1. The basics
2. Installation 3. Using UFS Explorer Standard Access 4. Legal stuff 5. Glossary 6. Keyboard shortcuts

1. The basics

1.1 Overview

UFS Explorer software is designed in a way to meet most challenging requirements of our customers. UFS Explorer Standard Access is a software application designed to open data from inaccessible storages attached to the local computer. Along with physical devices, this program handles virtual disks allowing direct access to virtual machines without their run. Access to data on complex RAID devices is possible via the optional RAID-Builder plug-in. The utilities are intended to produce remarkable access performance for various cases of any complexity.

With abundance of tools and functions organized into one efficient software, this utility will become irreplaceable assistant to both home users and professionals in need for data access.

1.2 Specifications and requirements

Supported host operating systems:
  • Microsoft Windows ®: starting with Windows ® XP with Service Pack 3 and later;
Minimal configuration:
  • Any of supported operating systems
  • At least 20MB free disk space for software executable files
  • At least 256MB RAM
Recommended configuration:
  • Any of supported operating systems
  • Over 1GB free disk space for program and temporary files
  • At least 1GB RAM and 2 logical cores CPU for parallel data processing
  • Default web browser
Supported host computer architectures:
  • Intel Architecture, 32-bit (IA-32, x86) - for all operating systems;
Supported file systems for recovery
  • NTFS, FAT/FAT32, ExFAT, SGI XFS, Apple HFS and HFS+, JFS (IBM JFS2), Ext2-Ext4, ReiserFS, Unix/BSD UFS/UFS2, Solaris/Mac big-endian UFS/UFS2, Custom Adaptec UFS, Sun ZFS, Novell NWFS, Novell Storage Services, VMware VMFS, Btrfs.
RAID support:
  • Standard RAID assembly via RAID Access Plugin – RAID Builder;
  • Custom RAID in Runtime VIM format via RAID Access Plugin – VIM Import.
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1.3 Features

  • Access to data on supplementary operating system
  • Access to files on external storage
  • Direct access to data on virtual machine
  • Safety of access
  • Disk-on-Disk access
  • Copying data all-at-once
  • Functional extensions
  • Hexadeciaml preview
  • “Read-only” mode

2. Installation

2.1 Setup

The software download page is located at: http://www.ufsexplorer.com/download_pro.php. Navigate to specific software edition detailed description for more information about it. This page also contains references to software update information, technical details, including specifications. Software edition specific information can be found on a specific product web page.

To install new copy of the software or update the software from previous version you should follow steps the first software installation. If you are updating software from older major software version (e.g. from 3.x to 5.x or 4.x to 5.x) it's recommended to uninstall older software version before latest version installation. Different software editions can be installed same time.

You can install software on Microsoft Windows starting with Windows ® XP with Service Pack 3 and later (Windows XP/Windows 2003 Server and later). It is possible to run the software on older Windows NT versions starting from NT 4 SP6. Software installation to Windows 95/98/МЕ is not supported at all.

To install the software simply download software installer executable file and start it.

  
Warning: never download or install the software to the drive with lost data you are going to recover. This may lead to permanent data damage or loss. If data was lost from non-system partitions, it's recommended to download and install software to system OS partition. If data was lost from system partition, it's recommended to shut down computer immediately and boot it using Recovery CD.

After start of installation process you will be prompted for user interface language that will define language of software installer and software user manual. If software is updated from previous version installer will pick previous software language preferences. The installer will show End User License Agreement (EULA). You may continue installation only after EULA is accepted.

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On the next step software will prompt for software installation target folder. In case of software update from previous version the default installation folder will be set to the folder of previous software version. Then installer will prompt for name of Start menu product group (default is UFS Explorer or "Data Recovery"). At this stage installer will finish necessary information collection and start the installation process. After it is finished, you will be able to start the software from final window of software installation wizard.

You may start the software using shortcut in Start menu (All programs, then software group (default is UFS Explorer or "Data Recovery") and than Recover data with UFS Explorer (for UFS Explorer) or Recover files from X file system(s) (for Raise Data Recovery).

