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Guaranteed Recovery FAQs

Guaranteed Recovery is a Disk Drill feature that you can use to protect yourself from future data loss. Below you’ll find frequently asked questions about it. To learn how to enable and recover files with it, see How to Use Recovery Vault and Guaranteed Recovery.

What Is Guaranteed Recovery?
When Guaranteed Recovery (GR) is enabled, it monitors the Trash folder — plus any other folder you specify — of a particular drive or partition and makes a copy of any file you send to the Trash or specified folder.

By monitoring the Trash folder, it creates an “undelete recent” function, allowing you to quickly get your file back — even after you Empty Trash. It works quietly in the background, saving files for those “uh oh” moments.

If you are running OS 10.8 (Mountain Lion), GR now has the ability to monitor other folders as well, giving you the ability to make a backup copy of vital files anywhere on your drive.  This is especially helpful since files can be lost due to reasons other than deletion. If you are running OS 10.7 (Lion) or below, you can monitor the Trash, but not other folders.

Keep in mind though, that GR only saves the file exactly as it was sent to the Trash, or other specified folder. (It does not save previous versions.) GR also needs a good amount of hard drive space to the store the files, though you can adjust how much space you wish to give it.

Why Should I Use Guaranteed Recovery?
When it comes to files on your Mac internal hard drive, Guaranteed Recovery is the absolute safest way to guarantee data recovery. While it does require allocating hard drive space, it is the only way you can be sure you can get your files back. All other Disk Drill methods of scanning and recovery can fail due to the original file data being overwritten by new data. GR is the only one that prevents this from happening. Even with a regular backup system in place, key changes to a file can still be made in between backup sessions and then lost. And if you use Time Machine, getting that last version from the Trash can be complicated.

How Is Guaranteed Recovery Different from Recovery Vault?
Recovery Vault saves the metadata of deleted files, but it does not save a copy of the file itself. While Recovery Vault greatly improves your chances of recovering a file, it does not guarantee it — the deleted files could be overwritten by new data and lost for good. The Recovery Vault footprint is fairly small and it does not require a lot of storage space. See Recovery Vault FAQs for more information.

Guaranteed Recovery actually saves a complete copy of the file, making it much more likely that the file can be successfully recovered (thus the name “Guaranteed”). By default, GR only monitors the Trash folder, but if you are running Mac OS 10.8, you can set it to monitor other folders as well. Guaranteed Recovery also takes up a lot more hard drive space, since you have to store all those copied files. The amount of storage space you allocate to it can be adjusted though.

guaranteed recovery

Advanced Options

What Are the Advanced Options for Guaranteed Recovery?
On the Protect screen, where it shows the protection status of each drive or partition, you will see two options:

  1. Reset Storage: Be very careful using this option. Resetting storage will erase all files stored by Guaranteed Recovery, meaning you will no longer be able to recover those files using Undelete Protected Data. If you are sure there are no deleted files that you need, then resetting storage is a good way to free up some hard drive space. When you click “Reset Storage” you will get a message asking if you are sure. There is a drop-down menu on the left that says “Keep data for” where you can choose to keep the data for the last day, week, month, or none. Select your option and then click “Reset.”
  2. Advanced: By clicking on Advanced, you have the ability to set parameters for the files that GR stores:
    • Enable Trash protection for this partition (all users). This option is checked by default. Uncheck it if you do not want to make copies of all deleted files sent to the Trash. (This feature requires Mac OS 10.8.)
    • Specify additional folders to be protected. In the “Protected folders” tab, click “Add folder” to add another folder that you wish GR to monitor. Once added, GR will make a copy of every file in that folder, and will continue to copy new files as they are saved to that folder. (This feature requires Mac OS 10.8.) Select a folder in the list and click “Delete” to remove it. You can exclude subfolders using Exclusion Masks.
    • Specify files, subfolders or paths to be excluded, meaning no copies will be made of files sent from those locations to the Trash. If you have set an additional protected folder, any file or subfolder within a protected folder can be excluded by specifying it here. Click the “Exclusion Masks” tab and then “Add Exclusion Masks” to add a new location.
    • Specify the maximum size of a file that will be copied for recovery. For instance, if you don’t want large video files copied, you could set a limit by clicking the drop-down menu and selecting the maximum size. The default size is unlimited.
    • Specify the amount of time that copies of files are kept. The default is 4 weeks. This setting can be overridden: see below.
    • Specify the maximum amount of storage space that GR will use. This can be done two ways: The first is “Don’t clear protected data if there’s enough space.” With this option, you specify the amount of free space you want left on your hard drive. If there is plenty of space left, GR will not clear protected data, even after your specified amount of time. So, if the amount of time is set to 4 weeks, it may keep the data for weeks longer if there is space. It will only start clearing data when the free space limit is reached. The second option is “Maximum size of guaranteed recovery storage.” (Click on “don’t clear protected data” to see the second option.) In this case, it doesn’t matter how much free space the drive has, it just matters how big the GR storage size is. After the specified amount of space is reached, it will start deleting, even if it hasn’t yet gotten to the length of time specified. So, if the amount of time is set to 4 weeks, it could start deleting files after 3 weeks if it reaches its maximum size.

Is Guaranteed Recovery Resource Hungry?
No, it is not particularly resource hungry. By default, it only monitors the Trash folder, so it is only active when it needs to make a copy of a deleted file. If you have set it to monitor another folder, it will be active whenever a file is saved to that folder.

What Kind of Drives Can I Protect with Guaranteed Recovery?
You can enable protection on any partition with an HFS+ file system. By default, only the Trash folder on these partitions are monitored. If you have GR enabled on your Mac’s internal hard drive, any file that you drag from an external hard drive to the Trash will be copied.

What Kind of Files Can I Protect with Guaranteed Recovery?
Guaranteed Recovery can protect any file type — it is not restricted to certain file types like Deep Scan recovery is.

Should I Protect a Time Machine Volume?
No. There is no need to enable Guaranteed Recovery for a Time Machine volume, and your system could experience slowdowns if you enable protection on it. If you have Time Machine on a partitioned drive, you can enable protection on the non-Time-Machine partitions, and just leave the Time Machine partition unprotected.

Why Didn’t a File I Deleted Show Up in Guaranteed Recovery?
There are a few reasons why a file might not show up:

  • The disk or partition you deleted the file from was not protected. Go through the How to Use Recovery Vault and Guaranteed Recovery tutorial to ensure you have the right volumes protected.
  • You moved a file to another drive, instead of sending it to the Trash (or to another protected folder).
  • The files were deleted bypassing the Trash or other protected folders (Mac OSX can delete certain files without moving them to Trash).

How Is My Privacy Protected? Can I Use a Password?
One issue with Guaranteed Recovery is that it makes it easier for anyone who has access to your computer to recover your deleted files. If you wish to ensure your privacy, Disk Drill has a password option. Simply go to the menu bar and select Disk Drill > Preferences and then click on the Security tab. Enter your Master Password twice, and an email address that we can send your password to if you forgot it. (The email address is optional, but you will not be able to recover the password without it.) You do not need to click the Reset button — simply switch to another tab and your password will be saved. Once you have set the password, you will be asked for it every time Disk Drill is launched. If you need to change your password, go back to the Security tab, enter your new password twice and click Reset. If you forget your password (and you had entered a recovery email), click the “Forgot Password” button on the left when Disk Drill asks you for the password.