Mighty Desktop

Data Refresher





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The data bits on each drive lose a little bit of their strength each year. If you have disks or tapes based on magnetic technology which you don't use often you should be warned that such medias lose their informations after about 5..10 years depending on the storage conditions (temperature, treatment, quality). Flash memory can lose data after 10 years. Mighty Desktop can either refresh the whole drive or just punctually those files that were created before a certain date. The advantage is, that it can do that for any kind of drive independently of the brand and that the drive doesn't have to be taken offline for the procedure. The Data Refresher can be found in the tab 'System-Safety'.

In some cases a refresh can even cure the problem of a very slowly mounting drive. I once had an external harddisk which took up to 30 seconds to show up in Windows after it was powered on. Then I used the Data Refresher on this disc and I was astonished that it appeared after just 2 seconds from then on.

During the refresh process only a single file is locked exclusively. You can continue to use the medium and even add, remove or change files inside a refreshed folder. The refresh process can easily take multiple hours depending on the size of the drive. Therefor it was built to be interruptible, as for example when Mighty Desktop is exited. The refreshing will just be resumed at the next start at the exact same position inside the refreshed file. If a removable drive is not online, it will just display a message in the description of the process and wait. After bringing the medium online you can kick-start it with a click on the button 'Continue' or just let the next start of Mighty Desktop resume the refresh process.

The refresh does by default not change any time stamps of files or folders (although you can choose to). To keep track of which files were already refreshed, you can specify the location for a textual control file (optional but recommended). It will record which elements were refreshed at which date in a human readable form. For example you can choose to only refresh files older than 5 years. If you do the next refresh one year later, again for 5 years back, the control file will remember which files were already refreshed, skip these and therefore increase the speed by a huge factor also avoiding unnecessary writes on flash drives.

Since the refresh process only covers existing files all the unallocated blocks could still be fading away. To avoid that you can check the box "Unused Space too?". This will add a second process to the Process Queue which will fill the unused space of the drive with random data. This is basically the same function as the button in the System Safety Functions tab.


  • This process can take quite a while so it was constructed to be interruptible (see Process Queue).

  • You can also use this operation on flash drives (SSDs and memory sticks). But be warned that it will add 2 write operations to the count of each block of data. Usually the lifetime of a cell is about 1000 write operations. So, do that only if really necessary, or you will degrade the lifespan of your flash drive.

  • You should assert that you have the most possible rights on the drive. Optimally start Mighty Desktop in Administrator Mode (see 'About' tab) if you want to avoid locked files.

  • Be informed that the recycle bin of the drive will be emptied

  • The drive is checked for file system errors before starting. This guarantees that your data is safe at all times. The Windows built-in program ChkDsk can report errors even if in reality there are none. It points this out itself with the message "....The volume is being used by another process. Chkdsk. may report errors if there is no corruption.....". If you want to be sure, you can open a command prompt in admin mode and type "chkdsk c:" or similar. If this says "...no problems detected..." uncheck the 'Check Disk?' box and run the refresh again.

  • If you refresh a drive that is in use you can enter a number like 10 or higher into the column 'Relax Delay' of the 'Queue'. This will give the other processes more breathing space.

  • Tip: You can use the scan for 'Defects' of File Scanner in the 'File Center' to check how much data was already lost on an old drive before starting the refresh.

Disclaimer: Mighty Desktop's method of refreshing single files - as opposed to the media as a whole - is very convenient because it produces nearly no interference with the normal operation of the drive during usage time. If files are refreshed this way it will automatically also update the directory blocks (because meta data like access times are changed). Still there will be a small number of blocks left that are not refreshed. If your data is extremely critical and you need to be really 100.00 % sure, it's a better strategy to either backup and restore the whole disk in a block-wise manner or use a specialized program to refresh the whole drive. But be informed that the latter is a much more complicated task because first you will have to find exactly the right program for your drive type, then the media will have to be mounted exclusively for a long time and a reboot will be required. In addition bad (broken) blocks will have to be managed actively by the tool (put in a skip list) which sometimes can be risky. Such an operation is usually very low level and manufacturer specific. If you have multiple drives of different manufacturers this can be a very time consuming and risky task.

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