The CnW Recovery website has been designed to explain the program operation, and answer as many questions as possible. This FAQ contains a summary of many common questions. If you do not find an answer to your question here, contact us at by e-mailing info@cnwrecovery.com.

Below are sections for each main topic

FAQ Memory - Camera memory recovery questions
FAQ Hard drive - hard drive questions
FAQ Video DVDs

Camera and Memory

This section is designed to answer common questions for camera memory recovery, which is normally pictures and AVI movies. You can download a free demo and determine for yourself what can be extracted

Q I have accidentally deleted all my pictures, can I recover them
A Yes. The proviso is that nothing has been written new onto the memory chip. Use the ‘Read Deleted Files’ options, and all photos should be recovered. The start of the filename may be corrupted, but that is far less important than not having a picture

Q I have formatted the memory chip, can I recover my photos
A Almost certainly yes. Most format routines just initialise the chip and just clear down the root directory, and FAT maps. To recover photos, use the Restore Unallocated Space option. This will scan the whole chip and recover each photo. All name, date information will be lost, but the photos will be restored with sequential names. If the format actually cleared down all sectors, then all photos would be lost.

Q I have about 100 photos on a chip, but can only see 23. Can the rest be restored.
A This is normally a problem due to corruption on the memory chip. A high percentage of pictures can normally be restored. It is best to try multiple approaches. Use the normal recovery, and then the ‘Read Unallocated Space’ . Multiple copies of some photos will be seen, but all otherwise unreadable pictures should be seen. Sometimes, pictures can be truncated, but a 80-90% success is normal.

Q Can I use the camera directly connected to the PC
A At the moment the answer is no. (This will be investigated). The reason is that the software in cameras is often very basic and it places a layer between the recovery software and the raw data. For recovery to work, it is essential to be able to access the memory chip directly

Q The memory chip has become corrupted, will CnW Software recover the data
A As long as the data has not been overwritten, most, if not all, the files can be recovered. The directory system is not required to read the files (although it can be helpful)

Typical questions on hard drive data recovery

Q A disk has been securely formatted, can the data be recovered
A No. Years ago, there were many storied about having to overwrite a disk 20 times to ensure that data could not be recovered. This always assumed that heads moved very slightly, and not all the bits were fully erased each time it was written. Also, early on, a high capacity disk was a 5” disk drive with a 10MB capacity. Today, a typical 2.5” laptop drive, will store 40-60GB, 4-6000 times the capacity. The density per square inch is enormous and the scope for out of track data remaining is minute. What I never understood about ‘it must be deleted say 8 times’, was how it would be possible to restore the data from over write 5, rather than overwrite 6. Members of government might try and scare on into believing this type of data recovery, but CnW remains exceptionally skeptical about recovering a single sector that has been overwritten. What may have been possible in the 1980s, definately changed to impossible in about 2000 with higher capacity drives.

www.nber.org/sys-admin/overwritten-data-guttman.html confirms CnW’s views.

Another problem with recovering data from an overwritten disk is finding where to look. The task is possible on a good disk, where all sectors can be read, though all indexes may be corrupted. With no precise details of where a file may be stored, it is best described as impossible.

A disk that has been quick formatted, ie new directory, allocation tables, CnW Recovery software will help considerably

Q Many recovery programs will not recover deleted FAT32 files, Does CnW Recovery recover deleted FAT32 files correctly
A Yes, the program has additional features to reconstruct the missing pointers that the deletion process removes. Known files types are then recovered correctly. many recovery programs try and fix a disk with deleted files- CnW Recovery consider that this is a very dangerous approach, and so only recover files to another drive.

Q Can encrypted files be recovered
A The quick answer is yes, because an encrypted file is a normal file with a flag set. The problem is then, can it be decoded. Here the answer is whether there is an encryption certificate for the original drive. Without the encryption certificate the only hope will be if it is possible to extract certain files, such as the SAM file, system file and probably the keys stored in microsoft\crypto\rsa and then a third part product may be able to assist. Be warned, that just having he password does not mean that data decoding will be possible.

Q The boot sector has been deleted. Can data be recovered

A Yes, CnW Recovery software will analyse the disk and reconstruct the boot sector

Q Should chkdsk /f be used on a corrupted disk
A The quick answer is no, not until a complete, sector by sector image has been made. It is very difficult to know why a disk has failed and sometimes chkdsk may correct a disk, but other times it may not help, but then make recovery harder. CnW Recovery software has more recovery tools than chkdsk and will normally work when chkdsk does not. Once a disk image has been made, then running chkdsk /f may recover the disk in the knowledge that there is a backup if it fails.

Q The drive was being repartitioned and the process failed. Can the files be recovered

A Yes, though the process is complex as many pointers will be pointing to the wrong location

FAQ Video DVDs

Q If a program says my DVD is blank, but I know it has been recorded is there any hope of getting the data back
A Yes - but one can never be certain. The problem is often caused when a DVD is removed before finalising and the first few 1000 sectors are blank

Q I have done a Quick erase on a DVD-RW, can the data be recovered
A Yes, but only by CnW Recovery as a service. It requires specialised hardware. Contact Cnw at info@cnwrecovery.com