What can I do to protect my data and minimize my chances of losing data?

The adage in the industry is not "if my drive fails", but rather, "when my drive fails". While your hard drive has many electronic components, it also has moving parts. Over time, these mechanical components can fail as the result of use.

Diligent maintenance such as anti-virus scanning, sensible backup procedures, off-site storage of mission critical data, together with knowledge of your limitations, should prevent you from becoming one of the many casualties of data loss.

Avoid Heat & Vibration

All drive components, both electronic and mechanical, are sensitive to heat and vibration. Keep your computer in a dry, controlled environment that is clean and dust-free. Set up your computer in an area with very little traffic to ensure that it does not get bumped. Heat and/or vibration are two of the leading causes of hard drive failure.

Back Up Your Data

The surest way to avoid data loss, even if your hard drive fails is the back up your data. If you don't have a network attached drive at your fingertips back up your most important files to an external drive at least once a week (See External Drives below).

To avoid premature drive failure:

Run Scandisk

Scandisk examines your hard disk for logical inconsistencies and damaged surfaces. Run it every two or three weeks just to be safe. It is very important to save any changes to a floppy until you are sure that the changes that you are about to make will not adversely affect your hard drive.

Run Defrag Frequently

Files most likely, will not be stored in adjacent clusters. Defrag rearranges the data on your hard disk so that each file is stored in a set of contiguous clusters. This is very important for data recovery, since success is more likely when the damaged file's clusters are adjacent to each other.

Anti-virus Software

Use anti-virus software and update it at least four times per year.

Use An Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS)

In the event of a surge of electricity, black out, brown out or lightning strike, a UPS can protect your system from electrical damage. A UPS is also a back up power source that keeps your computer running for a short period of time, giving you the opportunity to properly save your work and shut down, avoiding a potential data loss.

Be Cautious Using Recovery Utilities

Use diagnostic and repair utilities with caution. Verify that your utility software is compatible with your operating software. Never use file recovery software if you suspect an electrical or mechanical drive failure. Always, always make an undo disk when you allow a utility make changes to your hard drive.

External Drives

DRG strongly recommends purchasing an external drive to use for a backup of your systems data. There is no preference from one external drive to another although we do recommend to purchase a external drive (enclosure) that has a fan built in. External drive (enclosures) with a fan are not common and can sometimes be tough to find but if you shop around they are available. Fans can assist the drive in maintaning a proper temparture and have been known to prevent common mechanical issues that occur from expansion and contraction of internal hard drive components. Schedule a backup of any important personal files and pictures on a regular basis. Most operating systems already come with a backup routine built in, also most external drives that you purchase typically also come with a software backup utility.

If you suffer a data loss, please contact Data Recovery Group immediately. The most important thing is to not attempt any repairs yourself. Trust your data to Data Recovery Group engineers who have the experience, expertise and tools to recover you data without damaging your system.