What to do After a Hard Drive Failure

seagateWe live in such an abundant information age that a hard drive failure these days can mean the sudden loss of data comparable to the burning of the Alexandria Library. It’s happened to most of us at least once and we recognise the awful feeling in the pit of your stomach, and the rising tension in your chest as you realise that all your files, photos, music and videos, your personal as well as professional documents, may be gone forever. There are steps you can take to recover some, hopefully all, of your data from a crashed hard drive.

Copy Your Files Before A Crash

Assuming that your hard drive hasn’t crashed already and is up to the task, you might want to try to make an image of your hard disk, as this can save you in the case of a crash.

New Hard Drive

If your drive is toast, you’ll need to replace your old hard drive with a new one. If you have been making regular back-ups, you should be able to simply transfer them to your new hard drive and carry on.

Slave Drive

If you don’t have a back up you can use (even old back-ups can be useful), you can try to install your old drive as a secondary drive and see if you can transfer any files over. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t, but it’s worth a try. However, if your old drive died because of a virus or corrupted file, it may infect your new one and you will be back where you started. Be sure that your old drive is clean before you hook it up with the new one.

Data Recovery Specialist

If the hard drive is dead, you will need to send it to data recovery specialists. If you are a business, contact your business IT support and let them handle it for you, though be prepared to be without your hard drive for an extended period of time.

Back Up Regularly

Doing regular backups of your information is like doing laundry; you just have to do it, and it may also be the only thing saving you from losing all of your information. Backup systems come in internal and external set-ups, and there are many configuration options to choose from. Internal backup systems obviously have the fatal flaw of being housed on the same hard drive, so if that crashes, your backup may be lost as well. However, internal backups can be more convenient and economical to set up, only technically requiring one hard drive and no cables or extra installation. External backup systems copy information onto an external data storage device, like a second hard drive, CD or USB/memory stick.

Outsourced IT is becoming more common as businesses choose to delegate the headaches of managing and maintaining their IT infrastructure, including data recovery and backup systems, to contractors or specialised companies. For the individual, these options are for the most part too costly and most of us have to be our own IT department.

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