Hard Drive Failure: How Prepared Are You For it?

Let’s talk about hard drive failure. It’s a topic we all want to avoid, right? Well, who really wants to talk about hard drive failure?

We all want to avoid the topic but when it happens to us, we think the world is going to end. Okay, that obviously is an exaggeration but you know what I mean. As much as no one wants to talk about a hard drive failure, no one want to deal with it as well.

The reality is that we all have to talk about it so that we can deal with it when it happens. So, let’s talk about it and see what computer experts, like Bob Levitus, have to say about it as well.

According to him;

You are going to lose everything on your Mac hard (or solid state) drive if you don’t back up your files.

Now that World Backup Day (March 31) has come and gone, I feel it is prudent to reiterate the bad things that will happen to your precious data—your photos, videos, essays, proposals, emails, messages, and everything else—if you don’t backup.

(Via: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Your-hard-drive-will-fail-be-prepared-13732648.php)

We might not want to admit but Bob is right. We can all lose everything on our hard drive if it fails. Bob states the simple reason why that day is bound to come.

Your hard or solid-state drive will absolutely and positively fail someday. It probably won’t be today, but the day will definitely come because all disks fail eventually.

(Via: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Your-hard-drive-will-fail-be-prepared-13732648.php)

While it’s hard to tell when that day will come, it will definitely come.

It’s rare that a hard or solid-state drive fails in its first year or two of service (though that’s not unheard of). It’s also rare that something (anything) you do to or install upon your Mac will render its disks unusable. But, while those things are rare, too, they can happen.

(Via: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Your-hard-drive-will-fail-be-prepared-13732648.php)

There’s really no denying that hard drives fail. With computer experts like Bob, weighing in on it, there’s just no way we should ever avoid the topic. If we do, we’re never going to be fully prepared to deal with it.

Probably the reason why most folks don’t like to talk about hard drive failures is because of its association with data loss. When hard drive failures happen, data is endangered. Chances are, they can’t be accessed.

That’s why Bob has some great tips for us in case our hard drive fails.

The only way to avoid the pain of losing your treasured data is to back up your disk (or disks). Here are my top two tips for doing it right:

1. One backup is never enough. You want at least two full backups, with one stored in an offsite location.

2. Test your backups regularly to ensure that you can restore files. If you can’t, the backup is worthless.

(Via: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Your-hard-drive-will-fail-be-prepared-13732648.php)

Bob is right. One backup is never enough. We can back up to the cloud or to another external hard drive. Sure, we can do both. However, backing up to another external hard drive means that we are, again, faced with the possibility of failure in the future.

As long as we use external hard drives to back up, we will always be facing the possibility of losing our files in the future. Hard drive failure will happen.

This is not to say that we shouldn’t use hard drives to back up our files. Hard drives are, no doubt, the best data storage. However, we should always consider the fact that they will fail us.

Once we realize the reality of a hard drive failure, we can resort to using a reliable service that can help us deal with it. The point is, we should all be open to the fact that our hard drive can fail us. So that when it finally happens, we’re all be prepared for it.

Take the first step to prepare for a hard drive failure. Learn more about it here on https://www.harddrivefailurerecovery.net/hard-drive-failure/. Remember, you’ll never know when it’s going to happen. So, be prepared.

The following blog article Hard Drive Failure: How Prepared Are You For it? was initially published to The Hard Drive Recovery Associates Blog

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Hard Drive Failure: Your Action Plan

When you have a hard drive failure, it’s almost never something you can plan for. Hard drives fail more frequently as they age, and there are not a lot of things you can do except stay calm, maintain your composure, and most importantly refrain from resorting to violence—especially against your computer. So, as an example, if you hit your laptop with a crowbar, data recovery may not be cheap, if even possible. The irony of a failing hard drive is that it is the most frustrating event in human history that necessitates the greatest amount of calm and patience. In order to turn a catastrophic event into an inconvenient one, maintain your composure and follow these four simple steps:

1. Turn Off, Power Down, Unplug!

When your hard drive begins to fail, turn off your system immediately. What is the best way to tell if your hard drive is failing? There are several indicators, including clicking that is louder than usual, a non-responsive or frozen screen, files that become inaccessible or disappear completely, and even the dreaded blue screen of death. A failing hard drive is not going to fix itself, no matter how hard you may pray. A hard reboot will not bring the dead drive back to life and may even do more harm than good. Depending on if you actually have a physical or mechanical failure, even attempting a quick backup can result in data loss. It is best to unplug the system that your failing hard drive is in, or if it’s an external drive, also ensure it is not connected to a system.

