7 Simple Tips to Prevent Data Loss

Losing data from your hard drive is at best a nuisance and at worst a costly disaster. In many cases your data can be recovered, but it can be costly, and takes time and effort. The ideal solution is to take steps below to prevent data loss before it happens. Fortunately there are plenty of things you can do to protect yourself and your information from being lost.

1. Store your documents on a different drive than your operating system. Most forms of computer failure affect the operating system. Sometimes the only solution is to reinstall the operating system, which effectively deletes all of the other files stored on your hard drive. You can purchase an external hard drive relatively cheaply and it provides an excellent storage medium for your files while protecting them from operating system failure. You can also use an external as a backup for your files if you choose to save them on your system drive.

2. Keep your anti-virus protection running and up to date. A good anti-virus program is worth its weight in gold. Make sure that you regularly scan for new viruses and that you install all anti-virus updates from your anti-virus provider. Also, beware of opening emails with attachments that you don’t recognize or otherwise have reason to suspect. If you intend to save email attachments, set your email program to save them to a unique location to avoid having them overwrite your existing files.

3. Take advantage of your system safeguards. If you’re editing documents, be sure to save the original in case you accidentally delete a portion of the file. Many instances of data loss are simply a matter of user error. If you have a number of important documents stored on your computer, it may be worthwhile to consider keeping hard copies of them in case of data loss.

4. Stop using your computer if you notice any missing data. If you continue to use your computer after you have experienced a system problem, you run the risk of overwriting important files. Once you are aware that you have a data problem, the safest advice is to shut your computer down safely and consult a data recovery specialist. There are some data recovery programs that can help if your problem is software related, but if you’re unsure, check with a data recovery technician to decide your best course of action.

5. Protect your computer. Hard drives are sensitive pieces of equipment and you should do all you can to protect them from damage due to impact, temperature extremes and contact with moisture. Keep your computer in a cool, dry environment in an area of your home that has as little traffic as possible to prevent jostling. Use surge protectors to protect against power surges. Surges are one of the most common causes of hard drive failure and loss of information.

6. Never try to take your hard drive apart on your own. Hard drives require a static and dust free environment if they are to be repaired. Unless you run your own data recovery business, it’s highly unlikely you have the proper laboratory facilities or equipment to physically repair a damaged hard drive on your own. Removing the cover from a hard drive in an unsafe environment nearly always results in the destruction of the information stored on the drive.

7. Back up your critical files. I’ve left this one to last for emphasis. It’s impossible to predict when or where data loss will strike. Backing up your files on a regular basis protects you and your information if the unthinkable should happen. With a little bit of planning and foresight, data loss disasters can be solved be merely replacing the drive and reloading your data. In the majority of cases, your data can be recovered safely by a reputable data recovery company, but you can avoid that expense and the possibility of unrecoverable data. Backing up your data regularly is an easy and inexpensive precaution to take that can save you a lot of heartache down the road. It’s always better to be prepared.


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