Editor’s notes: Just like formatting a PC hard drive, formatting a DVR hard drive results in losing all the surveillance videos along with crucial digital evidence. As a professional DVR forensic solution provider, SalvationDATA has received countless similar cases over the years. Because of the diversity of all the different DVR manufacturers, it is pretty common that an operator may sometimes format or initialize the DVR hard drive by mistake. In this article, let’s see a practical solution to recover surveillance videos after formatting a CCTV DVR hard drive.

What is disk formatting?

Disk formatting is the process of preparing a data storage device such as a hard disk drive, solid-state drive, floppy disk or USB flash drive for initial use. Disk formatting is sometimes also called disk initialization for DVRs. A disk formatting or initialization process would clear all file directories you have on this drive before and would re-write the file system structure. This results in a total loss of all surveillance data stored on this drive.

However, from the point of view of a professional forensic data recovery solution provider, the raw data of the surveillance videos are not wiped, and still are recoverable.

SalvationDATA DVR Forensics  Formatted DVR Hard Drive

SalvationDATA DVR forensic solution: VIP

VIP (Video Investigation Portable) is a forensically sound system for video extraction, recovery, and analysis from CCTV DVRs VIP is capable of accessing CCTV DVRs without the password. VIP could help with a digital forensic investigation by quickly extracting video clips from video surveillance system; automatically retrieving video evidence from abundant video clips; successfully getting access to encrypted or destroyed CCTV DVRs.

With patented technology, VIP provides an easy solution for DVR forensic recovery cases. Over the years, VIP has won many domestic and international patents including a recent awarded USPTO (United States Patent & Trademark Office) patent: Method for Extracting Residual Videos and Deleted Videos in a DVR Hard Disk.


Recover videos from formatted DVR hard drive

Now let’s see exactly how to use VIP to recover surveillance videos from a formatted DVR hard drive.

Step 1. Connect the target DVR hard drive to the PC with a write-blocker.


Step 2. Start VIP and go to ‘Disk Extraction’ module.


Step 3. Select the target drive and click ‘Deep Scan’ to begin recovery.

Deep Scan is the perfect solution for recovering surveillance videos from formatted DVR hard drives. In deep scan mode, VIP scans every block and ever sectors for remaining video data despite the file system directory.

SalvationDATA DVR Forensics  Formatted DVR Hard Drive

Step 4. Check scanning results, find the video footage of interest, preview, and extract

SalvationDATA DVR Forensics  Formatted DVR Hard DriveSalvationDATA DVR Forensics  Formatted DVR Hard Drive

Step 5. Generate a forensic report.

Recover videos from formatted DVR hard drive

This Article introduced a practical solution to recover valuable surveillance video files from formatted DVR hard drives with SalvationDATA’s VIP system. If you happen to have a similar case on hand, we welcome you to download our VIP from our resource page and have a free trial. To see more information, please check out our product catalog from our website.

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