2. List Your Important Data Items!

Do you know what’s on your hard drive that’s about to fail? Are there any files or photos that must be saved, as in it’s a matter of life and death? Have you made a recent backup of your hard drive? Is it possible to replace the very important files you are looking for? These are all trick questions, because if you can’t answer them with 100 percent certainty, then you shouldn’t even be asking them; and when it comes to data, there’s almost always something that you don’t think of at the time and miss. It’s possible that 98 percent of your drive’s lost data isn’t a big deal, but we frequently find that people forget about the 2 percent that they literally cannot live without.

Your personal hard drive inventory should be able to tell you how quickly you will need your targeted data back. What time frame do you require it to be delivered? Have you backed it up anywhere that you can think of? Do you need to start the process of retrieving data from the backup immediately? If you haven’t made a backup of your data, you will almost always find that you require the data sooner than you anticipated. It’s important that the majority of the important data inventory questions are time-related, because we rarely come across a hard drive that doesn’t contain at least some irreplaceable information. Even the most technophobic of users has something critical on their hard drive that is huge. Our experience has shown that recovering data is rarely, if ever, a regrettable decision.

3. Have faith in Hard Drive Recovery Associates

Everyone knows someone who is a computer genius. He or she MUST know how to recover your data, and because they are your friend, they will do so at no charge to you. Whatta deal! I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

Well. The answer when it comes to do-it-yourself data recovery is A LOT. A LOT can go wrong, and usually does when an amateur attempts to recover data from failed hard drive units. And sadly, that’s the end of your must-have data. If data recovery were that simple, everyone would be doing it! Your friend not only does not have a Certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom, and he or she is also unlikely to be aware of the fact that mechanical hard drive failures usually require one.. Data recovery company Hard Drive Recovery Associates has been in the business for more than 20 years. This is what we do.

Data recovery is similar to heart surgery in that it necessitates the use of specialized training, equipment, and experience. However, even if you are confident in your friend’s ability to perform heart surgery on you, you should not put your trust in them to recover your data. You can rely on us. We are well-versed in the field of data recovery. We don’t scrimp on quality. We have the necessary equipment, including a Certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom, as well as the necessary experience to handle your secure data recovery needs successfully. We also do it as quickly as possible so that you can get back to work.

4. Get back to business and win!

Data is the lifeblood of our economy, and it is also the lifeblood of your business. We understand how important your data is to the success of your business. When you are unable to access your most critical data, your company is forced to close its doors.

With your data restored, you can return to your previous tasks and responsibilities. Please remember to keep us on speed dial. Speak with one of our engineers and keep our website bookmarked to stay up to date on the latest data protection techniques. You’ll be happy you did!

 

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Electronic Device And Phone Water Damage

Have you ever accidentally spilled water or even worse, coffee, on your laptop computer? Have you ever dropped your phone in the tub or the toilet? Or perhaps you were simply caught in a torrential downpour without an umbrella and with your phone exposed? Water and other liquids are one of the most common causes of electronic device failure, primarily because electronics and liquid do not go together. Even if you exercise extreme caution, accidents that result in water damage to your device can occur to anyone at any time.

Electronically damaged devices that have been exposed to water can often, but not always, be repaired depending on the type and degree of damage. However, even if your phone is beyond repair, if you take the necessary precautions to prevent further damage, your data may be recoverable through the use of a professional data recovery service like Hard Drive Recovery Associates.

One of the bonuses of Android phones is that much of the data will be backed up automatically to either Google Drive, or with photos, Google Photos. So if you drop your phone in the ocean, as an example, it’s always great to login to some of those Google properties simply to assess what you have, and what you may be missing.

Can Water Damage Hard Drives? Yes!

