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The Devastation Of Data Loss - And What You Can Do About It
by: Nick Carter
Almost everyone who uses a PC stores valuable data on the hard drive or other data storage device. Whether you use your PC for keeping personal accounts, contact details or important information or whether you are a business user and keep vital business information, contact details and company data on your PC the risk of data loss is a big risk and could prove very costly in the long run.

With true data loss, your only hope of recovery is a data backup, and without one there is no way back. If you have company data on your home PC, data that is vital to the operation of a company or the effective servicing of a customer data loss will inevitably lose you or your company money. It looks unprofessional, if you donít have a backup and inevitably leads to the loss of not only money but clients as well. It can even land you in court facing a lawsuit.

What is data loss?

Data loss is the loss of data stored on your hard drive or other data storage device. It can occur because one or more of many different reasons and can be recoverable or, in the worst-case scenario, completely unrecoverable. It is a very real problem that we must try to combat in order to successfully run our business or maintain our home computers.

The most usual reasons for data loss are down to poor use and manufacturing defaults. While the latter may not be your own fault, there is little solace to be found in that when you lose the last 12 months of work from your hard drive.

Poor use or misuse of the hard drive.

Many modern hard drives are not only versatile but durable as well, however, this doesnít completely alleviate the danger of data loss. Spilt liquids, vibration or collision can result in damage of the hard drive itself or even in one of the components of the hard drive. This will inevitably lead to some loss of data

Manufacturing defects of your hard drive.

Even the most careful of user may find they have problems with their hard drive, or any part of their PC for that matter. Sometimes we simply canít avoid it. Statistically, 1 or 2 bad hard drives are found in hundreds of rigorously tested devices shipped by manufacturers. Defects in any part of your PC can manifest themselves immediately or they may only come to the fore after months and months of heavy usage. Either way, it is quite often possible to recover part or even all of the lost data.

What can be done?

In the first place, the above examples should emphasise the obvious fact that loss of data is a problem that can happen to anyone, no matter how knowledgeable or how careful you are. It is important that you do what you can to prevent fatal loss. Keeping backups of any important, irreplaceable data is something we should all do, but are quite often found not doing. Not having a backup copy of your data could be the biggest mistake you make.

However, even if you donít have a backup and something happens to your storage device it may not be a complete loss. There are specialists who deal solely with the recovery of lost data and they can sometimes truly work miracles.

Use anti-virus software regularly and keep it updated as often as possible. Many viruses attack the hard drive and can be spread very quickly. Without a decent firewall and anti virus system in place this will invariably lead to a loss of data integrity.

Keep your storage devices as clean as possible. Also, be sure to avoid contact with the electric components with your bare hands. Keeping your storage devices cool will reduce the risk of magnetic burnout and may save you from a total loss of data.

Virtually all of us store important data on our hard drives, with the possible exception of people who use their PC only for playing games; even gamers would consider losing weeks of saved games as being something of a disaster. Even the most knowledgeable and careful of us will probably face data loss of some sort in our lives, and while it may not be our fault that a device becomes corrupt of was faulty when leaving the manufacturers, it is our fault if we havenít stored the data elsewhere as a backup copy. Remember, accidents do happen, so we should always prepare for the worst.

© 2005 Nick Carter

About the author:
Nick Carter is webmaster for, an online portal for data recovery resources.

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