Monday, April 21, 2008

Data Loss - Recovery & Prevention

Most recovery programs work in much the same way. You need to select the disk where the lost files are located and let the program analyze the content of the disk. Then select the file you want to recover and provide a location where you want to save that file.



Install a data recovery program just in case!

Be prepared beforehand

Installing any software after data loss will increase the risk of the lost data being overwritten. A recovery program installed now is good insurance for your data.


Free recovery software
Commercial recovery software

Commercial recovery software will increase the chances of recovering important data. It's not free but can be well worth the price.
What to do

Use your system as little as possible until you recover all of your lost files.
The more activity taking place on your hard disk, the greater chance that some of your lost data will be over written.
If you are trying to recover files from a media card, stop using that card immediately.
  • Turn off any applications you don't need.
  • Because they will write to your disk don’t launch any unnecessary programs.
  • Avoid browsing the web.
  • Don’t restart your computer.
  • Don't do a disk defrag or run a disk cleaner.

After the recovery
  • Check that everything correct.
  • If you’ve recovered applications, check that they still run.
  • If you’ve recovered documents, check that your words are still there.
Even the best recovery software can’t guarantee 100% results. Some parts of your files may have been overwritten, meaning that other data was saved to that location on your disk.
After recovery they might contain invalid information. Depending on the type of file involved, partially recovered files like this can be usually recovered by commercial software.


Prevention tips

Make backups

The first and most reliable way to avoid accidental deletion or other forms of data loss is to make regular backups of your important files. User error isn't the only way you can loose important data, photos, schoolwork or projects. You can experience a sudden power outage or power surge or even a dead hard drive.

Note: In case of hard drive failure, don't keep your backups on the same drive you are backing up. Use another drive or burn them to a CD.

There are also free and paid online storage sites. A few offer up to 5GB of free space and include sharing.

Note: With any free storage site read the fine print. Some allow larger amounts of space but they limit uploads per month (1GB or less). In other words you can't get large files uploaded all at once. The free sites listed below have had no upload limits that I have noticed.
Also note that with free storage you need to sign in once and a while. If not then they may purge your account to due to inactivity. Below are just a few.


Free online storage
Commercial storage
  • Carbonite.com - Backup your entire hard drive automatically
  • GoDaddy.com - Paid plans, as low as $5.99 a year for 50MB, sync between multiple computers
  • IBackup - Anywhere from 5GB to 300GB of storage
Free backup software
Use a Power Strip/Surge Protector


Be sure you have a reliable Surge Protector. These can be found at most retail stores and come in many varieties. Do some comparison shopping and pick the one that suits your needs. These are invaluable, not only to your data but to all of your computer components.

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