It's late at night and you're preparing a report for an important meeting tomorrow. Suddenly, your screen goes black and you can't restart your computer. Sheer panic sets in as you realize you've lost everything—not only what you've been preparing for the last several hours but all the documents and photos you've been accumulating on your computer over the last several years. Now what?
Common Ways You Can Lose Data
Data loss can happen to anyone, sometimes striking suddenly, without any warning. Here are a few common ways you can lose data:
Hard Drive Failure
Hard drives are naturally quite fragile. If you drop your computer, you may destroy the hard drive, resulting in data loss. Manufacturing deficits can also sometimes cause hard drive malfunctions. Other times, hard drives can fail suddenly for no apparent reason—even NEW ones! Every hard drive has a 2–15% chance of failing in a given year (and this percentage only increases as your hard drive ages). These failures can happen out of the blue with no warning.
Accidentally Deleting Information
At work and home we work with files, updating and deleting them. Sometimes we might delete parts of the file, such as a highlighted paragraph, or we might accidentally delete the whole file by closing it before saving.
Viruses and Malware
We can expose computers to data loss by visiting an infected website, clicking on a bad popup, downloading malware, and numerous other ways that allow hackers to take over our computers and steal or destroy our data.
When your computer powers down unexpectedly and improperly, data loss can result. Whether an ice storm brings down the power lines while you're in the middle of writing your thesis, a power surge damages your computer beyond repair, or you simply shut your computer down improperly, you can lose data.
Laptop thefts are very common on college campuses and other public places. When you lose your computer, the photos and other personal information that you've stored on it may be the biggest loss.
Maybe you spilled your favorite beverage on your laptop while you were working. Or maybe your home was flooded, and your computer got soaked. However it happens, water and other liquids can destroy your hard drive. If you spill liquid on your computer, follow these steps for the best chance of preserving your data.
If you have a house fire, your computer can easily be destroyed along with all the data it contains.
Prevent Data Loss by Being Prepared
Many IT companies offer data recovery services. Sometimes (but not always) some or all of your data may be retrievable. For the best odds of recovering your lost data, call your local IT professionals right away. To protect you against future losses, ask your IT service provider about cloud storage, which can keep your documents, photos, and other data safe even if your computer is a total loss.
Even if your data is backed up in the cloud, you can avoid the hassle of temporary losses by taking some basic steps. Make a habit of saving your files frequently, and always put your computer in a safe place. You can regularly back up the data to an external hard drive, but that only provides limited protection. If your equipment is destroyed in a natural disaster, stolen from your home, or your hard drive fails, you can still lose years' worth of tax receipts, academic and medical records, passwords, precious photos, and other information that can't be easily replaced. You don't want to leave that up to chance.
The best way to prevent data loss is through a cloud storage system that backs up your data automatically. This protects your data from computer malfunctions, human error, physical damage, and other threats. Permanent data loss can be truly devastating. With automatic cloud storage, you can continuously protect your data with minimal effort.
Dymin provides expert IT service and tech advice in the Des Moines metro for home and business users alike. Contact us for service or repair, or click the image below to access our free ebook and learn how to protect your computer against malware infection.