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HFS (Hierarchical File System) is a file system developed by Apple. In 1998, Apple introduced HFS+ to address inefficient allocation of disk space and to add other improvements. HFS is still supported by current versions of Mac OS, but starting with OS X an HFS volume cannot be used for booting and beginning with OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), HFS volumes are read-only and cannot be created or updated.
HFS + is an improved version of HFS, supporting much larger files, block addresses are 32-bit length instead of 16-bit. Typically MacBooks, iMacs, iPhones and iPads run under HFS +
HFS+ contains information about a storage devices volume information, attributes of data and other ‘behind the scenes’ processes. This large catalogue basically comprises that which you see when you go to use a device like a computer or phone. It is the structure behind what you see.
HFS+ is said to be one of the faster filesystems out there, while this may be so, it does have some disadvantages, especially when it comes to data recovery. The way the filesystem works means that it creates a lot of files. Initially, when a device is new, this catalogue of files will be relatively small, however, over time it can quickly build up and you can end up with a hard drive containing well over a million files.
Recovering Data from a HFS+ formatted drive
When it comes to recovering the data, this can often take some time, simply because of the amount of files which result in a mass of I/O (input / output) requests a system has to deal with.
When an Apple device is running as it should, they can be really ergonomic and flexible in terms of adapting to each individual user. However, one of the most common faults that occur on Apple devices is a fault known as Bad Sectors. Over time, the platters, which store your data magnetically, start to degrade. At first you may notice this if programs are taking longer to load or if there is a gradual slowing down to using your device. If you notice this and can back up your data, it is highly recommended, however, if you cannot do this because the device is performing slowly and/or crashing, then we are here to help! These areas that become degraded get more and more difficult to recovery if not dealt with. Where most IT companies fall short is in how to read this degraded data. Most of the time, they will deploy software to go about recovering it. However, we here at Datlabs use specialist hardware in which we can set very specific and intensive algorithms to read the data in a tolerant and efficient way. By utilising this method, we are able to recover data where most places aren’t.
The image to the right depicts an external hard disk formatted to the Mac OS Extended (Journaled) file system, this means that it is now in the HFS+ file system format and will only work with apple macintosh systems unless using third party software.