The best data recovery tip in the world is to have backup and backups of your backups and backups of those backups – and to back up your backups every day.
But, we’re human and sometimes we forget. And, it’s technology so sometimes things go wrong. Besides, how many people, not businesses, have backups of all their data? They might have an external hard drive or redundant drives backing up their PCs, but how much of their smartphone data is backed up? How often do they dump all their smartphone pictures and video files onto their PCs, so that they can be backed up?
Their data loss might not be as financially or critically devastating as it is for businesses, but you can’t put a value on your kid’s first steps or the perfectly timed picture of your dog jumping through the sprinkler.
So, what are you to do?
Your absolute best bet is to make an appointment with a hard drive data recovery specialist. Tinkering around with your system when you’re not entirely sure you know what you’re doing is a recipe for disaster. Chances are you will make things worse. In fact, you could render your data irrecoverable, when it could have been perfectly recoverable in the first place.
Here’s what you need to do when things start going pear-shaped.
1) Don’t think that funny noises are normal.
If your computer starts making noises that it doesn’t ordinarily make, try and do a quick back up and then switch it off. The turning off part is especially important if the noises are quite disturbing, like grinding.
If you hope that the noises will somehow stop on their own and don’t turn it off, you risk further damage to the hard drive. You also risk your valuable data being overwritten by new data, like automatic temporary files by desktop applications.
2) You can give software a go if you really want to.
You can get data recovery software – before the problem occurs. You can get free software and you can buy software. Buy it. Free software often doesn’t do what it says it does and it can also complicate a problem that may not have been complicated to begin with. Even bought software isn’t always as good as the manufacturers like to think.
Do some research and buy the best that you can afford. And keep a specialist’s number on speed dial.
3) Don’t mess with it.
Don’t uninstall and reinstall any programmes. If you do this you could overwrite all of your old data and even the best recovery specialists will have to work extra hard to try reach your data that is buried beneath layers of problems.
If you are familiar with a computer’s innards then you can unplug it and remove the hard drive, so that all you have to do is take it with you to the data recovery guys. Don’t try this if you don’t have a clue. Just take in your whole machine and leave it to the professionals.
4) Get in your car and drive.
Some data recovery companies will pick up and drop off the drive, which is great because you don’t need to worry about handling the damaged drive or about packing it correctly.
If you do have to take in the drive yourself, ask for packing instructions. The last thing you want is to have your unprotected drive rolling around your boot or sliding from the seat to the foot well when you take a corner or get too vigorous with the brakes.
The bottom line is that it’s always best to have your data restored by a professional. You might be prepared to risk your personal data with some self-recovery attempts, but businesses should certainly not do this.
So, what are the take-ways from this?
1) Back up everything all the time.
2) Find the most reputable data recovery company in your city and keep their contact details handy.