2.2 Activating

Activating the program means purchasing license for the full version and registering it. For more information concerning the difference between Trial/Evaluation and Full versions, go to 4.2 License Information section. You can choose among three types of license according to the purpose of using the product: Evaluation, Personal and Business licenses are available, each with special conditions of applying the software. After purchasing the license at you will get a sequence of symbols, which will be sent to the e-mail address mentioned during the purchase.

Then you should start the application, if it is not started yet, press the Software license button.
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Enter the sequence of symbols to the gap “Registration Code”, as well as fill in the gap “Registration Name” according to the name mentioned in the payment document as a buyer.

After valid data is supplied, the software should switch to “Registered” mode and remove trial limitations immediately.

If you have problems with software activation:

make sure you are using correct software version and edition (different Raise Data Recovery software as well as UFS Explorer Standard/RAID recovery require different licenses for each distinct software edition);

make sure if OS platform is valid for registration (different OS platforms require different software licenses);

make sure the registration code is copied as described above.

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2.3 Upgrading

To upgrade your software version to a newer one, go to http://www.sysdevlabs.com/store.php, download the upgraded installation pack of the needed software pack and simply run it as mentioned in the Setup section. You will not need to enter the registration code again, if you have one, as the application remembers it. In case when your software version is up-to-dated, the installation manager will show the according message. is up-to-dated, the installation manager will show the according message.

2.4 Uninstalling

In case when the software is no longer needed and you are willing to uninstall it, follow these steps:  use standard Uninstall feature under Programs and Components of Windows Control Panel. The software name for removal is UFS Explorer Standard Access.

3. Using UFS Explorer Standard Access

3.1 Introduction

As already mentioned in sections 1.1 Overview and 1.3 Features, UFS Explorer Standard Access is a professional tool for cases when access not-damaged data on a physical storage, disk images or virtual disks of virtual machines is difficult or impossible. The software enables fast and easy access to blocked data. Supporting a great variety of operating systems UFS Explorer Standard Access allows opening an inaccessible file from Apple Mac OS, Linux and FreeBSD working on a PC concurrently with Windows operating system. The software supports various file systems - FAT/FAT32, NTFS (Microsoft Windows), HFS+ (Apple Mac OS); Ext2, Ext3, Ext4, Reiser, XFS, Btrfs, JFS (JFS2) (Linux) and UFS/UFS2 (FreeBSD) - and helps to get access to inaccessible data located on an external storage formatted with any supported file system. This program provides direct access to files on virtual disks of virtual machines and any copies allowing users to eliminate virtual machine start and configuration. Additionally, with RAID Access Plugin - RAID Builder access to data on any complex RAID-system built with the plug-in is possible.

Working as a "guide" from one file system to another UFS Explorer Standard Access in no way affects information on the storage. The software operates in a read-only mode therefore ensures safety of your data.

3.2 Software settings

Software can be started before prior setup. After program is started you will be able to change software settings for more efficient software use.

Software settings are available on the “About/Settings” user interface tab. Value can be changed by pressing “Change value” button next to the value. Software settings will be stored under user profile folder in special “,ufsxaci,hbin” file. The software will not save any data into operating system registry or configuration files (except software uninstall information, if applicable).
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3.2.1 Temporary files path

Defines folder for “Quick view” tool of Explorer. The software will write into this folder all the temporary files. More information can be found in “Explorer” description. The changes will take effect immediately.

3.2.2 Language

Allows to change user interface language. It does not apply changes to User Manual. You should restart the software to make changes to take effect.

3.2.3. Hexadecimal viewer

Defined default encoding for hexadecimal viewer to display symbolic byte representation. This section also defines maximum number of bytes to copy via system clipboard and maximum number of bytes to use for “undo” in hexadecimal editor.

3.2.4 Explorer

Settings include maximum number of objects available on single “page” of Explorer and maximum number of search results returned by single search operation. Lower values will save memory and increase speed, higher values will allow to operate more objects. The recommended settings are available in hint section (select field header to see). The changes will be applied to any next related operation. Additionally, it is possible to set up default action for file “Quick view”: the actions include opening in hexadecimal viewer or file copying to temporary files folder and launch using default associated application.

