Dymin Blog

Help! My Computer Crashed. Can I Recover My Data?

Posted by Mike Hurt on Dec 27, 2016 10:23:00 AM

Windows PC


The Blue Screen of Death.

The Spinning Wheel of Death.

At some point, every computer user experiences a crash: when your computer freezes, hangs, or shuts itself down. If your computer crashes, it could be a sign that there’s something seriously wrong with your operating system or hard drive. And if your hard drive crashes, it can take all of your data with it—sometimes irretrievably. Knowing the facts about hard drive crashes can help you safeguard your data and prevent loss.  

 What is a computer crash?

When most people refer to their computer "crashing," they’re usually describing a severe symptom such as the computer failing to completely and correctly boot up. When this happens, it is usually accompanied by an error message during the boot-up process. One of the most common causes of a crash is when a computer’s hard drive is starting to go bad, which is a process that can occur very rapidly or slowly, over time, as it breaks down in stages (accompanied by random error messages, shutdowns, and boot failures). When the drive finally stops functioning well enough to allow the computer to operate, it can take some (or all) of your data with it.

Fun fact: A hard drive failure is referred to as a “crash” because of the way hard drives are constructed. Very basically, they have a physically moving arm that reads stored information from a circular disc like a record player needle reads a record. The term "crash" was originally used to refer to failures in computers because there are instances where the read/write head of the hard drive (the arm reading the record) gets jarred or otherwise disturbed during operation, and it literally crashes into the spinning disc, causing critical damage.


Can I recover my data after a crash?

When a hard drive crashes or starts down the road to slow failure, it can actually be a result of a wide variety of very technical issues. It's due to this myriad of possible causes that there is no simple answer to whether your data will be able to be recovered. (This also explains why data recovery can be so difficult, time consuming, and costly.)

The most important factor that YOU can actually control is how quickly you call for help! Every minute that a computer's hard drive continues to operate after beginning to experience a failure will reduce the chance that you can successfully recover or save any data from your drive. Don't wait until the computer completely stops working. If you experience any signs of a computer crash, stop using the computer immediately and completely shut it down.

Data recovery for crashed hard drives typically starts at a minimum of $300 and can cost up to $2,500 for a single home computer, with the most common middle range being $600 to $1,500. Recovering data from a business server can be even more costly; costs commonly fall in the $3,000 to $8,000 range. These kinds of costs can put a business at risk of going out of business—not to mention the additional losses that could be caused by corrupted or unrecoverable data and the productivity lost due to the crash.


How do I protect myself from hard drive crashes?

It's an unfortunate fact that no matter the quality of your hard drive, no matter what brand of computer you have, there's absolutely no way to completely eliminate the possibility of hard drive failure. Even brand-new hard drives can fail within hours or days of their first use! The only way to truly protect yourself from computer crashes is to have a good data backup plan in place.

It’s vital that you back up your business data effectively and comprehensively. An automatic, offsite data backup service can be an integral part of your overall business continuity plan. This ensures that if your hard drive is damaged, destroyed, or suffers a complete failure, your data remains safe, and your business experiences minimal downtime.

Your data can be backed up, stored, and saved in an off-premises physical storage location or, more commonly, in “the cloud.” A cloud-based data backup solution uploads a copy of your data over the internet and stores it in a secure, encrypted server and file storage system, protected from physical harm, hackers, and malicious software. Many backup solutions can be initiated at the click of a mouse after setup or can be prescheduled to automatically back up your data on a daily, monthly, or other basis.


Dymin offers backup solutions, data recovery, and managed IT solutions.

Dymin Systems can help you with everything from recovering data from a crashed computer to implementing a cloud-based data backup plan for your critical business data. Our skilled team can provide managed IT support for businesses throughout the Des Moines area. To learn more about how these managed IT solutions could save your business money (and reduce your IT problems), contact Dymin Systems, visit our repair services and computer sales showroom in Urbandale, Iowa, or call us at (800) 811-3661.


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Topics: computer repair, managed IT services, business information, data backup