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Guide Overview

Defining Data Loss
What is data loss?
Key causes of data loss?
Results of data loss?
Impact of data loss?

Data Recovery Causes
Hardware Failure
Human Error
Software Corruption
Computer Viruses
Natural Disasters

Case Study:
The High Cost Of Data Loss

Data Recovery Types
Don't Panic
Hard Drive Failure
RAID/Server Failure
Tape Failure
Optical Failure
Removable Media Failure
Digital Media Failure

Data Recovery Process
Online Evaluation
Send In Your Media
Diagnostic Evaluation
The Recovery
Data Verification
Data Restoration

Facts & Figures

Important Links

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Data Recovery Causes, Symptoms and Prevention?


What are the leading causes of data loss?

One of the most common problems that will occur during a data loss situation is the tendency of the data loss victim to panic. As a result, a user will tend to cause further damage to their media by attempting numerous adhoc recovery methods to fix their problem.

We can not stress to you enough that once a data loss situation has occurred, it is imperative that you do NOT attempt to fix or recover your data unless you have a thorough understanding of what the problem is and how to resolve it.

Think of it this way, if you were running on a multi million dollar annual marketing budget and you knew that one wrong keystroke could obliterate the entire thing, would you make that keystroke? Hopefully not! This section will breakdown and give examples of common failures that we have experienced and what you should do to prevent them from happening.

If you are experiencing a problem from the list, we advise you to Contact Us before attempting to recover the data yourself. Always consult a data recovery consultant/technician prior to attempting a Do-It-Yourself data recovery solution.

Hardware or System Failures - 78% of all data loss situations

Possible Data Recovery Symptoms:
  • Boot failure
  • Error message stating the device not recognized
  • Previously accessible data suddenly gone
  • Scraping or rattling sound
  • Hard drive not spinning
  • Computer hard drive doesn't function

  • Electrical Failure
  • Head/Media Crash
  • Controller Failure
  • Dropped hard drive

How to prevent/avoid a hardware failure or disaster:

  • Protect electrical components by using computers in a dry, shaded, dust-free area
  • Protect against power surges with an uniterruptable power supply (UPS)
  • Do not shake or remove the covers on hard drives or tapes
  • Make sure your hard drive is in a secure environment, away from potential accident areas.

Human Error - 11% of all data loss situations

Possible Symptoms:
  • Previously accessible data suddenly gone wrong
  • Message similar to "File Not Found"
  • Configuration error leaving data inaccessible.

Data Loss Examples:
  • Accidental file deletion or drive format
  • Trauma resulting from a drop or fall
  • Server configuration or network failure
  • Loss of data due to actions of a disgruntled employee

How to prevent/avoid a data recovery situation from human error:
  • Never attempt any operation, like installations or repairs when you have no experience.
  • Avoid moving your cmoputer, particualrly when it is still turned on.
  • Maintain security on your personal files and folders to prevent unauthorized changes
  • Save your work and BACK IT UP regularly to ensure restoration can take place.

Software Corruption - 7% of all data loss situations

Possible Symptoms:
  • Operating system boot failure
  • System messages relating to memory errors
  • Software application won't load
  • Error message stating data is corrupted or inaccessible

Data Loss Examples:
  • Corruption caused by diagostic or repair tools
  • Failed backups
  • Configuration complexity
  • Database corruption

How to prevent/avoid a data recovery situation from software corruption:
  • BACK UP your data regularly
  • Use diagnostic utilities with caution
  • Keep up with your security patches and updates
  • Ensure data integrity and backup prior to upgrading a system or software package

Computer Viruses - 2% of all data loss situations

Possible Data Recovery Symptoms:
  • Blank Screen
  • Strange or unpredictable behavior
  • Error messages relating to system or device failure
  • "File Not Found" Message announcing virus on screen
  • Locked or inaccessible files and/or programs

Data Loss Examples:
  • Boot sector viruses
  • File infecting viruses
  • Polymorphic viruses
  • Email viruses

How to prevent/avoid a data recovery situation from computer viruses:
  • Use a quality anti-virus package
  • Obtain software from reputable sources
  • Scan all incoming data, including software for viruses.
  • Run an anti-virus or monitoring program constantly while you are working
  • Ensure your back ups have been virus checked and verified (often missed).

Natural Disasters - 1% of all data loss situations

Possible Data Recovery Symptoms:
  • Most natural disasters such as floods, tornados and earthquakes have obvious symptoms.
  • Lightning and brownouts are often tricky, unexpected and leave no clues.

Disaster Recovery Examples:
  • Floods
  • Earthquakes
  • Lightning
  • Brownouts
  • Tornados, etc

How to prevent/avoid a data recovery situation from natural disaster:
  • Store an "off-site" backup of your data.
  • Install a UPS
  • Don't store critical data in a flood plain
  • Ensure your back ups have been virus checked and verified (often missed).

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