3.3 Operations

After software is started it displays main window that includes main menu (top), navigation tree (left) and workspace (right). By default, workspace will display “About/Settings” tab.

Simple data access does not require special knowledge: to access a file, activate required disk partition in navigation tree and software will display “Explorer” tab for the chosen file system. Use explorer-style navigation you may navigate to a specific folder, find and select required file and save it using “Save current selection” tool from explorer tab main menu or using “Save this object to...” context menu option.

The file can be also “opened” just by activating it by keyboard or mouse. This will either copy file to folder defined as “Temporary files path” and opened with default associated program installed on your computer or opened in new “Hexadecimal viewer” tab depending on your preferences.

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3.3.1 Storages tree navigation

The tree contains top-level container “This computer”, containing all the opened storages below. The storages will also include disk images and complex storages (RAID).

Storages operations

The “Open” tool in main menu and context menu of “This computer” element allows to open any of supported disk image or virtual disk. More information about supported formats is available in the software specification. The “RAID Recovery” software edition also allows to open saved RAID configurations as well as Runtime Software Virtual Image files (*.vim-files). This function is not available for Standard Recovery and Raise Data Recovery even if used with plugins.

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The “Open storage” tool in main menu allows to open physical storage by specifying OS-specific device name. In Microsoft Windows, you may open volume by supplying volume mount point (e.g. “E:”). To access physical drives, you must run the software as local Administrator.

The “Close storage” tool allows to close the storage in UFS Explorer.

The “Refresh storages” tool resets tree of attached storages (closes all the opened storages and re-detects attached storages tree). This does not close already opened tabs. The storage is closed after last tab to a storage is closed. After refresh, the tree will only contain available physical drives, excluding any disk images or RAID. In case OS used software RAID, it will be displayed as set of its components. To open such RAID, use “Open device” tool and open the RAID by specifying device name or mount point (such as “E:” under Windows or “/dev/lvm/vg0” under Linux).

The contextual tool bar for disk contains tools for lost partition search and definition as well as to save disk content to an image file.

Disk partitions

A disk may be divided into “disk partitions”. Purpose of disk partitions is data isolation (from other data or OS), different OS installation on the same physical disk etc.

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The software will show disk partitions under “disk” element (including those with unknown or unsupported file system). The partition name consists of combination of its parameters: file system type, offset, size (in GB). More details about disk partition can be found on disk properties tab.

The file system icon will indicate its condition: green means file system can be accessed, yellow may indicate problems, red means there are problems and gray means file system cannot be recognized. It does not display any information about file system mount point. For example, drive C: may be displayed simply as NTFS-formatted partition of required size. File system can be identified by disk and file system size, as well as by its files/folders content. After partition activation software opens Explorer tab for the file system.

3.3.2 Using Explorer

After selecting disk partition the software will open Explorer tab for the file system. Files and folders in Explorer are represented as sorted lists, containing file/folder name, type, size and modification date. You may re-sort the list by clicking to column header.

To simplify navigation Explorer contains quick navigation panel with support of navigation by navigation history, navigating to parent folders or by typing full path. Left side of Explorer window contains folders tree.

When folder is activated, software navigates to the folder. When file is activated, the software depending on preferences will either open it in hexadecimal viewer or will copy into folder for temporary files and will open with installed associated application.

Files and folders can be saved to a specific local folder by selecting them and choosing context menu option Save this object to... or using Save selection tool in the toolbar. You may select multiple object in Explorer for copying by holding Shift or Ctrl keys when selecting object in list.

In case you require more complex rule to copy files, use bulk copy operation.

Explorer tabs

If the number of files and folder exceeds maximum number specified in software settings Explorer will use “Pages” to show all files. In the tool bar, it activates buttons for “Previous” and “Next” pages navigation and button for navigation to page by given number.

To copy all the data from such folder you may either use “bulk copy” operation or apply copy operation for parent folder.

