Database Repair Service

Since 1996, I’ve offered a unique data recovery service for those who use Btrieve and Pervasive database engines. While these systems have a well-deserved reputation as being among the least fragile in existence, hardware failures can still damage the data files. In many cases, the damage makes the file totally unreadable to the database engine and it seems that the data is gone beyond any possibility of salvage.

However, even before the publication of “Btrieve Complete,” I discovered that one of the sample programs written for the book was able to recover some files in that condition. Later, I wrote an article for Btrieve Developer’s Journal describing the technique. Click here to download a corrected copy of the file that accompanied that article, or here for the most recent update of the program.

After the article appeared, I began getting E-mail requests for help in recovering files. After several months of this, I finally realized that the service was worth offering as a specialty, and took out an ad in BDJ. Later, at the 1998 Btrieve Developer Conference in Austin, TX, I circulated among the vendor representatives informing them of the possibilities, and since that time have gotten several such jobs each week.

Not all corrupted files are recoverable; some failures scramble the data too badly for any recovery attempt to be more than a series of wild guesses. However the recovery average has been amazing: in many situations, more than 98% of the original data has been salvaged. In most cases, the recovery rate exceeds 90%. Only a handful of files have totally defied resuscitation.

Many programs that use the Btrieve engine don’t make that fact obvious. Among widely used programs built on the Btrieve foundation are the Lytec medical practice management system (click here for detailed instructions about submitting Lytec files to me for analysis) and the Yardi property management system. I’ve had good success in recovering data from both of these.

If you have a Btrieve file (or one you’re uncertain of) that appears to be unreadable, compress it in the popular PKZip format and send it to me. You can download a special-purpose program I’ve created that greatly simplifies the process of sending files to me. Just click on this link. If your browser asks whether to run the application or save it to disk, choose “save it to disk” and put it on your desktop. When the download completes you will find the program icon on your desktop. Use WinZip to unzip it to a folder of your choice, or if you want, directly to the desktop. You’ll find three files: the program file, with a speeding-letter style icon, and two help files. Double-click either of the help files for instructions on using the program. Once you have unzipped the original file you don’t need it any more and can delete it.

The SendKyle program will transfer your files direct to my private FTP server. When they arrive I’ll analyze them as soon as I can, and you’ll get an immediate reply analyzing the degree of recovery that can be expected (or telling you that I can’t help, if it’s a non-Btrieve file in a format I don’t know) together with a firm cost estimate.

There’s no charge for this diagnosis, nor is there any obligation, and your media will be returned in any case. If you decide to proceed, the minimum fee will be $125 USD payable on a US institution, and I’ll bill you only after you confirm the success of the recovery effort. Exact cost varies with file size, but most jobs range between the $125 USD minimum and $500 USD. For full details of my pricing and payment policies, click here. I’ll return the fixed file by the same means you sent it.

You can use any of several utilities to compress your file. My personal favorites are WinZip and PKZip. PKZip was the original program, but runs from the command line only. WinZip is a native Windows program. Other commercial programs that will work include ZipMagic. For a completely free version, try InfoZip. Many other programs, both shareware and freeware, are available for downloading from the TuCows site.

If none of this makes much sense to you and you just want to get your data back as fast as you can, send me an E-mail message or call me at 1-405-728-3316 between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Central (US) time and we’ll proceed from there. Good luck!