Your data may not be recoverable if…

Sure, you may have spilled coffee on your laptop or watched the cat knock your PC to the ground. You may have even run over your computer, because you thought it’d be an excellent idea to set it on top of the car while you put the kids in the backseat. But typically, these instances of stupidity grant you the chance of a data recovery specialist accessing the hard drive and restoring your files. There are other accidents, however, in which you wouldn’t be so lucky. Take note.

1. Your computer melts

When your computer catches fire and melts like Frosty the Snowman in July, there is an unlikely chance you will ever see your documents, pictures or all other files again. When computers catch fire or overheat and their platters reach “Curie temperature,” 770 Degrees Celsius for iron, demagnetization takes place. Better said, your files are history.

burnt computer

2. Your hard drive falls victim to a jackhammer

Excessive vibration can destroy your hard drive. Obviously, a jackhammer mistaking your computer for cement would leave no chance of restoration, but, that’s not the only way it could cause damage. Think about how much vibration accompanies a jackhammer. All of that shaking and trembling would cause so much damage to the hard drive that nothing would stand to be recovered. To explain, when the vertical amplitude of the vibration is larger than the distance in which the read head flies, the hard drive will experience a permanent head crash, and the magnetic information will be impossible to read. The takeaway message? Don’t leave your computer susceptible to vibration.

3. You need a file months after you delete it

Remember that embarrassing picture you took of your best friend last summer? It may be the greatest piece of blackmail paraphernalia in history, but you’ll never see it again, because your friend deleted it without you knowing—seven months ago. Bummer. If data is overwritten multiple times—that is, when you delete a file and your computer constantly reads and overwrites the area on your hard drive where the information once existed—data recovery is usually impossible. Lesson learned: keep all important files and humiliating photos backed up.

4. Zeus is not on your good side

The odds of you ever retrieving your files after Zeus wreaks crazy-lightning-havoc on your computer are slim to none. Lightning bolts can contain up to one billion volts of electricity, and after contact with your hard drive, that usually means one thing: sayonara computer files. The electronics of your hard drive tell the drive how to function and where to get information, so when the fragile chips of your electronics board are permanently damaged, rebuilding the information on them becomes a struggle to no avail. Zeus: 1, you: 0.

Most often, data recovery is possible with swift action and hard work on the part of a data recovery services provider, but some instances make retrieving files absolutely impossible. Computer accidents happen—human error being the most common, so back up your information on a regular basis, keep your computer protected, and for heaven’s sake, get in Zeus’ good graces.

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