Tips For Preventing Data Loss

If you’ve spent any time on the various data recovery websites you’ve no doubt come across lots of advice on what to do once you have a data loss situation. But I’ve always felt the best advice would be to avoid such an unpleasant experience in the 1st place. So after some interesting discussions with our data recovery technicians, we have created a list of useful tips and suggestions that may keep you from losing your data in the first place.

1. Start by choosing the safest storage device you can. Here are some specific recommendations that may help…

• Don’t buy the latest and greatest hard drive. Stick with a true and tested hard drive model that has been around a while. Not only will the bad models have been discontinued, but any bugs or known issues on seasoned models, will have been addressed. Search the web to discover problems other users may be having with a specific drive model.

• Don’t use an old hard drive. If your drive is older than 5 years consider replacing it. And no matter how old your drive is, if it starts acting up in any way, whether making a strange noise once in a while or whether read errors keep popping up, get rid of it, before it fails.

• Buy the lightest hard drive you can! Huh? Preferably one with a single disk. Sounds strange you say? Less mass requires less power = less heat & less stress combined with less parts = less crashes. When a drive manufacture requires 4 disks to keep up with the competition until their latest technical innovations reach the marketplace, you know they’re likely stretching the design limitations.

• Consider using a laptop drive in your desktop. Laptop drives by design are meant to take more physical abuse and are designed to be light in weight, low in power needs and quiet in operation.

• If you’re using an SSD or Solid State Drive, ensure you always backup. SSD drives use extremely complicated and always proprietary methods of distributing the data across multiple memory chips. The point is, if your SSD becomes damaged, recovering your data may be very very very expensive… if it is even possible. I also wonder how an SSD will stand up to a power surge. If a hard drive gets a power surge the electronics get fried but the physically stored data remains intact. In an SSD, fried electronics could very well be your critical data disappearing into the cosmos.

2. Then maintain and protect your storage device or hard drive with these suggestions

• Connect your computer to a UPS or surge suppressor. This simple device can prevent electrical surge damage to your drive as well as preventing damage to any open files or the file system itself should your power source be interrupted.

• Ensure your system has adequate ventilation. One of the most common causes of drive failure is overheating, so make sure your computer’s fans work or even consider adding an additional one.

• Use an antivirus program and keep updated with the latest virus definitions.

• Be gentle! A hard drive is a delicate device. Be sure it has a chance to stop spinning before attempting to move your desktop or laptop computer. And be extremely careful not to knock over any external hard drives you may have attached. Every week we see damaged external drives where the external case was merely tipped over while it was running.

3. And finally protect your data just in case bad things happen!

• Backup the important stuff! Yeah, yeah… we all know this and yet few of us do it, me included. If it’s important to you, prove it and back it up.

• Defrag often! If the data is contiguous (all stored sequentially together) there are ways to rip off data files even if the drive’s file system or “index of file locations” is totally missing. Be sure to use you computers defragmentation utility on a regular basis.

• Don’t encrypt your data, unless absolutely necessary. Even if you never forget the password, a failing hard drive combined with encryption means the odds of getting your data back are slim. If you must use encryption, use it only on individual files that must be guarded at no cost.

While very few of us can be 100% diligent in safeguarding our data at all times, hopefully a few of these tips will lower the chances of you losing data. But if all else fails and you find yourself in a data loss predicament, please give call a professional.


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