Bulk copying

The option is activated by “Define selection” button of Explorer panel. This turns both files list and folders tree to “checkbox mode” to select files and folders for copying.

The copying rule is defined as:

- selected with checkbox file or folder will be copied;

- if checkbox from file of folder was removed, it will be not copied;

- if folder is selected, it will be copied with its content except deselected files and folders.

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After all required files/folders were selected, press “Copy selection” to start copying process. Selection can be canceled using “Cancel selection” button.

Searching for files and folders

The function is available as “Quick search”: just specify sub-string of file name to search on quick search panel or as “Advanced search”: the tool in the tool bar, folder context menu or “Ctrl+F” keys combination.

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Quick search uses string as a part of file name and uses case sensitivity settings of the current file system.

For Advanced search, you may specify full mask for file name (including “wildcard” symbols * and ?). You may also define rule for file size and for inclusion of files and folders to search result.

Search operation will start on a new “Search result” tab and runs over all sub-folders of the selected folder until all sub-folders are processed or maximum number of found objects is reached.

New search will start on the same tab if previous search operation is completed and “open on new tab” option is not specified.

You may navigate from “Search results” tab to “Explorer” tab opening folder containing selected object. The software will not copy files/folders from search results tab.

Data size

Before you start copying files and folders, it's recommended to evaluate data size to select matching target storage. You may use “Evaluate data size” tool available from folder or objects group context menu.

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If file system consistency error is detected, it's recommended to continue with file system recovery.

Folders tree panel

The panel contains information about currently opened partition, file system and folder for fast navigation. If folder is chosen in the left panel, it will be opened in Explorer; this feature can be used for fast navigation through different folders.

Folder context menu contains all the tools available in Explorer for folder record. If Explorer is in “bulk copy” mode, you may select/deselect folders from tree by double-clicking them. If the file system was scanned with data recovery scan, scan result will be available as a “file system instance” under partition item element with its own subfolders tree.

3.3.3 Hexadecimal contents

he option of a hexadecimal view of a file allows users to have a deeper look at the structure of the to-be-recovered files enabling such possibilities, as finding data in the file, text search (with multiple configurations), binding a structure as well as manual analysis of the file properties.

To find out the functions of the Hexadecimal vontents in the Raise Data Recovery software, go to Buttons and shortcuts section. For more information about hexadecimal viewer please visit the web page http://www.cihexviewer.com

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4. Legal stuff

4.1 Copyright

UFS Explorer products are licensed, not sold. This means that the Software Legal Owner (LLC SysDev Laboratories) only grants you some rights to use the software. Please read End User License Agreement for more information about software licensing.

The Software Legal Owner grants you a life-time license for UFS Explorer products (see p.10 of EULA for details). Software update policy is the subject of End User License Agreement.

The End User License Agreement is a Public Offer Agreement. Any use of the software (including copying, installation, exploitation etc.) means you have accepted the Public Offer Agreement. From the moment of acceptance, the Agreement comes into legal force in most countries worldwide.

Only LLC SysDev Laboratories, software Author and authorized resellers are authorized to issue Registration Codes for applications that are property of LLC SysDev Laboratories. Unauthorized Registration Code use is violation of the Ukrainian and international Copyright Laws.

Any publication of Registration Code by License Owner or unauthorized license transfer result in End User License Agreement termination.

End User License Agreement is a Public Offer Contract that has legal force in Ukraine, Russia and other countries. By installing and using the software you accept this Public Offer. Violation of EULA can be considered as a crime in these countries.

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4.2 License information

UFS Explorer products are sold based on the following licenses:

1. Evaluation License - the Software can be used by a single person for evaluation purposes only. License Owner shall agree to "trial limits" of the Software.

2. Personal License - the Software can be used by a single private person (individual) for non-profit use. License Owner is not authorized to provide any "for-profit" services using the Software.

3. Business License - the License is applicable for using the software by an enterprise or individuals on up to 10 (ten) computers owned by License Owner per single License and/or for profit use. Software cannot be installed to computers of third parties (e.g. customers of License Owner).

