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Computer Hard Disk Failure - What Can I Do To Recover My Data?

Mar 12, 2008
It is probably the oldest story, well maybe the second oldest, but in the age of computers it is probably the oldest. For as long as there have been computers there have been computers that have failed or have broken. The story multiplied of course when we all got one and whilst the majority of the planet is happy clicking away on their mouse, the intricacies of hardware and software are still left to the elite, and those born after 1980!

Being one of the latter, I come from an age before computers at school and whilst I spend the majority of my life these days in front of my keyboard and screen, when something goes wrong I haven't a clue.

To rectify this situation I decided to research the subject and come up with some answers to the questions that we ask ourselves repeatedly as we bounce round the room, kicking ourselves that we did not back up our data on a more regular basis. because backing up your data is the best solution for computer failure whatever the cause. But I am guessing that if you are reading this article then that option will be remembered for next time and what you are really looking for are the alternative answers now.

Let's assume then that your computer has failed. Let's also assume that you last did a back up of data long enough ago for it not to be relevant and this article maybe your best last hope. Before we examine the possibilities let me just reassure you. There is a very good chance that your data can be recovered. Please read on.

The first consideration maybe the age of your computer and the way that your hard drive is configured. This is not something you may know but as part of my reassurance let me explain a little about something call RAID. You may have seen it mentioned when you bought your computer.

RAID stands for Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks. It is a technology that it used to support two or more disks on your computer to enhance performance and storage of data. By splitting your hard drive into two or more sections allows it to use different disks for different tasks. Now if you have bought a Dell recently you may remember when you were clicking through the options that their was an option screen allowing you to choose to split your hard drive. If you chose this option and you have two drives, it is quite possible that most of your data is on one drive whilst your operating system, Vista, XP etc. will be installed on the other. This scenario makes recovery much easier. Even if you have just one drive all is not lost.

Data Recovery, its ease and the cost of recovery will depend on the type of computer failure you have experienced.

Failure can be caused by several things but these are the main ones:

Firmware failure: This is a failure of the software embedded on your hard drive

Electronic failure: Lightening strike, power surge are all reasons for electronic failure. Like the back up, you always meant to get that surge protector! Electronic failure usually causes a failure in the controller board so that your data is not lost but cannot be found by your operating software.

Mechanical failure: Your hard drive has moving parts that break from time to time. In the words of 'Armageddon' 'It's not if it is going to happen, but when is it going to happen'

Logic Errors: These are a software failure and can usually be rectified by a system restore . Use caution though, as until you know the type of failure you have experienced your actions could in fact make the problem worse and hinder the recovery of important data.

So now you know the possible causes of your failure the next thing is to identify which has befallen you. If you are a complete novice your next step is to get some expert help. Differential analysis of your problem should be left to some-one who knows how to identify your problem without making it worse. You should be able to find advice for free and depending on the importance of your data and the cost of recovery you can make an informed choice as to how to proceed.

Next time you will remember to back up and get that surge protector..I know because I have been there. Good Luck!
About the Author
Disk Doctors specialize in Data Recovery including Raid Recovery Whatever you computer failure you will find help from the 24/7 service they provide. Read more Internet Articles at OMDN
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