One of our recent clients, Terry from Wyoming, dropped his phone while fly fishing in his home state. He had unfortunately disabled all Google backups, and was faced with a choice – lose ten years of messages and important family photos, or talk to a professional. Terry tried putting his phone in rice, as many other users have done with water-damaged phones… only to discover that the rice trick happened in this case to be ineffective. (This technique is ALWAYS worth a try, however)

Once Terry tried and failed to have the phone restored at a local computer shop, he got on the phone with us at Hard Drive Recovery Associates. Although Terry was handy when it came to some mechanical devices, he resisted the urge to open his phone, and the data recovery process ended up being smooth, quick, and quite affordable.

This is the outcome we hope for with every client, but a lot depends on what you do with your device after it has been water logged or otherwise damaged. Following these four steps is the most effective way to get a positive outcome for your water-damaged device.

1. Always make a copy of your data.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of regularly backing up your data. What is also critical to mention is that it rarely is difficult to set up. Android phones alone take less than five minutes to ensure a complete backup is done, and done consistently. If Terry had just enabled the automatic backup features, he would have easily avoided the stress and anxiety that would have resulted from the possibility of losing his precious photos and videos.

Once you set up your computer or phone so that your data is backed up on a regular and automatic basis, you’ll want to keep a total of three copies of your data, two of which will be stored locally and one of which will be stored offsite. Keep one of the local copies on the originating device and the other on an external hard drive for each of the two local copies. For offsite, use something like Carbonite, or even cheaper, Google Drive.

The frequency with which you back up your data is determined by the amount and type of data you generate. Construct a routine, regardless of whether you need your backups to run automatically every day or whether you need to perform manual backups once per week. Backups can be restored quickly and seamlessly whenever you like.

2. Power Down Your Device Immediately!

If your device does become water damaged, shut it down as soon as possible to avoid further problems, including electrical shorting. You don’t want to take the chance that electricity will be flowing through the device when there is water in the mix. Remove any attached hardware, as well as any device batteries if at all possible. At this point, the only thing you can do for your device is try to minimize the damage and keep it from damaging itself.

A word of caution: if your device continues to function after being subjected to water damage, TURN IT OFF ANYWAY. Once again, leaving your device turned on can make things much worse.

3. Attempt To Remove Surface Moisture

Make every effort to remove all of the surface moisture, but avoid attempting to dry the inside of your device. Use a lint-free towel to wipe away any liquid that has accumulated on the outside of the device container. Place a clean, dry towel on a table or desk in a warm, well-ventilated room and wait for it to dry. For laptops, open the lid as far as possible and place the computer on top of the towel to protect it from damage. Consider standing the laptop upside down with both the top and bottom edges touching the ground, forming a triangle. Allow for any excess moisture to drain from the device over the course of the night.

The temptation to use a hairdryer or other heating device to accelerate the drying process should be avoided at all costs. High temperatures can cause irreversible damage to your device and prevent your data from being recovered. When it comes to drying out a water-damaged device, time is your best friend.

4. Professionals Know Data Recovery

If you have a backup of your data, consulting with a professional to determine whether or not the device can be repaired is acceptable. Repair shops, on the other hand, are not equipped to deal with the time-consuming and delicate work of data recovery. If you attempt to repair your device, you run the risk of causing further damage and losing some or all of your data.

This is why Hard Drive Recovery Associates exists. Our recoveries are carried out in an ISO Class 5 Cleanroom that is certified to be free of dust and static electricity. The fact that we have a data recovery operating room increases the likelihood of a successful data recovery.

Do you require assistance in recovering data from a water-damaged device? Contact us on the number above!

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How The Cloud Can Help You With Hard Drive Failure

If you’re unfamiliar with what the ubiquitous “Cloud” is, it’s really important to know. All data available on the Internet, regardless of its nature, is stored on large computers known as servers, which are located all over the world. In terms of security, these servers are among the safest in the world, and they make up a large enough infrastructure when pieced together that they call this network “the Cloud”. You might think that the military or the government would have the most secure servers, but that isn’t the case at all — not even close.

router connected to the cloudDuring the recent period in which nearly every aspect of computing was being stored on off-site servers and made available to authorized users on virtually any device anywhere in the world, the term “cloud” was coined. Desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones are all capable of accessing the same data and applications in the cloud because of the Internet. Each device that is connected to the cloud acts as a terminal that connects to a variety of servers that are housed within the cloud. It’s the kind of thing that can help anyone feel safer if they have experienced corrupted hard drive symptoms before.

