Recovering Files with Runtime Software’s GetDataBack

I like to think I am fairly decent at data recovery, or I used to be, though I have not really had a need in more recent times, and being “fairly decent” is mostly, “Knowing where to find what tools to use.” It’s not like I am out here replacing drive power boards or, I don’t know, manually laser imaging disc platters or something. I used to use a piece of software called R-Studio. I am not sure it even really exists anymore. Whatever the case, the key I have for that is from a version from the mid-2000s.

It’s… Like 20 years old…

Fuck I am old.


Anyway, my experience with R-Studio was pretty great, I mostly used it in my old office IT job. We bought a copy when one night the automation system we used to run the TV station had a drive failure. Reprogramming it would have been a bitch (but doable). I pulled the PC out, we thought about our options and went with this data recovery route. The drive was able to be reimaged onto a good drive and the system was up and running again.


Over the years I used it pretty regularly to recover crashed laptops from coworkers. Generally just the Documents and PST files in those cases though. It was also useful for my own drives and drives of people I knew.

The years, however, made me a bit jaded about being IT Support for everyone I had ever met. There are quite a few jokes about this around online, and it’s true. These days, I basically will just “play dumb” because if you fix one problem for one neighbor, now you will be fixing everyone’s PC issues.

And let me tell you, that is often self-inflicted on what those issues are, which is worse than dealing with real technical problems. Sorry I can’t recover your Pentium, no I can’t make it run Facebook Faster, it’s just too old.

Anyway, at one point I lost some family photos when an external drive crashed on me. This caused two things to happen. One, I will never ever buy a USB drive again, or at least not trust them with important data. I am talking about things like those Seagate drives that have a TB or more that plug into the wall and your PC. It doesn’t help that they also are designed in a way that the plastic housing can’t be removed easily and often requires DESTROYING the housing to recover them. Two, it caused me to get serious about backup, and the cloud. I have used a few different services over the years, but for a long time, I have been at the point where my entire house could burn to the ground and my data would be safe and recoverable.

I have a cloud-synced backup with some versioning and the whole “recycle bin” option in One Drive and I keep an incremental backup on a hard drive in a static bag in a fire safe in the house. Plus all the data is in a RAID on my NAS.

But I don’t back up EVERYTHING. That would be too much data because I am a bit of a data hoarder. And a lot of the non-essential stuff gets stored on an assortment of “dodgy drives” that I have collected over the years from a variety of places. For example, I am currently using my previous “Degraded per Synology” NAS drive as a base to build a PLEX server. I mean, it didn’t technically fail, Synology just didn’t like it, and so I replaced it in the NAS, and now it’s a 4TB drive that, is probably mostly still sort of good.

Anyway, I had one of those USB drives that I mentioned above as having sworn off that was previously working for this task. My wife goes to a LOT of estate sales as part of her business and I often tag along. At one I found this drive stuck buried on a bookshelf, so I bought it for like $5. I figured it was probably good, and it worked, for a bit. But as they usually seem to do, this sucker decided to die on me.

I tried to see if I could get it to read with some Linux tools, but I had little luck. I went online looking for data recovery tools and remembered using straight search is a bad idea for this because it’s going to be 99% “articles” from companies recommending their own software. So I went to Reddit, and had GetDataBack suggested.

I downloaded it and it managed to detect the drive and files. I decided to bite the bullet and paid for the full version, which is not cheap at $80, but I have some other drives I could run through this and it’s a “lifetime license” so I will eventually feel like I am getting my money’s worth.

And it’s working just great. The only real problem I am having is that it won’t recover to a network drive and my PC’s internal drive does not have 2TB of space on it, so I have to recover things in chunks, then copy it over to its final storage place. Well, that and the normal issues that come with a failed/failing drive where sometimes things get hung up and just don’t recover. The interface is straightforward and nice as well, though not super pretty.

Like I said, I am sure I will get my money’s worth. I have a drive that was my brother’s somewhere that I can try to recover. I also have some NVME drives that I will need to get a USB hook up for, but I wouldn’t mind trying to get data back off of those.

Helping Myself to Ensure Better Productivity

I find as I get older, I am not so great at remembering everything that I really should be doing regularly. Not just necessary things, but things I want to to. I’ve been working out some better systems to push myself to keep up with all of these sort of little tasks.

Microsoft ToDo

Any ToDo list app works here, I use Microsoft ToDo. I used to use Wonderlist, but Microsoft bought them out and it’s essentially folding into MS ToDo. I try to keep my lists somewhat streamlined down so it doesn’t become a cluttered mess. For example…

The Reminders List. All of my regular reminders go here. Every week I get a reminder to take out the trash after work. The same goes for Recycling. I get daily reminders in the morning for taking my vitamin and just before lunch to take my Acid reducer medicine. I get weekly reminders for other regular tasks as well, such as redeeming my Forza Rewards in the game Forza, checking on the free PDF of the week on Drivethrough RPG, and redeeming the free game of the week on the Epic Game Store. I also have Monthly reminders for checking on several auto-withdraw bill payments, or changing the furnace filter. I’ve got an irregular reminder to change out my pajamas every few days because I can never keep track of how many days I have worn the same pajamas.

