Content-Aware Recovery of Email Messages and Databases

Email messages and databases that are stored on a computer hard drive, removable media, or secondary storage devices may often get corrupted, lost, damaged or accidentally formatted. When these happen, access to them is lost and with that, any possibilities of deriving any values from them.

That’s why email messages and database recovery are by all means necessary. This is basically the computing process of retrieving the otherwise inaccessible email messages and databases by use of special software. Many email messages and databases recovery strategies do exist. However, none of them beats the content-aware recovery, which subsequently forms the basis of the discussion that follows:


For a start, content-awareness is the special ability of software to determine the kind of information that is contained in a given file, folder, application or any other storage medium. It is also the ability to ascertain whether that piece of information is at rest, in some use or in transit.

Content-aware algorithms are more reliable means of sourcing for and recovering lost data. That’s because they scan and read the whole disk surface one sector at a time in order to find out the missing files. This is unlike the ordinary corrupted file systems that are not as intense as should be the case.

Such algorithms employ a variety of inspection techniques and mechanisms to extract, match, and analyze data. Examples of these techniques include structure fingerprinting, precise data matching, regular expression matching, statistical analysis, conceptual definitions, published lexicons, file-tagging look-up, keyword look-up, and watermark recognitions.


A typical content-aware recover of e-mail messages and databases goes through four main phases. These are outlined and discussed below:

Phase I: Repair of the Hard Disk Drive

This entails the restoration of the damaged hard drive to its original form. These could take the form of changing or fixing the bad heads and spindle motors. The overall goal is to make the hard drives readable again.

Phase II: Imaging of the Drive to a Newer Version

Imaging the drive simply means creating a copy of a damage yet existing hard drive. This is to ward off any further damages and data loss. It also enables the data to be retrieved without further compromising the state of the hard disks.

Phase III: Logical Recovery of the Lost E-mail Messages and Databases

This is the core of the recovery process. It is the act of obtaining the lost e-mails or databases. In this phase, the master boot record is rebooted so as to scan and read the data structure of the file system.

Phase IV: Repair of the Retrieved Damaged Files

Once retrieved, the damaged files are then repaired. The content-aware software/algorithms have the wherewithal necessary to perform this as well. The process basically entails the reconstruction of the retrieved data by combining the various pieces together.


Though complex, content-aware recovery is, by all means, the better way of recovering lost e-mail messages and databases. That’s because it is by far superior to and more effective than the ordinary forms of recovery that are presently in vogue.

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