The Enemies of Memory: Hard Drive Failure, What Causes It, and How to Fight It

How quickly could your business recover from a complete loss of your client, transaction, accounting, and tax data? The threats out there range from Mother Nature (fire, flood) to Father Time (equipment failure through age, obsolescence, etc.).

Along with these godly forces are the common human enemies of software glitches and cyber-attacks. Should hackers get past your virus protection, with ransomware for example, your final defense is restoring your system from a complete data backup.

According to this piece in PC Mech, mechanical hard drives "are destined to fail." (That's "destined" as in death and taxes). With that certainty in mind, let’s look at what will come to destroy your drive and your data.

1. Physical damage

The earth's elements of fire, water, and electricity are natural enemies to your hard drive. For example, tinkering around with the innards of a computer without being grounded can ruin a hard drive with a shot of static electricity just as quickly as a jarring drop. 

2. Mechanical failure. 

The spinning hard drive can experience a data destroying head crash at any time. Solid-state drives have the advantage of no moving parts, but heat and extended use will also eventually wear them out. 

3. File structure or software failure

Your hard drive is analogous to a storage warehouse. From the boot program to firing up software applications and retrieving files, the operating system software depends on its file management and retrieval system from various locations on your hard drive.

Think of your PC operating system's file structure as an indexed database. Your operating system can fail at the "base" through an index corruption, or through lost links. A damage to the base will deny the hard drive access to its own file retrieval system, leaving it stranded at the warehouse door. Lost links occur when a computer file loses track of its next portion somewhere else on the hard drive--i.e., the hard disk is "fragmented." 

Safeguarding Against Hard Drive Failure

Unless for catastrophic reasons, hard drives rarely fail without warning. The PC Mech article linked above lists several warning signs from computer freezing to a grinding sounds. Whatever the symptoms, causes or fixes, again, the most reliable insurance against data loss of an off-site data backup program that will get your system back on line quickly. 

Contact us and we'll help you shore up your PC of Mac-based system as you do business in the wilds of the web.


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“We had a hard drive failure at work, and we didn't have a backup. We went to Ron for a free analysis and he verified there was an issue within 15 minutes. We've never had to deal with data recovery before, and he was willing to answer any questions. He got our data restored to a new drive within 2 days. Would definitely recommend.”
– Seth Allen
“The short: Calling Ron and his team was the best decision I could have made. Words like kind, respectful, prompt, and attentive come to mind. The long: My NAS crashed. I thought I lost my entire digital life. Forget about the files and documents one accumulates and all the music, I had 30 years of family pictures, some of who are no longer with us. I was in tears. I took my NAS to a big box store where I was given very robotic service by their "geeks" and was told it could cost me thousands of dollars, it would take at least a month (but I could leap to the front of the line for an extra $100) to even find out IF it was recoverable. I decided to look for someone local and thank God I found Carolina Data Recovery. Ron was able to confirm that the data was recoverable within 48 hours and had my data back to me within 72 hours. Beyond that, Ron took time to walk me though the process and listen to my concerns. Realizing I was a mess, Ron spent an hour on the phone with me explaining what I need to do going forward to ensure that this never happens again. Backing up your data IS important - hard lesson learned. I hope to never be in this situation again, but have comfort in knowing that Carolina Data Recovery has my back. ”
– M. Patel
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