DeepSpar Disk Imager™

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DeepSpar Disk Imager™ (DDI) is an HDD imaging device specifically built for data recovery from hard drives with hardware issues. It greatly increases imaging speed, accuracy, and integrity of data retrieved from such drives.

The main features that DDI provides when working with hard drives are the following:

Direct low-level access to a hard drive bypassing the computers BIOS.

Disabling specific drive read/write heads.

Disable SMART subsystem, Bad Sector Reallocation, and Read Look-Ahead

Read sector timeout controlled by Software/Hardware/PHY drive reset commands

Bit level analysis of corrupted data to filter out the read-write channel noise

Fully customizable multi-pass imaging

And many more others an advanced disk imager must have. You may learn more about DDI on its vendor site: DeepSpar Disk Imager™.

DeepSpar Disk Imager™ basics

The main idea of data recovery with DDI is to clone data from the source hard drive with a certain level of hardware malfunction to a clone drive and perform data recovery operations either from the clone drive or while data is being cloned. Such approach greatly reduces tear and wear of the source hard drive and reduces further deterioration of its state.

There are two modes in which DDI processes disks:

DDI clones the entire source hard drive to the source one consequently, sector by sector. Any further data recovery will be made from the clone HDD.

DDI clones those sectors of the source HDD which have been read during data recovery. Such readings are optimized to minimize the movement of the drive's head unit. All following reads from those sectors will be done from the clone disk. For example, if files are to be recovered from a partition on the drive, DDI will clone the boot record of the drive, the file table of the partition, and the sectors of the files. If the partition is scanned, the scanned sectors will be cloned, too. All consecutive operations, such as file preview, and so on, will be done from the clone disk. This greatly reduces the time necessary to perform the recovery operations and furthermore hard disk wear.

Click to enlarge

DeepSpar Disk Imager™ board

Read the DDI documentation on how to install DDI  connect the drives to DDI and start working with it.

The DDI board should be installed into a separate network computer (the DDI computer), and the source and clone drives should be connected to it. The DDI computer should be started using the boot USB stick supplied with the board. R-Studio running on another computer (the R-Studio computer) accesses the disk via the network. All data recovery operations will be done through this setup:

There may be several DDI computers on the network, R-Studio will connect to all of them. Such configuration may be useful for RAID recovery when several disks on the RAID have hardware problems.

Working with DDI

To start working with DDI, its computer should be connected to R-Studio.

To connect R-Studio to the DDI computer,

*Select Connect to DDI on the Drive menu
>The disks connected to DDI will appear on the Drive pane.

Now it is possible to work with disks connected to DDI like all other disk objects on the Drive panel. For example, such disks may be included into virtual RAIDs and other compound objects.

Viewing the drive map

A drive map shows the conditions for individual disk sectors. You may see which sectors are OK, bad, or unstable.

To view the drive map,

*Right-click the required hard drive/partition and select Show drive map... on the shortcut menu,

or

select the object and select Show drive map... on the Create menu

>The drive map will appear in the right tab.
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DDI Drive Map tab

Click to expand/collapse Drive map controls

To see more detailed information about a particular sector range, right click the corresponding rectangle and select Information on the shortcut menu.

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Block information dialog box

Click the Open in Hex Editor button to open the selected block in the Text/hexadecimal editor.

Cloning file sectors

You may clone separate files when necessary.

To clone sectors of a single file,

*Right-click the file and select Clone file sectors on the shortcut menu.

or

select the file and select Clone file sectors on the File menu

>The file sectors will be cloned and R-Studio will show their status in the Contents pane.

To clone sectors of several files,

*Mark the files, right-click them, and select Clone marked file sectors on the shortcut menu.
>The file sectors will be cloned and R-Studio will show their status in the Contents pane.

Sector status

OK

Read without errors

B

Bad

C

Corrupted. At least one sector hasn't been read.

Unprocessed

At least one sector isn't cloned yet.

Viewing the file map

A file map shows the conditions for individual file sectors. You may see which sectors are OK, bad, or unstable.

To view the file map,

*Right-click the required file and select Map of file... on the shortcut menu,
>The file map will appear in the lower pane.
Click to enlarge

DDI File Map pane

Click to expand/collapse File map controls

To see more detailed information about a particular sector range, right click the corresponding rectangle and select Information on the shortcut menu.

Click to enlarge

Block information dialog box

Click the Open in Hex Editor button to open the selected block in the Text/hexadecimal editor.

R-Studio can also load and process images created with the DeepSpar Disk Imager™.

Connecting to DeepSpar Disk Imager™ manually

If R-Studio cannot find DeepSpar Disk Imager™, the Select Interface dialog box will appear. Try to find the DDI interface manually.