Disk image software has four main functions
- To keep a copy of the disk on a new hard drive as a file
- To extract data whilst a failing drive is still just readable, or giving many errors
- To join together multiple sections of a disk that may have unreadable sections on it
- For forensic security
With these tools it is possible to reconstruct a very badly damaged disk, or one with several sections that cannot be read. It also means that a disk or drive may returned to a customer very quickly whilst CnW can work on different ways to extract meaningful data from the disk image.
CnW will often image a disk to provide safe working data. The image is then retained for a few days when the original disk is returned, so that if lost or damaged in transit, data can be reconstructed. If required, the original image can be written to a new disk.
Another advantage of this mode of imaging is for a disk that is overheating such as it it can only be run for a short period of time. Fragments of the disk may be recovered and then disk allowed to cools down - or as sometimes suggested, put in the freezer. The later is not a recommendation that CnW can confirm works, nor is advisable.
If a forensic investigation is taking place, then it is best to operate from a disk image. An image is made of the disk, including a MD5 hash value (complex sum check). The physical disk can then be stored in a safe place, with do danger of being corrupted or changed in anyway. All recovery, and discovery operations made be made from the disk image. Tools are available to ensure that that the image still has the same hash value, and if need be, a separate hash value calculation of the original disk could be taken.
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CnW Recovery, Lewes, East Sussex, UK