Frequently Asked Questions
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- Can the Atola Insight software program be purchased without the DiskSense hardware unit?
No, the Atola Insight software cannot be purchased without a DiskSense unit.
Most features of the Atola Insight depend on the DiskSense unit functionality.
- What are the PC requirements for each of the Atola DiskSense unit options?
The DiskSense USB unit can be used on any computer that has a USB port, including laptops,
allowing it to utilize the full potential of the Atola Insight using almost any PC.
For this reason, a portable power supply is included with Atola DiskSense USB.
The DiskSense Ethernet unit requires an Ethernet port. Any speed is compatible (10/100/1000 Mbit),
however, when creating images over a network, a Gigabit link (1000 Mbit) is highly recommended.
Atola Insight software requires a Windows operating system. More details are available in the Atola Insight Manual.
- Does the Atola Insight only work when the hard drive is connected to the DiskSense?
Hard drives can be recognized by Atola Insight software when connected to
standard ATA/IDE ports instead of the DiskSense unit. Some functions will work in the
same fashion except for the Automatic Diagnostic, which cannot be run without the hard
drive being connected to the DiskSense unit. Some firmware-related functions will not work.
Please note that the DiskSense unit
must still be attached to the host computer in order for the Atola Insight software program to
- What are the hardware and operating system requirements for running the Atola Insight?
- How much variation is there in data transfer speed during imaging?
Data transfer speed depends largely on the hard drive. The DiskSense USB is capable
of reaching about 40 MB/sec.
The DiskSense Ethernet can reach speeds up to 180 MB/sec,
but the speed may be as slow as 50 MB/sec (3 GB per minute) when working with older or slower HDD models.
- How does the Atola Insight compare to other products in the industry that advertise the same features?
Our goal is to develop the most effective data recovery solution on the market.
Though our product is clearly the most effective solution for some operations,
there are many products on the market and we feel that it is unethical to make
claims such as "our product is the best on the market". A feature-by-feature comparison
to competing products in our industry is available through Ji2 Inc. (www.ji2.com
- How can I achieve the best duplication speed with DiskSense Ethernet unit?
To have an acceptable throughput you would need to use a Gigabit Ethernet
network card in your computer. If you plug DiskSense unit into a network switch,
the switch has to be rated for Gigabit speeds (as well as all other intermediate switches
between the unit and PC where Atola Insight software is installed).
Gigabit Ethernet will give you the maximum speed of about 85 Mb/s.
When Gigabit Ethernet is not available, the maximum speed would be only 8 MB/s which is very low.
There are few steps to ensure high speed connection:
- Check that your Ethernet adapter supports Gigabit Ethernet. If it
doesn't, then you would have to obtain a new Ethernet adapter that supports Gigabit Ethernet.
- If DiskSense is not directly attached to the PC but to a networking switch, then
please make sure that it does support Gigabit Ethernet (as well as all
other intermediate switches, if any). Ethernet adapter in the PC still must support
- A misconfigured network switch or network adapter can cause a negative impact on the speed as well.
- Verify that all intermediate network cables between the unit and the PC
are 5e category or higher (cat. 6). It is suggested the cables should
not be too long; however, usually long cables (20 meters/60 feet and more) do not cause any issues.
- For maximum performance, DiskSense Ethernet unit should be connected
directly to the Ethernet adapter on the PC without any intermediate network switches.
There are other things that could affect transfer speeds like network
adapter drivers, motherboard drivers, antivirus software and so on. However, complying with
the rules above is enough for most cases.
To verify the network speed you can do the following:
- Launch the Atola Insight software
- Connect a good and fast hard drive to the Source port of the DiskSense unit
- Navigate to Imaging, select Imaging to File option
- In the file selection dialog enter file name nul (with one
L if you are using Atola Insight version 2.0 or earlier;
if you are using version 2.1 or newer, the name should be null
with two L). This special file name will force Insight to skip
writing, thus target write speed will not affect the measurement. Data
is still transferred through Ethernet.
- Begin imaging
If everything is working properly, you should see speeds of 50 MB/s or higher.
- How does the automatic diagnostic work and how accurate is it?
The automatic diagnostic function is quite complex. It applies a
sophisticated system that analyzes electrical currents as they enter and leave
the hard drive, examines the hard drive’s responsiveness to low level commands
and incorporates firmware information (if it is accessible).
Our studies had shown that this approach is accurate in pinpointing malfunctions for at least 95%
- I don’t have training on oscilloscope use. How will I know how to analyze electrical currents from the oscilloscope?
Some data from the oscilloscope is very simple to understand (for example; when HDD power fails the lines go flat).
Users can learn to understand more complex oscilloscope information by seeking advice from other data recovery
technicians, seeking professional training, or simply through gaining experience in field.
While current monitoring technology plays an important role in the Atola Insight’s operation,
no specific skills are actually required since the current analysis is performed automatically by the tool.
- Can RAID arrays be diagnosed as a single HDD?
The Atola Insight will only diagnose the hard drive that is directly
connected to the DiskSense unit. Hard drives from RAID Arrays must be diagnosed and recovered individually.
- What is an ECC?
ECC stands for Error Correction Code. Every HDD sector has a reserved space for the ECC,
which would list special code used to recover data in that sector in case of slight damage.
When the term “bad sector” is used, it usually refers to a sector which contents
cannot be recovered with the ECC algorithms. See Bad Sector Recovery
article for more information.
- What are the HPA and DCO functions used for?
HPA and DCO are used mostly to limit capacity of an HDD.
They reduce a hard drive’s capacity by making a certain portion of the drive invisible.
For example, if you took a 500GB hard drive and set a DCO max LBA or HPA at 300GB, the hard drive
would appear to computers and other devices as 300GB capacity. This process is sometimes
referred to as “clipping” a hard drive. A DCO clip or HPA can be set or removed in seconds.
- How often is the list of supported file systems updated?
Support for different file systems is added on a case by case basis.
This is determined by market demand and practicality.
- Does the speed of the DiskSense unit affect the speed of file recovery?
The speed of the DiskSense unit affects the speed of scanning the entire hard drive as well as the speed of file restoration.
Please note that the hard drive does not need to be scanned by the File Recovery
module if it has already been duplicated/imaged using the Atola Insight because the
Disk Duplication module automatically creates a bad sector map for the File Recovery module to reference.