Archive for October 30, 2015

Retrieving CCTV Images

One of the more complex parts of data recovery is when dealing with CCTV systems that record to hard drive(s). Because there is no one standard recording technique, manufacturers of CCTV equipment create their own recording platforms, otherwise known as CODECs. Each different model of CCTV recorder will use a different CODEC, and each manufacturer produces many different models of CCTV DVR (Digital Video Recorder), hence there are literally many thousands of CODECs. If you haven’t got the right CODEC then you’re in trouble as you won’t be able to playback the recorded images. (Find out more about CODECs at

A 4 disk CCTV system

This 4 disk Samsung CCTV DVR system is a typical example of a commonly used CCTV recorder.

Recovering CCTV information from DVRs gets even more complex when you appreciate that many DVRs now use RAID technology in their setups because they use more that one hard drive (see picture). So, when there is a fault related to the disks in a DVR, not only does the fault have to be repaired, the RAID level has to be emulated and the correct CODEC used before the data can be extracted.

CCTV data recovery is a challenging business and English specialists like Data Clinic ( recover the pictures from many CCTV systems each year. CCTVs recorders often contain deleted data that companies or organisations such as the police need to recover. Sometimes the footage recovered is used in court cases – this is a branch known as CCTV computer forensics. Find out more information here:


Mobile Phone Data

You may not know it but you record more and more data on your mobile phone at the expense of saving it to your computer.

Mobile phones, or as they have now become, ‘Smartphones’ are now mini handheld computers that can do virtually everything a computer can. It’s only 5 years ago that we kept our contacts, emails, documents and photographs on our computers. Now we keep all those things on our mobile phone.

If you don’t back your data up to the cloud then accidents that happen to your phone can have serious consequences to your data. Maybe you might drop your phone, or have it stolen – either way how are you going to retrieve your data ?

I recently put my LG Nexus smartphone on top of a wardrobe to keep it out of harm’s way, but wished I hadn’t when I pushed my phone off the other side of the wardrobe and it fell to the floor – a drop of some 8 feet. When I fished my phone off the floor I was dismayed to find my phone’s screen had cracked. Worse still, although the touch screen still worked, it didn’t work very well: some areas of the screen were completely dead, other parts didn’t correspond to where I was clicking the screen. Obviously, the phone was now totally unusable. I soldiered on for about 2 weeks but in the end I upgraded to an HTC M8. This was ultimately another mistake, which I’ll write about in a future post.