The Unhackable Cloud

Hacking the cloud is a quite a bit more difficult than hacking a PC or even a mainframe, for obvious reasons. It is not only possible that all of the data is encrypted in certain parts of the cloud, but it is also possible that it is spread across multiple servers in multiple cities on RAID arrays. However, just as with any data stream, there is a front door through which you can enter. You can gain access to all of your data in the app or storage part of the cloud if you have the correct user name and password. The majority of the time, anyone looking to hack a cloud is looking for the key to your front door. They may not attempt to compromise the cloud itself, but rather the device you use to access your portion of it. And, of course, you should never underestimate a hacker’s ability to discover all of the back doors in your system.

Security Protocols Rule The Day

Typically, social engineering, or attempts to “con” technical support people into revealing information such as passwords and account numbers has been caught on to, and some time ago, actually. A hacker simply cannot do this anymore without access to a wide array of personal information already, and organizations that run cloud applications are always very cognizant of schemes and scams that take place on a daily basis. So what does this mean? Well, despite the few random anecdotal stories to the contrary, the cloud is pretty safe. We have been using this thing for ten years plus at this point, and a lot of the kinks have been worked out.

The Cloud Kills Data Loss, Dead

So, feel free to use the cloud to back up your hard drives. It’s an excellent idea, and some applications, particularly things like Google Drive, or other miscellaneous backup services, have apps that make backing critical data extremely easy. Like, “push a button and walk away”-easy. What’s more, many have schedulers as well that ensure that even when you forget to back up your drive, it does it for you.

In 2022, your company should have a protocol in place for using cloud computing resources for things like critical data backups. External hard drives and local servers are fine, but as with anything data, redundancy is the grail. The more redundant you are with backups, the less chance you will have to rely on a backup that has failed.

Without a doubt, the cloud is a fantastic tool. And, as it’s been in action for a while and isn’t going away anytime soon, you should use it to avoid hard drive failure. Just do it!

How The Cloud Can Help You With Hard Drive Failure is republished from HDRA

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Keeping Your Hard Drive Safe

Faster processors, retina displays, portability, and battery life have all become popular buzz words for what’s new in computers. However, nothing matters unless you have the ability to store and retrieve information, which in most cases is via an HDD or an SSD.

Computer hard drives in the 1980s and 1990s were stunningly rough pieces of machinery. They failed early, and sometimes often, which ensured that it was a real heyday for data recovery companies like Hard Drive Recovery Associates.

Since then, hard drives have come a long way in terms of performance and construction. However, if your HDD is not given proper care and maintenance, it will continue to crash, causing both newcomers to the computer age and seasoned veterans to scream in horror when they realize they have lost access to their critical data. In an effort to permanently eliminate that panic that comes with a physically failed hard drive, here are some suggestions for maintaining the health of your hard drive and data.

Be Careful With Your Hard Drives

When it comes to hard drives, complacency or a false sense of security is usually a most formidable adversary for most folks. If you are serious about protecting your data, you must take good care of your hard drive. If your data isn’t that important to you, the fact that you experience a hard drive failure won’t make much of a difference. Most hard drives these days cost less than a hundred dollars to replace, and after that you will be back in business. However, if you are like the majority of people, your computer’s hard drives serve as digital archives of your life, your business, and everything else that is important to you in your digital world. So back the thing up now and again, and you’ll save yourself big problems.

Be Smart With Your Hard Drive

The first step in taking good care of your hard drive is to become familiar with the rules. There are some fundamental concepts you should probably understand about any hard drive. They are as follows:

Maintain the temperature of your hard drive: Heat is the nemesis of anything electronic.

