NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article
Lost & Found v1.0 From PowerQuest Corporation
by Bill Shook, March 99
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Like other products from PowerQuest, Lost & Found is a powerful program that recovers lost data that hasn't been previously overwritten without installing the program on the hard drive. It comes with two diskettes and is always run from diskette #1. In addition to a README.TXT file, diskette #2 contains two utility files for recovering long filenames (REFRESH.EXE) and to manage large compressed and uncompressed files (RENEW.EXE) -- more on this later.

The recovery operation runs from MS-DOS, with Windows being exited completely, NOT from a DOS Window. This is accomplished by either booting from the system emergency disk (you do have one, don't you?), or, if in Windows 95/98, by shutting down to MS-DOS. The user guide warns that some users have reported problems using the latter, although I couldn't detect any difference. The system will also boot from the L&F diskette #1 using Caldera's DR-DOS operating system, but when doing so, my system froze using the floppy as the source drive. Also, when booting from the L&F floppy, only the A:\ and B:\ drives had drive letters, but the hard drive partitions seemed to be recognized normally during the recovery process but referred to them with a ? designation rather than their drive letters. REFRESH and RENEW are run from within Windows (Start -- Run -- A:\Refresh or Renew if you're using Win95/98).

L&F will recover lost data from FAT16 or FAT32 IDE, EIDE, or SCSI drives that are supported by the BIOS as well as the standard 3 1/2 inch floppy. It should be noted that L&F does not write to the source drive -- the one with the files to be recovered, which avoids destroying recoverable data. Also supported are Iomega/Epson Zip and Jaz SCSI, both internal and parallel port drives, Syquest internal removable drives and tape drives. But neither the Syquest SparQ parallel nor the internal or external LS-120 SuperDisk are supported at this time. L&F will also recover files following a Quick reformat (I had no luck following a full reformat). Note that recovering files from a floppy is limited to those in directories; it won't recover files from the root of a floppy, which is covered in the Readme.txt file. I had no trouble recovering files from or to either of my EIDE hard drives or standard floppy (with the exception noted above of the root of reformatted floppy). Neither the Zip nor the SCSI drives were were available for testing. But I had difficulty recovering files to or from my Iomega 2 gig tape drive. I suspect it is because of being a parallel port drive, but is not mentioned in the user guide.

The recovery process is started by using diskette #1 and running LF from the A:\(or B:\) DOS prompt, as mentioned earlier. Even though it is run in DOS, it has its own GUI display, which has somewhat smaller character size than text. However, a (-t) command line parameter runs it in text mode. One other command line parameter is "-s" or "-S" that can be used if the screen has a tendency to freeze.

NOTE: In this spot was a rather lengthy paragraph on "licensing enforcement restrictions" that registered the product to the machine which meant the diskette needed to be write enabled, and would not run on any other machine and could not be copied. Just as this review was going to press in the newsletter, PQ's "Partition Magician" newsletter was received announcing that while licensing terms remain the same (for use on one computer) due to customer feedback this licensing enforcement restriction was removed on version 1.01, and a patch is downloadable from their site. Good News!

The recovery process is a simple step-by-step procedure which begins by identifying and checking all supported drives, including running a short diagnostic and displaying a flashing red alert for any problems (corrupted FAT, bad sectors, etc). It displays an OK if it checks out satisfactorily. It then lists the drives it identified, including their specs, and asks for source drive to be selected, which is the drive with the data to be recovered. Interestingly, it identified and provided specs on both my LS-120 internal IDE drive and my Syquest SparQ parallel port drive and even included them in the selection lists of both source and destination, but provides a fatal error and aborts the program if selected for either source or destination (remember -- neitheris supported). If the source drive selected is not fixed (a floppy or removable type), a diskette, platter, or tape is asked to be inserted so its quality and characteristics can be checked. The destination drive is then selected, which is where the recovered files will be stored. Source drive can be changed at this point. Note that the same physical unit cannot be used for both source and destination. This pretty much narrows down the choices with a one physical hard drive system. If the hard drive has multiple partitions (C:, D:, E:, etc), it will ask, for both source and destination, which partition should be used, or the entire drive can be selected. However, the drive can only be used for the source or destination, not both. Example: in a one hard disk system if data is to be recovered from C: partition, it cannot be restored to D:, E:, etc. Rather, it must be restored to a floppy; e.g. A:\, B:\, or another supported removable device; e.g. Zip, etc. Also, if data is to be restored from a floppy diskette, it cannot be restored to another floppy in the same drive.

When both source and destination units are selected, disk analysis and the process of recovering the files from the source drive is begun. Options are provided to organize the recovered files in either a single directory, or in their orginal directory structure. Also, they can be placed in either compressed or uncompressed "Backup Savsets", which are used for spanning disks, if required. The primary requirement of file recovery is to be sure there is enough disk space on a separate disk(s) from the corrupted disk to save the data. Statistics are displayed, including any sector reading errors, number of files, total bytes, and time remaining. Depending on the type and amount of files, the disk analysis usually takes a while (or not, depending on your perspective, I guess). Analysis on floppies took from 2 to 8 minutes, 15 minutes on a 2.5 gig hard drive and would take about 1 hour on a 10 gig. Although it is probably unavoidable, believe me it is a looooong time waiting to see if your most critical files can be recovered, which I found invariably they could be, if not previously overwritten.

During the recovery process all files on the source drive are placed in a file named INFO.RCV. They are also displayed at the end of the recovery process with a color coding as to the likelihood of recovery. The actual files and/or directories are then selected and moved to the destination drive selected earlier, which can be changed here if desired (but not to the source drive).

To access the recovered files, exit out of L&F with and look at them with the DIR command, unless the "Backup Savsets" were used, in which case Windows needs to be brought up and the RENEW.EXE program on L&F diskette #2 run to extract the recovered files, including long filenames. REFRESH.EXE is used to recover long filenames if files were recovered to their original directory structure. I had trouble recovering long filenames in either case -- recovered some but not others and some that were recovered needed help by adding a character or two.

Our experience with PowerQuest products -- PartitionMagic, Drive Image, and Drive Copy -- has been excellent and Lost & Found is also a powerful package. With the exception of a couple glitches discussed earlier, it lives up to its billing and should be high on the list for data recovery. I also need to mention that, contrary to previously satisfactory support experiences on PQ's other products, I could not get support to provide answers to most questions. I was told this was probably due to the product newness (just announced in January), and I'm sure we can expect it to be corrected.

User group members may purchase Lost & Found at a special price of $30 by ordering from the secure web site at http://www.ugr.com/order/. Indicate the special price code of UGEVAL99 with your order.

System Requirements: Intel x86 compatible processor; IDE, EIDE, or SCSI controllers; 8 Mb RAM (memory requirements depend on disk capacity); FAT16 or FAT32 File System; 3.5 inch diskette drive; Drive Access: LBA (Logical Block Address) and/or CHS (Cylinder-Head-Sector); DOS 5.0 or later recommended.

PowerQuest Corporation; P.O. Box 1911, Orem, UT 84059-1911, USA; Sales: 1-800-379-2566; Fax: 1-801-226-8941; TSP: 1-801-226-6834; Email: lostandfound@powerquest.com; Home Page: http://www.powerquest.com

Gene Barlow, User Group Relations P.O Box 275, Orem, UT 84059-0275 1-801-796-7370; barlow@ugr.com; http://www.ugr.com

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