What is photorec and how does it work?

By admin, 12 November, 2021

PhotoRec is a free and open-source file data recovery software designed to recover lost files including video, documents, and archives from hard disks, CD-ROMs, and lost pictures from digital camera memory. Despite its name, PhotoRec can recover more than just photos; it can recover over 480 different file formats. It's particularly useful in situations where files have been accidentally deleted, a disk partition has been corrupted, or a storage device has been formatted.

Here's how PhotoRec typically works:

File Scanning: PhotoRec doesn't rely on the file system—it searches for data on a disk or memory card based on its signature. It reads data blocks, searching for file signatures, even if the file system itself is damaged or missing.

File Carving: When PhotoRec finds a file signature, it doesn't rely on the file allocation table or file system to locate the file. Instead, it reads clusters of data (blocks) on the disk, attempting to reconstruct the file based on patterns it recognizes.

Recovered Files: Once PhotoRec has identified and extracted potential files, it saves them to a specified location. However, it won't restore the original file names or directory structures, as it's primarily focused on recovering the file data itself.

It's worth noting that PhotoRec is a command-line tool, which means it doesn't have a graphical user interface (GUI) like many commercial data recovery programs. This might make it less user-friendly for some, but it's still a powerful and reliable tool for data recovery, especially in more complex or challenging situations.

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