries the necessary electronics of a drive and can be found on the bottom of a bare drive. Prone to damage from electrostatic discharges; direct contact with hands etc. should be avoided.

Disaster Drive Recovery

Disaster Hard Drive Recovery

The steps taken to recover lost data after a catastrophic failure or loss is called disaster recovery. A disaster recovery plan is a pre-planned procedure for disaster recovery and should be a part of every business’ IT plan.

RAID Drive

RAID (Redundant Array of Independant Drives)

Used mainly in servers, these are multiple hard drives that are configured to be recognized as one drive by the operating system. Their purpose is redundancy, increased data reliability and increase input/output performance.

Computer Disk Image

Disk Image

A specialized form of backup that makes a copy of the computer’s hard drive. This can be used to recover the computer’s system, often without having to reinstall programs and settings.

SATA Drive


The current standard to connect drives internally with a transfer rate of up to 6Gb/s.

SCSI Hard Drive


Stands for Small System Computer Interface. An interface to connect drives and other peripherals either internally or externally, but no longer in use. Replaced by USB and FireWire for external devices, or SATA for internal connections.

Server Data Recovery


A special type of computer that “serves” data and programs to personal computers that are connected to it. Servers are often used for data backup.

Logical Drive Damage

Logical Drive Damage

Damage to a drive caused by file corruption or operating system failure. Logical damage is often caused by computer virus or malware infection.

SSD Drive


A special type of storage device that has no moving parts and typically has much faster read and write speeds.

HD Enclosure

Drive Enclosure

A case made of plastic or metal that houses one or more hard drives to connect externally to a computer. Common connectors are USB,FireWire 400/800, or eSATA. Might need a separate power supply.

Surge Supressor

Surge Protector

A special type of computer that “serves” data and programs to personal computers that are connected to it. Servers are often used for data backup.

Hard Drive Partition

Hard Drive Partition

Partitioning divides a single drive into several virtual or logical sections. The operating system assigns different drive letters to each of these partitions. Many users use a drive partition to keep data files separate from the operating system and program files.

System Area Drive

System Area

Special area on the drive with detailed information that is model specific like firmware and platter/head configuration. Not accessible through ordinary means.

eSata Connection


Variant of the SATA connector to connect drives externally.


Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS)

A battery-powered backup power supply that keeps the computer running in the event of a power outage. This allows the user to shut down the machine properly and prevent data loss.

External Drive

External Hard Drive

A hard drive contained in a separate enclosure that is connected to the computer using a USB, FireWire, or other connection. External drives are often used for data backup.

USB Connection Types

USB, USB Mini, and USB 3.0

Universal Serial Bus. A connector that allows to attach various external devices to a computer, including external hard drives.