Waycam Technologies, a Lincolnshire-based security specialist, has launched a set of data recovery tools that protect PCs from accidental or malicious data loss by creating a "protected area" on the system hard drive and using it to record all changes made by the user.
Waycam's Goldensoft’s Recovery Series is designed for small businesses and home users who want to add another layer of protection to their data. The system is similar to that provided by Windows XP's System Restore utility, which allows a PC's configuration to be "rolled back" in case a conflict arises, but Waycam's utility can be used with all versions of the Microsoft OS made after Windows 95.
Paul Waygood, managing director of Waycam Technologies, said that unlike Windows XP's System Restore function, the Goldensoft solution is able to roll back to an earlier configuration even if the operating system has been seriously damaged: "System Restore only works if the operating system works. If you can't boot up for whatever reason, you can't use System Restore. Our product works before the operating system loads, it is independent and does not need the operating system," he said.
The tool redirects any changes -- such as file creation, deletion or program installation -- to a protected area of the hard disk first. The changes that the user sees on their system are virtual changes, meaning that they can recover even after deleting a whole partition. Waygood said: "I have run Recovery Genius [one of the Goldensoft tools] on a laptop, booted off the floppy, run FDISK on the laptop, removed all the partitions and then restarted the laptop. The laptop still runs because nothing has actually happened to the hard drive -- it has all happened virtually."
Goldensoft is available as in a stand-alone version and networked version, the latter of which allows a disk's protected area to be stored on another computer. Waygood points out that for a 20GB hard drive, the recovery tools will allocate around 10MB to the protected area.
Trial versions are available free of charge on the company's Web site. The stand-alone version costs £35 for a single PC while the networked version, for a server and 10 clients, costs around £550.