I am a computer hard drive forensic expert. I have had notable success with my former company, http://www.wiebetech.com, and still enjoy helping that company (now owned by CRU) with a variety of product development and sales/marketing roles related to forensic and government applications of their products.
CRU has actively continued the development of some really esoteric forensic products. One of them, namely, is a product called Ditto. It does some really cool data extraction off of networks and hard drives. But why would that be important to ultralight aircraft? We’ll get to that in a moment.
Belite uses computers to drive our CNC machines. The computers are in a really really dirty dusty cruddy shop environment, and I expect them to break. And they do. As there is no network in the shop (and precious little internet) we use a sneakernet thumb drive on a weekly basis to back up the computers. Well… at least that’s what is supposed to happen.
Recently, I got a call over the weekend that the computer driving our Shopbot CNC had failed. And then I discovered we had missed a few weeks of backups. (Cough, cough.) And then I realized that I had significant CAD work which I’d done in the last few weeks… and it was gone. The stupid hard drive would no longer boot, but the computer itself worked fine.
This is what I did:
I took the hard drive home, and connected it to a product called “Ditto”. Ditto reads data from hard drives which won’t boot. (The reason being — the Windows boot code was clearly corrupted on the drive, but the data files which I needed were still OK. And Ditto’s good with all that.)
Ditto saw the entire directory structure of the hard drive.
I told Ditto (via something called a “logical image” command) exactly which files I needed to recover.
I also told Ditto to save all of the recovered files in a special folder on another hard drive.
Ditto did what I asked it to. It took maybe 20 seconds? once I’d given the command to start the logical image until I had my 240 megabytes of data safely tucked into a new folder on another drive.
I copied the saved folder back to my notebook computer. Then I copied that saved folder from my notebook computer back to a portable drive. Then I took the portable drive back to the shop, and *voila*, we had the lost files back on the production CNC shopbot computer.
And that is the unexpected virtue of being a computer forensic expert while building ultralight aircraft.
And now, we are really backing up our computers every week.
Interested in learning more about Ditto? Read here:
Interested in computer forensics? You might enjoy reading this:
Interested in getting unrecoverable data lifted off a dead hard drive? Call DriveSavers:
(Warning — it can cost $3,000 to have data recovered off of a single drive.)