Personal license and Business license require license fee payment. After the purchase of Software License SysDev Laboratories authorize it by issuing Software Registration Code. This code is used to unlock program functions (remove "trial limits") and identify License Owner as authorized owner of Software License.

Personal License Registration Code is issued to Person's First and Last name; it authorizes Person to use application by himself/herself only.

Business License Registration Code is issued to either Company's name or Person's (entrepreneur) name and authorizes the Person/Company to use the application according to Business use.

4.3 Contacts

Company details

Central Office:

Limited Liability Company SysDev Laboratories

Code of legal entity: 35951055

28-V, Druzhby narodiv

Kyiv, 01103, Ukraine

E-mail: info@sysdevlabs.com

To contact our support team, please visit http://www.sysdevlabs.com/contact.php and fill in the contact form.

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5. Glossary

This section describes the main terms and notions needed for understanding the peculiarities of working with the software.

5.1 RAID

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) is a special technology for data storage organization where several separate disks is combined to constitute one system. In such a system, as compared with traditional linear storages, the data is distributed across the drives in a way typical for certain RAID level. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, but the main idea of any RAID is a balance between maximum performance, increased reliability and full capacity of useful storage space.

An operating system detects RAID as a single drive giving it its own mount point and treating all its disks as one and the same storage. All responsibility for correct system work is on RAID controller, which can be either hardware or software.

Most commonly used RAID levels include:

- JBOD, which is not exactly RAID, as you trace no signs of redundancy or increased fault-tolerance here. Generally, this is Just a Bunch of Disks (not obligatory of the same size) combined to consequently store data as the disks are filled one after another. This technique is also called disk spanning. Yet, the cost varies.

- RAID0 is based on data striping without redundancy. Each disk in the system is divided into separate segments – stripes. During writing, the data is cut into pieces equal to the stripe size and takes the disk stripes simultaneously: while one data part is still being written, the system starts input of the next one. In general, RAID 0 is the fastest in terms of input/output, but the least fault tolerant one. If any disk out of such a system happens to fail, all other data becomes unreadable. However, the speed is advantageous.

- RAID1 applies mirroring method. During write operation, the system creates an exact copy of the data on another drive. If one disk fails, the other one remains readable. This method has the highest level of reliability and the most expansive disk capacity, though. Disks work in pair only: the system stops working completely without all drives being in operation. RAID 1 is perfect where data backup is of vital importance.

- RAID3 is the first to use parity. In combination with data striping like RAID 0, this system has a separate dedicated disk that stores parity for other disks. Due to its byte-level writing and separate disk to calculate and write the parity on, RAID 3 has not much to boast of in terms of speed. Such a scheme ensures system security, yet at expense of slow operation. For this reason, RAID 3 is not very popular. In case of failure, data is retrieved by intact disks and parity.

- RAID4 has the same scheme as RAID 3 (i.e. striping with dedicated parity) with one distinction: while RAID 3 operates at a byte level, this one handles data at a sector level. As a result, this resolves a write issue to some extent. Nevertheless, faster and more reliable RAID 5 has replaced RAID 4. As with RAID 3 this level is recovered by remaining disks plus parity disk.

- RAID5 takes the principles of basic data striping similar to RAID 0 and redundancy of RAID 3, but is more progressive in its technology than its predecessors. Now no separate disk is dedicated to store parity information and it’s rather distributed among all data disks following special rotation schemes. This method speeded up writing, as the system doesn’t have to wait until the parity is calculated on a separate disk. If any of the drives fails, the data will be retrieved from the remaining drives and parity.

- RAID6 is a further step into higher reliability. This method implies two layers of parity distributed across all disks following special order and rotation schemes. Compared to other levels, RAID 6 allows for data recovery with two drives missing. This scheme is the most reliable one but the least cost-efficient, as plus one drive is used to store parity.

6. Keyboard shortcuts

The following keyboard shortcuts work in the tab Hexadecimal contents.