  • Keep safe by doing the following: These programs, along with disk utility and virus protection software, are critical to the long-term health of your data and hard drives. Consult with your computer professional to determine the most effective programs and protection regimens for your computer and hard disks.
  • Ensure that your computer is kept in a well-ventilated area; don’t try to squeeze it into a slot in your rolltop desk or hide your tower somewhere beneath your desk. Your computer requires fresh, cool air to function properly, and heat can destroy drives
  • Maintain a clean environment: Dust and dirt are extremely detrimental to your hard drive and, in fact, your entire computer system, whether it’s portable or a desktop. Dirt and dust can wreak havoc on your hard drive and cause a buildup of static electricity to accumulate on your computer. Additionally, keeep your hard drive and computer free of any magnetic contamination, while we’re on the subject of electrical safety.
  • Maintain the stability of the system: Moving, bumping, or dropping a hard drive is not a good thing for the drive, especially while it is in operation. Solid-state drives are advantageous in this situation. However, a general rule of thumb is to keep all hard drives on a level surface and to treat them as if they were a carton of eggs – don’t get aggressive!
  • Maintain A Library of Key Software: Important software you should have access to at all times include virus and malware protection programs, disk utility programs, and monitoring programs that keep a constant eye on your hard drive and computer systems. A computer monitoring program will keep track of the temperature of your computer as well as the overall health of your hard drive, among other things.

Accept That Hard Disk Drives Are Mechanical, And Do Fail

Whatever operating system you are using, hard drives are similar to automobiles in that they wear out and and break down over time. Backing up your data will become less of a chore once you accept this fact of life. The software on some computers can be programmed to automatically backup data to an external hard drive or to the cloud. Even with these precautions, a hard drive failure at an inconvenient time can result in the loss of some of your most important data. If this happens, you should probably contact Hard Drive Recovery Associates.

Keeping Your Hard Drive Safe was originally published on HDRA

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Frequently Ignored Hard Drive Failure Signs

While regularly backing up data is the most effective method of preventing permanent data loss of almost any kind, computer users should be aware of the basic signs of data loss. By shutting down a hard drive or other storage device as soon as possible when real hard disk problems are detected, you can significantly improve your chances of a successful data recovery while also shortening the turnaround time for your case. Hard drive failure can be a nightmare if not detected immediately.

Most data loss symptoms are extremely subtle, and computer users frequently overlook potentially dangerous signs of data loss because they lack the kind of obviousness that would normally alert someone to a mechanical drive issue. Listed below are some of the most common early signs of hardware failure:

Noises that are out of the ordinary – When a hard drive makes loud clicking or whirring sound, the majority of computer users realize that there are some hard drive issues at hand. Some disk noises, on the other hand, are surprisingly subtle.

When your computer first boots, pay close attention to what it is saying. If the drive sounds like it is “resetting,” it is possible that the read/write heads are malfunctioning or are misaligned. Because the frequency of the clicking and the overall performance of the computer are both important factors, almost any clicking sounds can be dangerous for your drive. Make sure to pay attention to your computer’s sounds, paying particular attention to any noises that the machine makes when performing time-consuming tasks.

Dramatically Longer File Access Times – File access speeds can be significantly slowed for a variety of reasons, but any significant slowdown could indicate corruption or read/write issues with the hard drive.

As soon as you notice that your computer is taking a long time to open certain files, make a backup of any critical data that you may have missed in a previous backup. In fact, try to backup anything that is critical and has been worked on recently – that data has the tendency (often by Murphy’s law) to disappear first in a hard drive crash. Prior to making a backup of your files, do not run any disk utilities such as ScanDisk or ChkDsk, despite the fact that you might assume it is a good idea. If there is a non-logical (hardware-based) hard disk problem, the use of these utilities may make the situation worse.

Startup or Boot Errors – You may be experiencing problems with your master boot record (MBR) or other logical issues if your computer does not start consistently, or frequently shows errors during the boot cycle. These issues may eventually prevent you from being able to access your data in the normal manner. Your computer may even be experiencing electrical problems, which can cause your hard drive and other components of your PC to become inoperable, especially in the case of shorting.

Any errors that occur during the startup process should almost always be taken seriously. Make a note of any error messages and write down any error codes that appear. Again, do not use the affected computer to research the errors. Instead, use your phone or a different system. If you are in need of data recovery, this specific error information can be extremely beneficial.

