Data Recovery – Past, Present and Future

Ever since the first home computers arrived on the electronics market, data recovery has been an invaluable and important aspect of computer care. Even if your computer’s hard drive is working fine one day, anything can happen the next day that can render it unusable, such as spilling a drink on your computer, a virus wreaking havoc on the hard drive’s contents, or the hard drive simply ceasing to function due to age. However, the concept of data recovery originated over a century before PCs became a staple of every business and household.

Data recovery before computers

early data recovery

In the early 1800s, Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace collaborated to create the Analytical Engine, a “programmable” machine that is widely considered to be the predecessor of modern computer hardware. The Analytical Engine was known as a “punch card system” due to the fact that its programs were punched onto Jacquard cards. However, this system had a significant weakness – if any of the punch cards were damaged, it could not be repaired successfully and thus the data on the card could not be salvaged.

In 1946, the first multipurpose computer, ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) was developed. Its architecture served as an inspiration for IBM’s magnetic tape drive vacuum columns. The vacuum columns held the tape in the drives down with a vacuum during movement, reducing the odds of breakage which in turn reduced the chances of losing data and made data easy to recover if something went wrong.

The 80′s – A Technical Revolution

When the 1980s rolled around, more advances in technology were made that in turn helped make data recovery easier. Hard drives were the primary storage device on household computers during that decade, and the technology behind them continued to improve over the years. Floppy disks were another popular option and remained as such until the 2000s when they became replaced by USB flash drives and external hard drives. Eventually, with computers becoming an essential aspect of homes and businesses, as well as the Internet becoming a staple of computer use, third party data recovery services came into the picture, offering to retrieve the data off of a failed or failing hard drive for a fee.

usb device data transfer

Data recovery services continue to evolve and innovate. A popular future prediction for data recovery is the hybrid cloud model. With cloud data backup and recovery services on the rise, the hybrid model combines the flexible availability of the cloud with on-premise backup and restoration tools such as disks containing the backed up data.

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