Del Remove selected closes the selected component in the data comparison, parallel search, data span tool, RAID Builder and parity calculator tools.
Backspace Previous location moves the cursor backwards on the positions that were under cursor location.
Shift+Backspace Next location moves the cursor in the forward direction on previously selected positions.
F5 Refresh updates information of the current data source, if modified
F3 Next occurence moves the cursor in forward direction on parallel search results.
Ctrl+- Unbind structure breaks off current structure template.
Ctrl+ = Bind current structure applies a structure from the list of imported structure templates at a current cursor position.
Ctrl+, Split as “sparse” file allows creating a new virtual disk using space-saving “sparse file” technology.
Ctrl+. Set end of file cuts all data after the cursor position and makes cursor position the last byte.
Ctrl+/ Split to fragments allows creating and saving several data chunks from the data source.
Ctrl+Alt+F New search allows setting parameters for parallel data values search. Possible search variants include hexadecimal values search, text values search and advanced hexadecimal search.
Ctrl+C Copy raw copies raw unformatted data.
Ctrl+D Mark current position opens a dialogue for saving user information about the position. Current position will be added to the positions list.
Ctrl+Down Move component down moves the component downwards in the components list.
Ctrl+F Search tool allows searching data with preset user-defined parameters. This includes search within text data field, search within hexadecimal data field and advanced hexadecimal data search, which gives more precise results.
Ctrl+F3 Previous occurrence moves the cursor in backward direction on parallel search results.
Ctrl+G Go to... allows changing positions by setting position location parameters.
Ctrl+H Copy hex text copies selected data from the hexadecimal pane.
Ctrl+I Toggle inspector panel hides information panel. To expand information panel, press the tool button once again.
Ctrl+K Next difference moves the cursor in the forward direction on the data difference positions detected by the software.
Ctrl+L Follow link interprets highlighted hexadecimal values in little-endian order as an address for jumping to a new position. Data values can be set in a range from DWord (2 bytes) to Qword (8 bytes).
Ctrl+M Modify data/selection switches the current data source to data editing mode. The software creates a new editing tab for data modification operations/allows changing values of the selected data range in a manner opted by the user.
Ctrl+P Copy position copies cursor position.
Ctrl+R Select range allows specifying data range for further operations including actions in viewer tab, editing tab and software tools.
Ctrl+S Save changes saves modifications made to data.
Ctrl+Shift+= Bind a structure allows applying structure templates to data at current cursor position. To load a new structure from a text file select Import in the structure templates dialogue. Data structure details are displayed in the Structure details window and in the Information panel. Please, refer to Software forum for more information on how to create a structure template file.
Ctrl+Shift+A Append a file allows adding a file to the data end and merging several files into one.
Ctrl+Shift+C Copy text copies selected data from the text pane.
Ctrl+Shift+G Follow big-endian link interprets highlighted hexadecimal values in big-endian order as an address for jumping to a new position. Data values can be set in a range from DWord (2 bytes) to Qword (8 bytes).
Ctrl+Shift+K Previous difference moves the cursor in the backward direction on the data difference positions detected by the software.
Ctrl+Shift+P All positions opens the list of all marked positions. In this dialogue, you can save the current positions list and load it in later references. To save new positions to already existing list, create a new list file. If you open several list files, they are merged into one list. Go to button will address you to the selected position.
Ctrl+Shift+R Find and replace opens a dialogue to set data search parameters and insert replace values
Ctrl+Shift+S Save as copies selected data from the hexadecimal pane.
Ctrl+Shift+T Previous position allows moving backward on positions from the list of marked positions.
Ctrl+Shift+U Copy UTF-8 copies selected text data in one-byte UTF-8 encoding.
Ctrl+Shift+V Paste as pastes clipboard contents in a manner opted by the user.
Ctrl+T Next position allows moving forward on positions from the list of marked positions.
Ctrl+U Copy Unicode copies selected text data in two-byte Unicode encoding.
Ctrl+Up Move component up moves the component upwards in the components list.
Ctrl+V Paste pastes clipboard contents to the cursor location. If the cursor is set at the last byte, the software gives an option to append the data to the file end or insert it before the last byte.
Ctrl+X Cut/Virtually cut selection deletes selected data area/ removes the selected data area from the data span.
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