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Stop! Don’t Make Things Worse

When something stops working, it’s natural to attempt to find a way to fix it before calling for help. We’re all used to the odd random issue, which might cause the operating system to crash, or some things to stop working, which are fixed by rebooting the computer. This is however often masking an underlying issue, particularly if it’s a regular occurrence. If it’s a problem with a hard disk drive, it will eventually get worse, and lead to serious damage.

If the computer will not boot, it is important not to panic, but instead stop and assess the options. Attempting to keep rebooting a computer particularly if it is making unusual noises, can potentially lead to an escalation of the damage causing a total loss of data. The sensible course of action is to call for help, which could include consulting with a data recovery company who can give the correct guidance.

Typical Scenarios

A common problem seen is when a disk drive suffers corruption of the partition table or volume boot sector at the front of the disk, causing the volume to be inaccessible. In this situation the operating system may display a dialog box saying that the drive should be formatted before proceeding. In such a scenario, it is important to stop, and consider what this would do.

It is tempting to either give the disk to a friend who dabbles, or even try running some software yourself. If the problem is due to data being corrupted by malware, this approach may work, but if it’s a physical disk issue, working on the disk could cause further damage to occur.

Truth is the Best Option

We all hate letting someone else know that our knowledge is limited, particularly if we’ve attempted some speculative solution which didn’t work. It is useful to the engineers to know what steps if any were taken to attempt a recovery of the data, as well as the sequence of events which lead to failure in the first place. This information could be vital in determining the best course of action for our data recovery engineers to take with a given storage media.

A common reason for someone not wanting to tell the truth is that they do not want their boss to find out the real cause of the failure. Always tell the data recovery engineers what happened, as they will in almost all cases determine what occurred, which may waste valuable time. This is especially important if a laptop was dropped, or liquid was spilt onto the device.

Stop Digging a Hole

The phrase “when in a hole, stop digging” is well known, and particularly apt when it comes to data storage devices when a failure has occurred. Before doing anything else, it is important to understand the nature of the failure, as that will determine the best course of action, and what will make the situation worse. Stop and think before doing anything, to avoid making the situation worse, which could reduce the likelihood of a successful data recovery.

One thing that data recovery engineers hate to hear is when somebody has attempted to recover the data themselves. While in some cases it does increase the complexity of the data recovery, the problems caused by this in many other situations could in the worst cases lead to an unnecessary total loss of data. This extends from the most common devices such as USB sticks, laptop and desktop hard drives, right through the most complex enterprise level RAID servers.

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