“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – Benjamin Franklin.
Nothing could be truer in the data recovery industry.
With the holidays approaching many of you will be capturing precious moments with friends and family with your cameras and video recorders so I thought this might be a good time to remind everyone to save a copy onto a second and separate device as soon as possible.
In case you don’t believe it will happen to you, here is a list of the most common, but certainly not exclusive, reasons people come to us for data recovery.
- Someone accidentally deleted data, made a mistake installing a new O/S or program, or accidentally or incorrectly reformatted a camera or a computer. (When your camera is asking you to reformat, call a professional before you actually say, “yes”. Carry multiple flash cards with you for such an occasion.)
- Hard drives spontaneously self-destruct all the time. They are expected to store more data and read/write faster. This requires more parts, which means more parts to fail.
- While natural disasters such as fire and flood are less common, we actually see quite a few cases monthly from lightning strikes and other power surges. Even if your computer is unplugged during a storm, the electric current can still get to your hard drive through the modem.
- The device is crushed or physically damaged. For example: it was dropped, liquid spilled on it, it was run over by a car, someone tripped over its power cord, or someone plugged the power cord into the laptop before plugging it directly into a wall causing an unprotected power surge, or the plug to a USB device was damaged when someone tried to force it into the port the wrong way, etc, etc, etc.
- Improperly removing/ejecting a flash drive
- Multiple drives failed in a RAID array. Either one drive caused a chain reaction or one drive failed a long time ago but no one noticed the warning light and failed to replace it before the second drive failed.
- Sometimes switching a flash drive back and forth between a Windows machine and a Mac will cause a flash drive to be unreadable by both
- Normal wear and tear of storage device – every hard drive fails – it’s only a matter of time.
- The device overheated. This is more common with laptops in the summer but if a PC has not been properly maintained it can get pretty dirty inside there and the fan can burn out at any time.
Hopefully the scare tactics worked and you are still paying attention. Here’s my advice.
- Take advantage of those Christmas specials and buy a few extra external hard drives and flash cards. Keep the flash cards handy in case you start to fill one up or your camera wants to reformat the card you are using. Pop your spare card in and keep rolling.
- As soon as you have a free moment, make time, transfer your photos to at least 2 hard drives before removing the images from your flash card. Once you’ve confirmed that your data is backed up, you can remove the images and free up space for your next photo session
- Set up that external hard drive to back up the data on your bootable drive automatically on regular intervals or every time you shut down your computer. Periodically check your back-ups. Periodically, make sure the device is doing what you set it up to do. Too often people don’t find out till it’s too late that their back-up drive was either not backing up all the data or was backing up the wrong data or wasn’t backing up any data at all.
- Flash drives are designed to port files from one computer to another. Don’t use them as a backup solution. Don’t edit data or run videos or music from the flash drive. Copy them to a hard drive and then make your changes and save the new file to the flash drive to bring to school or work.
- If one of your hard drive crashes replace it ASAP. Make a second copy of your data immediately. We’ve had clients whose main drive failed and a week later their backup drive failed.
- Splurge on a heavy duty surge suppressor. Tripp-Lite has a few with $500,000 Ultimate Lifetime Insurance coverage with Data Recovery Warranty. It’s worth the $89.95 price tag.
- A back-up drive isn’t the drive you move data to when your bootable drive is getting full. The back-up drive is the one that stores a second copy of your data.
- Beware of email attachments, whether you know the sender or not. Run a good anti-virus program but beware of diagnostic programs, like Check Disk, when they want to repair data files. They can actually do more (irreparable) harm than good.
- If you choose to use an online back-up service find out whether they will back-up the data on the external drive connected to your USB port. Don’t assume that they will.
- Close your applications before shutting down.
And finally, having difficulty choosing a gift for a friend or family member? Whether they are a new parent or an amateur or professional photographer, they always need more storage capacity for their photos and videos. Give them a new external hard drive and a copy of this advice. It could save them a lot of grief and perhaps someone’s precious moments. Enjoy the holidays from the team at Flashback Data.