The Grocery List. It’s called Grocery, but it’s more of a general list of more pressing things todo or purchase. It is often, just groceries though.

General ToDo Lists. I have lists for movies or TV I want to watch, books I want to read, projects, and I might want to do someday in the future.

The Calendar

I have also started using my calendar a lot more aggressively. I have several sub calendars going on different types of events as well. I do keep some reminder style tasks on the calendar instead of the ToDo List app as well. The general difference is that ToDo List reminders are effectively “never ending”, while Calendar Reminders are more ephemeral and have a set period of time. For example, Hasbro was running a contest on their Instagram for ten days, I used the calendar to schedule ten days of reminders.

The calendar has become extra useful during this COVID-19 time as well. A lot of musical acts are doing online shows. And since my plan to go to more concerts clearly isn’t going to go anywhere at this time, I can at least set up events to remind myself when live shows are going on.

I also use it to mark out generic blocks for work events, so I can better keep track of what I might have going on for scheduling other activities like Doctor’s appointments.

Send To Device

Something else I have been trying to push myself on, is taking care of things *now*. Or at least soon. Often I would come across things I want to download, or little projects to set up and try, often while browsing on my phone. This used to end up in one of two things. I would leave the tab open forever on my phone, or I would book mark it and forget about it.

I use Firefox on my phone and my PCs, so the bookmarks all sync, but I still have to remember to check them.

What I have discovered that I’ve been doing more is the “Send to Device” feature. I can take a tab on my phone and send it to either my Laptop or Desktop, instead of book marking it. This way, when I sit down and open up the appropriate device, that tab will show up, and be in my face as a reminder of “Do this NOW”. It’s really helped with actually taking care of some quick tasks that I may find while on my phone, but aren’t convenient to do immediately.

Track All the Things

I am going to keep this short, because it really needs to be it’s own post, but I have started heaving tracking a lot of aspects of what I do with my time. I don’t really DO anything with this data, but it motivates me in two ways.

The tracking itself is a thing that pops up as a reminder of something that needs done. Not having anything to fill in, makes me feel a little guilty about my productivity. It’s sort of an angle of negative self reinforcement.

Two, I like doing it, even if nothing comes of it.

Like I said, I will probably do a separate post, but I have been tracking:

  • TV I watch
  • Movies I watch
  • Music I Listen To
  • Books I’ve read
  • Online Courses I’ve done
  • My Mood, 2x a day
  • How much Duolingo I do each day
  • Fitness (Steps, Push Ups, Sit Ups)
  • How often I shave or get my hair cut
  • General Health Issues
  • Gas Consumption
  • Basically everything

I use several apps for this and some spreadsheets. But more on all that later.

Tools I Use: Netscan and Fing

I wanted to do some occasional posts on some tools I use for various technical tasks.  Partially just to suggest some useful stuff, partially so I have some posts to reference anytime I reference said stuff.

I wanted to start off with Netscan and Fing, which serve the same basic purpose on two different platforms.  Both of these tools will scan the local IP range and return a list of every device connected to the network.  Netscan is what I use on windows, Fing is what I use on Android.

I use these tools very frequently, several times a week on average.  So what use is scanning the local network anyway?  I have two main uses, though both come down to Device Discovery.

Firstly, basic device discovery.  I’ve hooked something new to the network and I need to access it.  A lot of what I connect is headless with no easy way of discovering the IP aside from a scan.  An Arduino, a Raspberry Pi, a networked Webcam, all of these things need to be found once connected.  The scan is also useful for getting the MAC address of devices on the network.  The IP is dynamic on a network by network basis, a MAC address is a unique identifier.  Knowing the MAC address is useful for building firewall rules and setting up static IPs assigned by the router for devices like phones or laptops where assigning IPs on the device can get hairy.

The other reason for doing a network based scan is intrusion detection.  Generally speaking, I don’t expect to see hackers or anything on my home network.  This is more for checking things like “if my kids’ devices are connected” or occasionally if one of my kids has a new device borrowed or whatever that I am not aware of on the network.

Ultimately I want to set up a little network monitoring system on a server to do these sorts of checks in real time but both of these tools have served me well for years as doing the job quickly and simply.

Both are also useful for poking around foreign networks.  You can see what machines are on an open WiFi hotspot and see if they have any open shared files.  Though some open hotspots are smart enough to block such scans.