If your computer is unable to boot properly, you may be able to connect the hard drive to another computer and copy your data from that machine. There are a wide variety of hard drive docking systems that will enable this. However, you should not attempt this if you are not familiar with removing computer components or if you notice unusual noises, smells, or other signs of physical or electronic failure while removing computer components. Basically, if you’re a really non-technical person, this is not a good time for a crash course in data recovery!

Blue Screen, Program Hanging And Freezes –  Desktop and laptop computers can fail without warning, and while some overall system crashes are caused by hardware configuration issues and software conflicts, others are caused by problems with the hard drive.

All hangs and crashes are dangerous because they have the potential to corrupt data. A specific file will be attempted to be accessed, read, and written to by your computer, and then your computer will shut down unexpectedly; this can result in unresolved changes that render your images, documents, databases, and other files unreadable. It is especially common to encounter data corruption when working with large files, such as email archives, and it is important to be aware of the risks.

If your computer hangs or crashes on a regular basis, make a backup of your data once more. Examine your backups and think about implementing automatic backup software. Find out what is causing your computer to crash and fix the problem as soon as possible to keep the system running smoothly.

If your hard drive, flash drive, server, or other device begins to show signs of data loss, shut it down immediately and disconnect all connected devices. If you have a backup device, you should use it instead of the original. If you do not have a backup, contact a qualified data recovery company as soon as possible to discuss your options and to schedule a media evaluation of your hard drive or other media.

Frequently Ignored Hard Drive Failure Signs was first seen on Hard Drive Recovery Associates Blog

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Laptop Hard Drive Failure And Acceptance

Hard drives are not simply pieces of data storage equipment; rather, they are pieces of our memories. Some people consider their hard drives to be more than just storage devices; they consider them to be the main homes of all their photographs, personal documents, writing, and video games. For example, let’s take Larry, an average guy, who had a hard drive that contained everything he could possibly require for his entertainment or professional purposes. However, when his hard drive failed, a piece of his heart died with it. Aside from being extremely frustrating, a failed hard drive can actually represent significant financial loss. It may take some time for you to come to terms with the loss of your data. It is possible that your road towards data recovery will proceed in the following manner:

Shock and Denial

So your laptop is catching fire right in front of your eyes… you’re probably going to need professional laptop data recovery. Immediately, all you can think about is, “I have way too many things on there for it to be broken!” That laptop was your best friend for a long time. It provided you with a wide variety of entertainment and streaming options. Halo, The Sims, and Civilization were all available to play thanks to the mighty laptop. And now it’s gone forever, along with all of your valuable data like that work presentation that is due next week.

You put everything you have into it. If you turn the computer on and off repeatedly – you swear you will eventually succeed in getting the hard drive to reboot. You take it to a computer repairman, only to be told what you already know by the technician himself. At first, you don’t shed a tear, but as you take a mental inventory of what is on the drive, you get close.

Suffering and Feelings of Shame

As soon as you have recovered from the initial shock, you must accept that your hard drive has failed. Throughout it all, you couldn’t help but wonder what else you could have done to get out of this sticky situation. “How come I didn’t notice the signs?” you wonder. You’re convinced that you’re to blame for the malfunction; after all, why didn’t you defrag your hard disk more frequently?

Anger

Basically, anger is much easier to deal with than guilt. If you don’t want to take responsibility for your actions, express your rage against someone or something else. You can’t help but want to kick the dang Asus laptop computer and call the company to express your dissatisfaction with the situation. They had the audacity to sell you a faulty hard drive that wouldn’t last forever! And when the receptionist is unable to assist you, you immediately scold her to vent your frustration.

Bargaining

Alternatively, you could try to bargain with your hard drive, telling it that you will ensure that it is defragmented every week and that it will be given better care IF ONLY it works so you can clone it. Of course, it does not function. For all intents and purposes, your hard disk is a brick. You use your partner’s laptop in hopes of filling the void, but it just doesn’t feel the same.

Depression and a sense of despondency

You start to realize that your hard drive isn’t going to come back to life any longer. You find yourself reminiscing about the wonderful times you had when Netflix was so readily available no matter the time of day. Alternatively, recall how your laptop used to operate so quickly and efficiently. You’ve fallen into a deep depression as a result of your stay here; you’re daydreaming about what life would be like if you had your hard drive back, but you know that will never happen without professional intervention.

