Disclosure: I am knowledgeable about data recovery, I do data recovery for a living, I am part of a group of 20 or so data recovery professionals with who I share tips, knowledge etc..

Please keep in mind that I am asking this with best intentions: I see a (IMO) problem and I am interested in different views/ opinions and if possible solutions.

The monster: How do I recover lost/inaccessible data from my storage device?.

There is so much demonstrably wrong with this wiki. So much non data recovery related stuff there. So much borderline bad and potentially harmful advice. It hurts my eyes every time I read it.

Example of borderline dangerous advice:

"Depending on how important the data is, and if you are not able to read, I would try the freezer trick. This sounds like a joke but it really is not."

Yes, it IS a joke and should never be given as some generic advice.

Example of .. of what actually, what is answer even trying to explain?!

"If it is a controller board problem then, the only way to fix it is to re-flash the drive (check manufacturers website), or most commonly, switch the controller board (Carefully) from one that is an identical model."

IF it's a controller board issue is something that would need answer first. And no, the answer to a controller board problem is not "re-flashing the drive" if the goal is data recovery.

More what I consider to be nonsense and potentially dangerous advice:

"Try to repair (TestDisk). Prior to doing the actual recovery, you might sometimes have the need to repair the partition(s) and file system(s) first. This is where TestDisk comes into play, I would recommend to take a look at what it does."

An unwritten rule among every data recovery pro is that we do not write to the patient! Any half decent file recovery tool does not require in-place repairs. So the advice is what I'd consider plain wrong.

Example of non data recovery related issue:

"Click here if your flash drive is write-protected or read-only."

A device being read-only or write protected does not imply data loss. It may be inconvenient, but it is not a data recovery issue.

To me it seems as if up/down votes don't result in best possible answers. Yes, I downvote such answers but over time even the worst answers have accumulated so many upvotes that my downvote becomes irrelevant.

Yes, I know my opinions about these answers are just "my opinions". But even if we consider this fact, the wiki, even if it would be 100% accurate remains a wall of text that may or may not answer a specific question.

Also, since there's a wiki, as a side effect many data recovery related questions are simply closed and referred to the wiki. Even if such questions aren't best answered by the wiki or require a more nuanced answer. In the best case, then answer is actually hidden in the wiki and questioner is confronted with wall of text.

So, I am aware I somehow have to steer this post into an answerable question but TBH I don't know where to start. I guess my initial question best describes how I feel about the data recovery wiki: "What if a wiki grows into a monster?".

  • 4
    The answers are all community wiki. Feel free to edit and add corrections if necessary.
    – DavidPostill Mod
    Mar 14 at 15:31
  • 2
    Thank you! This is actually one thing I asked before and I was given the advice to add answers rather than editing existing ones. Mar 14 at 15:33


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