Types of Data Loss

Data LossData Recovery companies exist for a rather simple reason. People have stored and continue to store incredibly valuable information and data on electronic storage devices and find out they have no way to retrieve that information. The reasons for that can vary wildly, some are quite obvious and some happen unexpectedly and require a data recovery professional to diagnose the issue. Many people understand that losing your data can happen, but fail to understand the different ways in which they can lose their valuable information and how data loss can happen at any time.

Physical Damage

The fairly obvious way in which files are lost is through physical damage to the storage media. Storage media like CD-ROMs are extremely sensitive, and even touching them will leave a fingerprint or dust particles. The same thing happens with hard disk drives, which act as the storage devices for many laptops, computers and servers. A typical example of physical damage may involve a flood or fire, which does physical damage to the platters of a hard drive and requires the help of a data recovery professional to recover valuable information from the damaged hard drive.  may require the help of data recovery services before they can begin to function again. A recovery expert will be able to assess your hard drive and determine what parts of it are damaged and what may need to be replaced for the drive to begin working again. Quite often they will take a hard drive of the same model and replace parts using that hard drive.

Operating System Failure

When your computer completely crashes, and you don’t have the ability to access any data stored on your computer, you will often need the help of a professional to help you get your data back. Luckily with an operating system failure, nothing is wrong with the hard drive itself and your chances of fully recovering the data on your computer are quite high. All that needs to be done is to copy all data stored on a hard drive to a new one. Easier said than done however, and if you are not well versed with hard drives it is a process that is best left to a data recovery specialist.


In today’s world where computer viruses are extremely advanced and damaging to your computer, it is absolutely necessary to have a well performing anti-virus program installed on your computer. Some viruses can quickly spread across your computer and to any networks your computer is connected to, making any files they impact irretrievable by you or even a trained professional. Be sure to be careful when downloading files and applications online, and don’t open any files emailed to you from an untrusted source. See Ransomeware for a more indepth discussion on new virusus.

Logical Damage

The unpredictable yet inevitable way that data is lost from a hard drive is through logical damage. As the saying goes, all hard drives will fail – the question is when. Like a motor engine, all operating parts of a hard drive will wear down over time, which will eventually cause the hard drive to crash. Hard drives have become more reliable over the years, but hard drives still unexpectedly crash, which can cause huge amounts of data loss if data on the hard drive is not backed up.

Overwritten Data/Accidental Deletion

One of the most common ways in which data is lost is when it is manually overwritten or accidentally deleted by a person. This happens often when someone assumes that their data is already saved in another location, or if they accidentally save a file to a different location. While data that is overwritten is often an accident, it is often intentionally done. Data may be intentionally erased in an attempt to cover up the tracks of illegal activities, and forensic specialists may be hired to perform data recovery for encrypted or hidden data. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult and often impossible to recover data that has been overwritten. Data is stored differently on Solid State Drives (SSD’s) than on Hard Disk Drives, which makes it easier to recover overwritten data from a SSD than a hard drive.

Most importantly, you can avoid data loss by frequently backing your valuable files on an external hard drive or through a cloud based service. If you back up your data on an external hard drive, be sure to store it in a safe and secure location away from your computer, and be sure that the external hard drive is fully functioning and that the files stored on it are complete copies of the originals.

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