Testing and Reconstruction are two different things.

You are well aware that you will never be able to recover your previous data by yourself and that you will never be able to recreate the same, flawless configuration on your computer. However, you are aware that it is past time to move on. Your choice is obvious: buy a new hard drive, or deal with a professional data recovery service like Hard Drive Recovery Associates.

Acceptance

After months of denial, you have finally come to terms with the fact that you have lost every piece of information stored on that hard drive unless you do something about it. Although you are still upset about your hard drive’s demise, you have decided to move on and get back into life. You decide to purchase another hard drive, this time of higher quality, faster performance, and greater data storage capacity. You continue your journey by taking more photographs and discovering new games.

Hard drives, even when they are not in use, are an integral part of almost every aspect of our lives. When your computer crashes, it’s as if you’ve lost a piece of yourself—especially if you haven’t made any backups of your data. Prevent the need to go through the grieving process by contacting Hard Drive Recovery Associates. We make it possible to recover all of that laptop data that you thought you lost.

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Hard Drive Failure Symptoms

Because hard drives are mechanical devices with a variety of moving parts that must be properly aligned, they are prone to failure and data loss. A common problem is that many computer users do not recognize the symptoms of a failing hard drive right away and continue to use their drive, increasing the likelihood of permanent data loss significantly.

Whether you’re a casual user of an office desktop computer or the administrator of a company’s RAID array, you should be familiar with the signs and symptoms of a physical hard drive failure, which include the following:

Disturbing Noises

The majority of hard drive failures are accompanied by new and odd sounds such as whirring or clicking. Our customers frequently comment on the fact that their drives sound like they are going to blow up. If the problem is severe enough, HDDs may also make a clicking sound, seem to be restarting, and then just stop. Any unusual noise generated by a hard drive’s internal components indicates a serious problem with the drive’s internal components, including the drive head and platter. Turn off a hard drive that is making a lot of noise as soon as you can, and you will save yourself a lot of money and hassle.

Odd Error Messages

An error message will typically be displayed on your computer’s screen if your hard drive has stopped functioning properly. When a hard drive fails physically, you may receive error messages such as “file not found,” “code 7,” and “file is corrupt,” although the exact error messages you receive will vary depending on your operating system and the program you are using at the time of the drive failure.

If you are unable to access a critical file for any reason and you do not have a backup, you should contact a data recovery engineer at Hard Drive Recovery Associates as soon as possible. Unless you are absolutely certain that an error message indicates a logical (non-physical) problem, you should never run data recovery software when you have a physical hard drive failure. Additionally, for the best chance of a complete data recovery process, you should consult with a trained data recovery engineer before attempting any data recovery procedures on your own. We cannot understate this – many of the unrecoverable hard drives we see are only unrecoverable because the owner decided he or she was “handy”, and then proceeded to destroy the drive.

Use Hands to Check for Vibration on your Hard Drive

If your computer is unable to recognize your hard drive (the HDD is plugged in, but either the BIOS or operating system does not recognize it), you can use your hands to check whether the platters are spinning and whether the read/write heads are moving back and forth to read information. Before handling any hard drive, make certain that you have properly grounded yourself.

If the drive is not vibrating and you are unable to determine whether or not its internal components are moving normally, there is a good chance that it is encountering either a physical or an electronic problem. It is possible for a drive to stop functioning completely due to spindle failures, PCB failures, and other issues. Additionally, some drives are equipped with fail safes, which prevent them from operating after a read/write head failure. Drives with these kind of fail safes are excellent because they end up preserving your drives mechanical parts, making the drive far easier to image.

Hard Drive “Stink” – As strange as it may seem, many of our customers have reported smelling something strange coming from their computers’ hard drives. If an electronics board overheats, the smell of burning electrical components or melting solder may emanate from the circuit board, and will be quite noticeable.

Usually, strange odors have something to do with electronics and do not indicate a problem with the platters. Due to the fact that hard drives are equipped with miniature filters that prevent any particles from escaping the drive enclosure, hard drive heads and platters cannot produce odors. No matter how you look at it, a “stinky” hard drive should be powered down immediately.