Security Cameras Part 2: The Software

So, I recently, basically ran through my plans and such for my recently acquired security cameras.  The physical cameras are only half the equation.  I only ended up making one box, and the other two I simply mounted up under the eaves in the appropriate positions.

The second step is the software.  I’m currently using three pieces of software to monitor these cameras.  First was the included myDlink service/software.  This software is most useful for accessing the cameras from outside the house.  It includes some basic notification ability but it doesn’t have an easy to way to record based on those notifications, at least not that I can tell.  The cameras themselves can push files to an FTP, but it’s sort of an all or nothing deal based on a schedule.  Running 1 shot a second creates a TON of files that are mostly useless.  The Phone app is good though (works with Windows Phone even!)

So I set out to find a better solution for capturing during motion.  I already run a private in house web server for testing, so I set out to find something that I could host there, on Ubuntu.  I came across a nice piece of software called Zoneminder.  It’s an OpenSource solution that will monitor cameras for motion and save files based on this activity.  I believe it can also record actual video though I am just doing short term recordings.  It may be a feature that I have not found, but my main issue is that I can’t bring up a view of all three cams at once.  I’m also having the usual issues with the server and IPs, internal vs external, etc.  It’s also tricky to set up.


For multicam monitoring I’m using some Windows Software called IP Camera Viewer.  This simple software allows me to add IP based cameras and view them in a grid as desired.  Simple, and effective.

Project: Radio DJ Automation

If I earned a nickel for everything I’ve ever created that no one else cares about I’d probably be about to earn another nickel with this next post.

Anyway, one of my many pet projects has been setting up a private internet radio stream.  I actually toyed with the idea for a bit of building a small FM transmitter and going full on Pirate Radio but I decided that the current state of media doesn’t necessitate the need for radio waves when the internet is right there just waiting with a much broader reach.  The real issue is that it mostly just reaches me.

The nice part is, I don’t really mind.

I plan to put up a little page for Lameazoid Radio, but I’m still fleshing out the details.  A few people know the URL of the stream (hint: stream DOT) but I have no idea if they remember it and I doubt anyone listens.  I suppose the question is, why would anyone want to listen?  Can’t you get the same thing from your iPod?

This question includes myself.  Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to just load up the iPod and let it rip?  I do have some answer to this.  For example, my iPod isn’t large enough to hold my entire music library if I want it to.  It also is incredibly poor at shuffling music in a meaningful manner.  The Radio Automation software I’m using lets me sort things into nice themed play rotations.  i can interject little funny clips in at intervals as well to help break up the flow. 

I also run a lot of Podcasts.  The problem with using the iPod for Podcasts is that when it’s in my iTunes library, waiting to be played, I feel obligated to listen.  If it’s out of my control and playing on it’s own I can forgive and forget the playout if I miss one or come in partway through and leave early.  It’s expected I guess with radio that I may miss something.  It’s basically a subtle psychological point that works behind the scenes.

Anyway, I’ve managed to work the kinks out of the automated updates on Podcasts which leaves a few other projects that I want to implement on the table. 

First, I need to record some promos.  I want to make a few music based tags and a few others promoting the shows on the stream.  This basically requires time and a microphone.

Second I need to finish fleshing out the lineup.  I want to run new shows 7 days a week at 4 and 7.  I’ve got both slots about half filled now.  I also would like to find another short bit repeating news segment to compliment Tech 5 which plays every hour where there isn’t a show right now.

I also need to come up with something for the over night.  It’s likely no one will ever listen in the overnight so just running music all night is the easiest bet but I do like the idea of having some sort of “programming” there.  I’m thinking of pushing some audiobooks or something for lengthy periods but missing part of an audiobook is worse than missing part of a podcast.  I’m also thinking of compiling together my longform Techno mixes and running those.  Also possible some concerts in order.  Basically I’m looking to run longer blocks of related content in the overnight.

Thirdly i want to add Live Reporting.  I’ve set up Skype on this PC with auto answer for known callers.  This means i can call in and it’ll pick up.  Right now doing this kills the stream audio and it doesn’t return.  I have some software (freeware) that I believe I can use to create a gate that will shut off the stream when a call comes in and then resume it afterwards.  This would mean if I wanted to do “live reporting (to no one) I could call in through Skype on my phone.  Or better yet, if say, the GNR crew wanted to broadcast live they would simply call into the Skype and it would play.  On top of this I want to set up Skype to auto record and possibly auto rotate these short news bits.

Finally, at least on the list now, is to set up an automatic “now playing” Tweet.  I’m not sure the best way to accomplish this yet though the software does support a now playing.txt that is used by Icecast to set the title.  What wil be more likely is I’ll set up timed tweets for the time each show starts, like on @lameazoid.