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Star Trek: The Lost Files

The plot resembles science fiction, but it’s rooted in fact.

Fans of the Star Trek television series will recognize the key player, Gene Roddenberry, as the man who masterminded the popular show and its cast of memorable characters: Captain Kirk, Science Officer Spock, Dr. McCoy and the rest of the crew of the Starship Enterprise.

The Enterprise sailed across deep space in the 23rd Century on a five year mission: “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Fans will recognize those words as part of the “Captain’s Oath,” a narrative by Kirk that was used as an introduction for the weekly TV episodes that ran for three seasons on NBC, starting in 1966. The original Star Trek program spawned several other “Trek-type” TV shows (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise) and helped launch the immensely popular Star Trek movie franchise.

Little did we know that data recovery would play a big role in the next chapter.

Computer Creations Come Back to LIfe

The scripts for the futuristic TV program were written on an old-fashioned typewriter. Roddenberry used a pair of custom-built computers late in his career to capture story ideas, write scripts and notes. The author moved on to working with more mainstream computers over time, but kept the custom-built pair in his possession.

Roddenberry died in 1991, but it wasn’t until much later that the estate discovered nearly 200 5.25-inch floppy disks on which the Star Trek creator stored his work.

When it came time to read the disks, a serious problem was discovered. One of the computers had long since been auctioned and the remaining device no longer worked. It had died, taking down it’s proprietary operating system, special text processing software and any normal means of reading what was on all of those 5.25-inch floppy disks.

Next Stop: DriveSavers

LunaTech, the IT company retained by Roddenberry Entertainment, suggested DriveSavers Data Recovery. “We’ve been working with DriveSavers for over 5 years,” said Bobby Pappas, president and founder of LunaTech IT, “we knew if anyone could get this unique data back, they could.” As the world’s original data recovery specialist, DriveSavers offered to help get back the information from Roddenberry’s system that had been missing for decades. But these were no ordinary floppies.

First, we had to develop our own method of extracting the data, which had been set up with special formatting that was no longer in use. There was no user manual. There was nothing written down anywhere about any of this.

Still, DriveSavers was very familiar with recovery from inaccessible storage devices, including floppy disks. The bigger challenge was making sense out of what was on those disks, since they were written in a proprietary format using an out-of-date operating system.

Star Trek: Final Chapter

It took three months for the DriveSavers engineering team to develop software that could read the disks. Even though we were able to crack the formatting, reading the nearly 200 disks was painstakingly slow work that took the better part of a year to finish.

When the project was completed, DriveSavers had unearthed files that haven’t been seen in over 30 years including Star Trek materials, personal notes, and even a copy of his son’s homework!

And so the missing files of Gene Roddenberry were successfully recovered 100% and material that may have been lost forever was saved.

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