Personal data is irreplaceable

Preventative backup?

On a hard drive failure you can always reinstall your operating system and software, but not your personal data. 

I get asked this question repeatedly: What is the best way to backup my data so I don’t lose it?

This is an excellent question that has no one specific answer. Why?

Hardware will fail eventually. By accident; unpurpose (yea old cat is bored and takes a swipe at it) and possibly gremlins. The external hard drive is sitting on the shelf collecting dust. Go to use it and no go.

The Cloud? Anyone have an Apple product? Store your data on the cloud? Update your device then go to download from the cloud and nothing is there? Apple cannot help? Nothing against Apple. This is just an example.

Forgot your password to whatever cloud platform you’re using?

Ok I am sure everyone sees where I am going. So what can we do to prevent losing our data? Well backup twice if you feel your data is crucial. Losing a small portion of your personal data is better than losing it all. It really comes down to due diligence. You have to have discipline yourself on doing/checking your backups on a regular basis.

Auotmated backups? This form of “set it and forget it” backup tends to get hit by those gremlins. Personally I believe the gremlins are power outages; power spikes; brownouts. And the one thing you can be gauranteed of is bad sectors on your media as a result. Soft or hard booting your system when frozen can also lead to these bad sectors, but what can you do? Not much really. Sure a UPS will work, but then you have be diligent with monitoring the UPS for issues. At least now some UPS systems will provide some form of warning.

Should you choose USB flash drives use two. Save twice. Students take note! Keep each device in different pockets of your knapsack and if you use external hard drives PLEASE do not leave the cable plugged in. datapros sees a high number of damaged external hard drives due to bending of the plugged in cable within the knapsack. Limited time and high stress. Been there when I got my degree, but to prevent a nervous breakdown 1) Eject the device through your OS 2) Unplug the cable from the external hard drive.

Did I answer the question? Yes and no. Backup takes little work. It’s the self discipline that takes a great deal of work. Look at self discipline as a form of ensuring that you are checking your backed up data and remebering your password from repetitive use. Double backup. That’s my best advice.

If all else fails there is data recovery. It’s not inexpensive, but it is an option.

Until next time on Data Buzz

Why is my hard drive not booting?

Hardware doesn’t last forever. A malfunction or complete failure occurs no matter how diligent one is at looking after one’s computer or server.

Physical Hard Drive Failure:

The power delivery system
Should this fail during a booting or shutdown sequence or while your system is in use, can lead to file corruption. This is a good example of a physical and a logical failure. Also, this causes bad sectors on the hard drive.
The circuit board
The system cannot read any data thus your system will not boot.

The motor
No motor working means no spinning platters thus your system cannot boot.
Bad bearings
Yikes!!! If you hear odd noises from the hard drive shut your system down and get your data transferred and the hard drive replaced.

The drive heads
They move above the platters converting magnetic field into electric current which is the read process. The reverse is for write. If a head touches a platter it can mean catastrophicfailure.

Logical Hard Drive Failure:

A simple invalid entry in a file allocation table
While the drive itself is good the files do not load up right or the meta-data describing where the files are stored is not consistent.

Loss of the file system on a severely fragmented drive
So think of the hard drive as a book with a missing page or pages. For a hard drive this could mean it is missing crucial data required to boot successfully.

Data on the drive is corrupt
Power outages or other power related problems can corrupt the data by creating bad sectors. Improper shutdowns, hardware problems such as bad memory, bad sectors and even hard drive failures contribute.

Until next time on Data Buzz.

Crash!!! – Not backing up can result in data loss at the worst time

Yup. I said it. The dreaded hard drive crash. Been there done that.

Everyone backs up their data. False!!!

Let’s face it. There is never enough time in a day and unless you have hired someone to manage the data backup of your company or personal systems it’s not going to happen on a regular basis.

As time goes by it becomes easier and easier to put it off one more day, week, month…..

Who knows if and when your hard drive will crash? Sometimes there are signs and sometimes not. I wish this on no one, but we’re so busy with life that something has to be pushed to the back burner.

For some the loss of data is no big deal, but for others it can mean a loss of family photos, personal records, business records and so on.

Should your system crash and no longer boot up there are options.
– Format and install the operating system. There is the chance of losing some files.
– Replace the hard drive and install the operating system
– Call a friend

For those who must get their data back I recommend data recovery services. We use specialized hardware designed specifically for data recovery. There are software packages. Some work, some don’t, but this is another blog buzz for later.

I know the costs for data recovery can seem expensive, but you have to look at the value of the services. Retrieving priceless photos, personal or business records will make the costs seem negligible. Can you imagine losing one day of business records? So what happens come tax time? You see where I’m going. Look at the bigger picture.

Untill next time from Data Buzz

What Is “Logical” Data Recovery?

Logical data recovery is the repairing of “logical damage” on the storage media. This simply means the error is not a problem in the hardware and requires software-level solutions.

This explanation sounds so simple, but exercise caution if you are not computer literate or comfortable with attempting this on your own. Remember the old cliche “Go with your gut instincts?”

Logical damage can be caused by: