The number one step to preventing a loss of data is to backup that data on a regular basis. The best backup protocols involve one set of backups kept on the premises with a second set stored off site. Data backups should be automated to run at night or on weekends when the computers are unlikely to be in use, and these backups need to be tested for viability on a regular basis. Backups should never be stored on the same system that is being backed up. I have experience with many different methods of backing up data, and whether it’s the personal family photo album or the company’s accounting data, I can provide solutions that work best for each client’s individual needs. See my consulting fees for more information.
In the event that your hard drive crashes to the point that you can no longer access the data that’s on it and no backups are available, there are steps that can be taken to recover the lost data.
- First and foremost, stop all attempts to recover the information yourself. If the hard drive is physically damaged, repeatedly trying to access it will only damage it further, complicating any recovery efforts. The computer or hard drive in question should immediately be powered down, unplugged, and set aside for a professional diagnosis.
- Make a list of all data on the hard drive that must be recovered, where it is stored, and what data is the most critical. Recovery of data from damaged hard drives can sometimes be time sensitive, so it is important to start recovery of the most critical data first and then move on to less critical data later.
- Providing as much detail as to what happened just prior to the problem occurring can be crucial in determining the type of recovery attempt that will be made. For instance, describing any strange sounds made by the computer or any error messages will go a long way toward establishing a diagnosis of what happened, which will then impact how recovery is attempted.
- Understand that data recovery can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. My fees for a successful data recovery usually run $100 to $500. In the event that I cannot recover data from a device, the client will be referred to an out-of-state company that specializes in data recovery. However, their fees can easily run into the thousands of dollars.
- Be prepared for the possibility that some or all of your data might be irretrievably lost forever.
I have successfully recovered data from computers that have been submerged in floods, involved in house fires, and from hard drives that suffered catastrophic hardware failure. But I have also worked on hard drives where no data could be recovered at all. This is why data backups are absolutely crucial for anyone storing important information on any computer.
My fees for data recovery are assessed on a case-by-case basis, but will always include a $100 non-refundable deposit that covers the initial consultation, diagnosis and recovery attempts. If no data is recovered, no additional fees are incurred regardless of the amount of time spent on it. If data is recovered, additional fees may be assessed based on the time invested in the recovery and the difficulties involved.