Byte Me Article 387 – Data Recovery

Don’t risk Losing Your Data

Today we look at another incident that occurred during the week at the shop.  In this case it was a new customer coming in with a data recovery problem.  They had purchased an external backup drive from somewhere and had been using it to keep important family photos.  In this process they made the common mistake of thinking that a “backup drive” would be 100% safe.

The term backup actually refers to the making of a copy of the original file while keeping the original file still intact in a separate location or on a separate device.  The term “Backup” in no way means to locate the ‘only’ copy of a file on a backup device.  It is not much different to keeping a spare tyre in the boot of your car in case one of the 4 essential ones fails.  Backup drives are great devices however just like a spare tyre, they can also fail.

So how many backups do you need?  Well if you were going to cross the Sahara you would most likely take more than one spare tyre.  It also follows that if your data is REALLY important then you might also consider having more than one backup!  The number of backup options has also increased in CQ with the rollout of the NBN.  You can still consider the traditional backup devices such as external drives, however you can now also consider cloud storage such as DropBox and OneDrive.

There are some FREE Cloud storage options for users with just a small amount of data, but the average household or business would need to sign up to a cloud storage plan which would get billed monthly at around the $10 to $50 per month mark.  The case this week from above was particularly disappointing as the new customer had already let a friend look at it who ‘was particularly good at IT’.

We were presented with an external hard drive that had been removed from the drive caddy, but it had also had the lid peeled back like a half open sardine tin.  Due to the fine tolerances of the moving parts in a mechanical hard drive they are sealed for life by the factory and opening one up outside of a special clean room leads to all sorts of dust and lint contamination.  There was nothing we could do short of sending it South to one of these specialist recovery companies, however this is not a cheap alternative.

We get around 30 dead computers brought to us every month and it is very rare that we can’t recover all the customers’ data from the internal drive.  When we get an external drive brought to us we still have around a 90% chance of getting everything back.  These odds greatly reduce when the customer has had a chop at recovering the data themselves.

In this case the lady was keeping the drive and heading home to start checking other computers, USB memory sticks and SD cards from cameras in the hope that some of her photos were on these devices.  I also suggested that she check her email sent items folder as we sometimes send a copy of our best or most treasured photos to friends or relatives. 

The moral of this story – always keep your original copy as well as a backup copy of important files and if something appears to be going wrong – take it to an industry expert instead of trying to fix yourself! 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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