Data Recovery: Dealing With Loss (And Hard Drive Failure)

My computer and I were getting along just fine: I could run all sorts of applications simultaneously and quickly, I could play all of my games on maximum graphics settings, and I had seemingly unlimited access to photos, videos, and any other data I wanted.

All of that changed one day. I turned on my computer in the morning, only to be greeted by errors, strange noises, and no data. The operating system wouldn’t even boot up, and from the sound of things it seemed like I had a failed hard drive.

“No problem,” I thought. “I’ll just recover my files using this handy external hard drive backup.” I plugged the external drive into another computer to prepare for the data recovery process, only to discover a terrible truth: My backed up data was over 6 MONTHS OLD.

I panicked as I realized that all of my data was either lost or obsolete. In despair, I wondered: how could this have happened?

Hard Drive Diagnostic and File Recovery

As one of the only moving parts in a computer, a hard disk drive is especially prone to mechanical failure. The platters (sensitive magnetic discs where data is stored) spin at 7200RPM, while the actuator head (analogous to the needle on a record player) continuously moves back and forth, reading and writing data. These components are sealed in a metal shell, impervious to data-destroying dust and other contaminants.

Although a hard drive diagnostic may show warning signs of a failing drive, even the highest-quality and best-maintained hard drives can die at any time. Critical data can become corrupted, making it difficult to retrieve usable data from the drive. Even worse, the motors controlling the spindle or actuator can fail: in this case, file recovery requires that the drive be disassembled in a clean room, which is a very expensive procedure.

How I Recover My Files: With a Recovery Disk

Fortunately, I was able to recover my files and my operating system because I had a recovery disk: a special disc that allows you to re-install your operating system in case of an emergency.

The best way to guard against hard drive failure and data loss is to backup, backup, backup! Seriously, back up your data. Regularly backing up your data ensures that you will have an up-to-date copy of your information when a hard drive crash occurs. Invest in an external hard drive, and use it to keep backup copies of your data.

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand the importance of performing regular backups until their primary hard drive crashes. If a victim of hard drive failure has a backup, then data recovery is a simple process of copying the backed-up data to the newly-installed hard drive. However, without a proper recovery disk, not only will some or all data be lost, but an expensive operating system re-installation could be required.

Invest a little time and money now in a backup solution, or pay big time later on when your computer’s hard drive crashes!

For help with data recovery or installing a backup drive, please contact me.

Author: Kevin S.

Kevin Sanders is a Los Angeles native who has worked in tech support and customer service since 2000. He specializes in professional IT consulting, cloud technology, cyber security, networking and Wi-Fi, hardware/software diagnostics and repair, and custom systems building.