Firebird Remote Desktop Recovery: Description and Detailed Instructions

Alexey Kovyazin, last update 19-June-2012

IBSurgeon offers 2 types of recovery services for Firebird and InterBase: on site and via remote desktop. On-site recovery means that customers need to transfer database (archived in zip/rar/7z/etc) to us and we perform recovery in our office. To perform remote desktop recovery our specialists connect to the computer on customer’s side and perform investigation and recovery remotely.

When do you need remote desktop recovery for Firebird?

We offer remote desktop service in the following cases:

-          for big databases 

-          for database with very sensitive information (we also can sign NDA to provide a legal protection).

-          for urgent recoveries. Sometimes it’s too long to transfer database file for recovery - it’s faster to connect and repair it at customer's computer.

-          for fast investigation of problem and further recovery on production systems - for this we can connect to production system and perform recovery during offline hours.

Overview of remote desktop recovery process

Typical recovery steps are:

1)      This step is free! You send email or submit online form with recovery request. We check attached information and try to give a quote with minimum and maximum amount, if it’s possible. We can provide the exact diagnosis and time/price of recovery only after investigation of the corrupted database.

2)      This step is free! If you decide that the quote range is Ok, we determine together - will remote desktop recovery be the best choice and, if yes, ask you to prepare computer for recovery according to our instructions (see below).

3)      This step is free! We connect to the recovery computer, shutdown Firebird and then rename database file to avoid any connection attempts from normal users. After that we create a copy of the original corrupted database file.

4)      This step is free! We upload our tools (directly or with your assistance) and start investigation.

5)      This step is free! Investigation usually takes several hours. Investigation is free, as a result, we give you a final quote (between minimum and maximum amount specified at step 1) - it includes time and price estimation. Usually (if it’s possible) we also give you the estimation of losses in %% of overall data stored in the database.

6)      If you decide to order our service, we start recovery. Sometimes recovery takes less time than investigation - due to the fact that we know the reason and exact location of corrupted areas in database. After completing the recovery we set database to its original place and run Firebird server again.

7)      At this step customer checks database. If it’s Ok, we proceed with payment. If database is not recovered or losses are more than estimated in final quote, you don’t to pay for failed recovery (if it was not specified separately). If recovery takes more time than estimated, it does not affect the quoted price.

Preparing for remote desktop recovery of Firebird

Remote desktop computer should be equipped with Windows; it should be powerful and has enough disk space for performing recovery operations. It can be a virtualized computer instance (VMWare or similar) with enough resources too. Remember that slow computer increases recovery time (and overall downtime of your business).


Strict minimum requirements:

-          If main server is using for recovery, all users should be off during investigation and recovery. Firebird or InterBase instances will not work properly during recovery.

-          OS Windows, at least Windows 2000. We need Windows even for Linux databases (database file should be copied and recovered using our Windows-based tools)

-          Enough free disk space. Assuming your database is X Gb, we need at least 2x Gb of free space to perform recovery. It can be on the USB/mapped drive (be aware that USB/network drives can be not so fast as normal HDD, as well as drives in virtualized environments)

-          Package of our tools should be loaded to computer where investigation and/or recovery will be done.

-          RAM 2Gb. 2Gb is an absolute minimum amount of RAM to work with reasonable response time. We recommend at least 4Gb.

-          Full administrative rights. It sounds scary, but we need full access to all disks, ability to install different InterBase and Firebird instances, run and stop services, rename and copy database files and server’s config files, access to temp directories and so on. Ideally you would setup empty computer with Windows, load database and our tools there and give us full access. We don’t recommend to perform recovery on production servers.

 Possible additional software to be installed:

-          Different versions of Firebird. Some corruptions are better to fix on particular version of the engine.

-          Firebird source code and MS Visual Studio 2005 Express Edition (plus SDK). Sometimes the only way to locate and fix error is to use special debug version of Firebird source base and catch the problem inside.

-          .NET Framework 2.0 and higher (it’s necessary for FBScanner work)

Tip: usual workstation with 2Gb RAM, SATA HDD and Windows XP/2003 can be a very good choice

Remote Desktop software

To allow us to connect you need to install remote assistance (remote desktop) tool. Usually we recommend using Terminal Server, VNC, Citrix, RAdmin. There are also gotomypc, logmein and other types of remote access services. If necessary, we can install special software like custom VPN client.

To access usually we just need IP address of computer with database to be recovered, and login and password to log in.

If you are using VPN you need to provide us with VPN connection details first.

Price and time

Remote desktop recovery is more expensive than usual recovery of database in our office due to the necessity to perform synchronized work (i.e., for usual recovery we can put corrupted database in a queue and work at suitable time) and working during non-usual hours (we are at GMT+3).

Remote desktop recovery price starts from EUR 300, and average price is ~900-1200 EUR.

Recovery action Time Price, EUR Comments
Usual corruption recovery 1-3 hours 300-700 EUR 1-2 tables corrupted, no system area corruption
Medium corruption recovery 3-7 hours 700-900 3-5 tables corrupted, system area is corrupted
Heavy corruption recovery 7-24 hours 900-1700 More 5 tables corrupted, system area is corrupted, record-level errors
Ultra heavy corruption recovery 24 hours and more 1700+ Individual estimation of corruption

FYI, cases when we ask more than 2000 EUR are very seldom. Every corruption is special and requires investigation and quoting.

The minimum time for remote desktop recovery is 3-3.5 of actual hours (from the first successful login into remote computer). Average is 6-8 hours (i.e., 1 work day).