You go to your computer, plug in your external hard drive, turn it on but nothing happens. The power is connected, the drive is on but it’s just not showing up in your computer navigation. Hard drive fail!
We had the unfortunate event of having a hard drive full of our personal photos corrupt on us last year. If you’ve ever been in that situation, you know it is one of the most awful feelings, the feelings of “I should have” and beating yourself up over not backing up your files and feeling like there’s nothing you can do. We’ve all had this happen, be it a complete crash or accidental deletion of files or formatting of disks.
Data recovery can cost you big bucks (like $$$-$$$$) so here are some things you can do to protect yourself from having this happen or to at least mitigating the loss. Let’s go over a few preventative tips:
1. Never store your files all in one place.
We’ve all heard the term, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, the same goes for storing your digital property. Our best suggestion is to actually have it in 3 different locations. One copy on your computer, for easy accessibility if working on the files regularly. Have a second on an external drive or USB and third, off-site in a cloud-base or online back up should anything ever happen to your home of office.
2. Do your research about storage devices before you buy.
The main reason we had this recent incident was due to a faulty generation of hard drives. We later found out that it was a very common problem occurring in the drives we had bought. Talk to the tech guys at the store and do a review search online before buying.
3. Choose a solid state hard drive if given the option.
Yes, solid state hard drives (drives that have the same sort of guts as a USB, no moving parts) are a lot more expensive but this can also save you from the risks that come with traditional hard drives. There are a lot fewer parts that can burn out, break or malfunction.
4. When downloading new files, download to all 3 places.
We all get busy and can forget to back up our files so if you make it a habit, just suck it up and take the time to download the files to all 3 of your storage places at one time, you will thank yourself later if anything goes wrong.
Ok, now for the big part. If you have lost or deleted files, there are a few different things you can do to save or mitigate the loss of the data.
Accidentally deleted files from a USB, memory card or camera, STOP USING THE STORAGE DEVICE AND DO NOT PLACE ANY MORE DATA ON IT!! In most cases this is a simple recovery and you can easily find a free software that will be able to recover the data. Most cameras will come with such a program. The important thing is to not erase the current data by overwriting it with new data. If you proceed to go and take more pictures or add new files to the device, you run the risk of erasing the previous data from the device.
If your hard drive will turn on but not connect to the computer, sometimes this is due to a faulty housing so you may try to remove the hard drive and place it into another identical housing to see if it turns on. If you are not comfortable with doing that or if your device warranty nullifies if you open the device, take it to the appropriate persons to have it looked at.
This is what happened to us and it wound up being a corrupt partition and we used Remo Recover (totally worth the money) which was able to access the drive and pull all of the information off. It took a few days to run its course but we got them back. This software was what the recovery company used but they didn’t do it properly so I downloaded it myself and thank God, was able to get all of the data off. Once the program had run its check, even though the file folders showed zero kb as the folder size, I opened the folder in the program and all of the files appeared. So don’t go by what the file folder kb says, actually look inside the folder to see if there are any files there.
If the hard drive won’t turn on, you dropped your hard drive or files are showing as partial and corrupt, this is the job for the experts and you’re going to have to prepare yourself to spend some cash. Data recovery can range anywhere from $100-$1000+ depending on what needs to be done so do yourself, and your wallet, a favour and take the steps to protect your data and stop putting it off! Listen to that little voice reminding you that you should back up your stuff, before it’s too late. Your memories and hard work are worth a couple of hours of your day. (I’m backing up right now too!)