Always remember to take precautions. If you suspect that your hard drive is failing or that it is experiencing a physical hard drive failure problem, turn it off. Contact a reputable data recovery company like Hard Drive Recovery Associates right away.

Mechanical hard drives typically spin at a rate of 5400-7200 RPM, so even if a drive is operational for only a few seconds after a failure, it can sustain permanent damage very quickly if not properly maintained. Call us today for a free evaluation of your failed hard drive.

The following blog article Hard Drive Failure Symptoms is available on HDRA Blog

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What Are the Most Common Types of Data Loss?

At Hard Drive Recovery Associates, we receive thousands of cases each year, and while no two are exactly alike, we’ve discovered that many of our clients experience data loss for the same reasons in many cases. Here are a few of the most common types of data loss to be aware of:

Data corruption occurs as a result of the constant reading and writing of information by your hard drive. If a software error or a power failure prevents a computer from completing a data write, a file may become corrupted and unreadable as a result. This is especially common with large files such as email archives, SQL databases, and other large databases. No matter which way you slice it, it’s never a good thing.

In order to avoid data corruption, avoid shutting down programs using the Task Manager, the forced shutdown command, or in any other unusual manner. Never unplug an external hard drive or flash drive without first ensuring that your operating system is finished working with the drive.

Virus Infection – Contrary to popular belief, data loss as a result of a virus infection is a rare occurrence. However, we continue to receive several hundred devices per year with severely virus-damaged files, so it is always preferable to take precautions rather than risk data loss as a result of malicious software or spyware of some kind. Your best bet is always to maintain the most recent version of your antivirus software on your computer, and always use a firewall (even if it’s just Windows built-in firewall). It is never a good idea to open files from unknown sources, even if they are sent to you by a friend, family member, or coworker. Remember that hackers often spoof email addresses and send a terrible payload.

Accidental Deletion and User Error – It is common for a computer user to mistakenly believe that he or she has a backup of a particular file and delete it by mistake. The majority of the time, Hard Drive Recovery Group can recover deleted files very quickly; however, if someone continues to use their computer after accidentally deleting a file, the file may be overwritten, significantly decreasing the likelihood of a complete recovery. Additionally, other types of user error, such as software misuse and hard drive reformatting, can result in overwriting of data.

If you make a mistake that results in data loss, you should shut down your computer and hard drive as soon as possible to prevent data loss. Please contact our engineers and explain what happened, as well as any steps you took to recover your data if applicable. Data recovery cases involving user error are fully recoverable in more than 95 percent of cases.

Hard Drive FailureHard drive failure is by far the most common cause of data loss that results in permanent data loss. Through normal drive operation, it is possible for hard drive read/write heads to become physically unable to function, often resulting in contact with the magnetic material that is used to store your data. In order to recover data from a physically damaged hard drive, you’ll need to find a data recovery company that has a certified Clean room like Hard Drive Recovery Associates in Irvine, CA.

Running your computer in a room-temperature environment below 80 degrees Fahrenheit will help to keep your hard drive safe from damage. Remember that this is a sensitive device: avoid subjecting your computer to vibration or physical shock, and also ensure that there is plenty of space for ventilation at the back of the machine. Always remember that every hard drive will fail at some point, so you should always have a copy of your important data at the ready just in case. Most backup programs have some kind of scheduler, so keeping on top of your backed up data is so much easier than in the past.

RAID Server Failure

Many computer users never have to deal with this type of data loss, but RAID server failures can inflict terrible economic damage on companies that have failed to adopt a strong backup program. In many cases, RAID drive failures occur either as a result of a failed RAID rebuild or as a result of multiple server hard drives failing at the same time. No matter how you look at it, this is by far the most expensive and damaging form of data loss.

To avoid a RAID failure, it is essential that you adhere strictly to all rebuild procedures, as well as regularly back up important data to a separate, offsite storage location (which is quite easy with the wide array of cloud based backup services these days). Many businesses maintain at least three levels of backups, which should ensure that the majority of data loss incidents never have an impact on productivity.

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