Practically anyone owning a computer or has some sufficient interest in Information Technology has one major fear; the malfunction or total death of the hard drive. To most people, this is often the beginning of unimaginable misery. When a data recovery company steps in, a hefty bill is involved. But some people, however, see it as an opportunity to explore the murky world of data recovery niche in technology. It is murky because the established insiders most of the time fiercely protect secrets and prevent information leaking into unprofessional and unwanted newbies. Consequently, it is really hard to penetrate this field where newcomers are shunned while the pioneers speak in codes and low tones.
So what is Scott Moulton’s data recovery course? It is a mentored data recovery expert certification course started by Scott Moulton, a renowned data, and forensic expert. He is in a thin list of individuals offering vendor-neutral data recovery classes to the public. The program has grown immensely since its inception to involve several geographical regions across the world with thousands of volunteers involved. The term hard drive has become obsolete due to the dizzying speed of change evident in the technology world. So the program now caters for most modern storage solutions such as USB thumb drives and Solid State Drives.
The course is appropriate for almost everyone with underlying knowledge on file systems and computer forensics and aspires to learn more skills involving the working of the storage devices, storage mechanisms and how the information can be recovered when traditional imaging techniques fail. It is exceptionally useful for any individual intending to use data recovery in expanding a computer-support business or consultancy and wishes to incorporate data recovery as an extra service.
In Scot Moulton’s course, DR (Data Recovery) is grouped into two broad groups; logical and physical DR. In a logical recovery, the recovery process involves the use of software since the problem originates from the file systems. In physical recovery, the class learns about various parts of the drive and their working mechanisms. This is because physical recovery faults are caused by problems in the hard drive’s physical structures such as broken write/read head, circuit board failures and so on. To supplement the studies, a full day is dedicated to adding data on drives, disassembling them, re-assembly and trying to read the Youtube data. Better yet, the in-class lab sessions handle both the 3.5 inch and the 5.5 inch hard drives. Scott Moulton’s course also covers a myriad of hardware oriented DR tools from different vendors complete with in-class lab demonstrations and lectures on their features and uses
The course has improved drastically over time in terms of in-class labs and course materials offered. For instance, the course manual is now three-fold what it used to be just two years ago. This is owed to the instructors’ efforts to keep the manuals up to date with current DR standards due to the dizzying speed of change in technology. The original manual was already 2 inches thick. Basically, what learners get now is a DR encyclopedia in terms of information and size. The second and really important improvement has to do with the incorporation of DDI (DeepSpar Disk Imager) in physical recovery in-class labs. The DDI is a device tasked with reading, imaging and copying information from repaired or damaged hard drives using a range of reading methods. The DDI has been in the course since 2009, with its features being demonstrated in lecture-lab sessions ever since. Today’s classes have hands-on DDI lab sessions for every two students and sometimes for every single student depending on the size of the class.
There are qualities that set Scott Moulton’s DR course apart from other courses of a similar type. First, unlike other courses that promote hardware and software vendors’ products, this course doesn’t incorporate marketing materials in whatever form. Second, it has got rid of filler materials often found in other courses. The course is filled with relevant information and learners find themselves taking great notes on various topics covered that could have taken them a great deal of research spanning months had they pursued the venture alone. To keep learners keep in class reasonably longer, Mr. Moulton maximizes the time by speaking quickly yet eloquently while admitting it is his natural speaking style and he’s dedicated to covering more material in a shorter time. Second, he provides students with snacks and drinks and even lunch as part of the class so that they don’t spend a long time away trying to feed. All class days begin at 8:30 am in the morning and often run to 6 pm depending on the time students spend in finishing lab sessions and a number of questions given. Mr. Moulton’s dedication to learners is appalling since he often invites his learners to join his dinner table once in a week and do a DR related chatter.
Soon as the course ends, each student is provided with login instructions which he/she uses to take online examinations set by independent examining agencies. On successful completion and passing of the examinations, the students get the qualification of CDRE (Certified Data Recovery Expert). The program continues to offer post-course support to students after certification. This is done through various means. For instance, Mr. Moulton provides his students with a URL leading to a website on which he often posts updated class work materials. All the updates provided are free of charge. He also created a Google Groups’ mailing list for the courses alumni to act as a platform for Data Recovery (DR) professionals where they can make discussions on success stories, challenges and anything Data Recovery-oriented. He actively participates in the group discussions. He also runs a YouTube channel where he has more than 100 hours worth of talks and presentations on new ideas he learns from many security conferences he attends. Students can also email the instructor when stuck which he replies quickly to the best of his might.