Practical advice on what *NOT* to do when your hard drive fails

by Sally J.

in * How to PRESERVE Family History Treasures, Free Articles / Blog

Hard drive failure.

It’s a nightmare, no doubt about it. And it will happen to you eventually.

Here’s a quick tip on what you should never do if your hard drive crashes: Restart the machine.


Because accidentally deleted files could be overwritten. Permanently, irrevocably overwritten.

Below is a peek at a damaged JPEG file. The MZ in the right hand column is where it was overwritten. This photo was completely lost.

But, wait a minute!

If you can’t start up the computer, how on earth can you run the software that will attempt to recover your data?

According to Computerworld, if you don’t have a bootable CD you’ve got to remove the hard drive from the machine and either install it in another computer as a secondary disk drive or attach it to another machine.

I learned all this from a great article in Computerworld:

Surviving a home data disaster: How Shirley got her files back.

Author Robert Mitchell explains:

My experience should give you a good idea of what you’d face in a similar situation — as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the tools and techniques a recovery expert used to recover Shirley’s files. Along the way, you’ll also find tips on what you can do to prevent problems in the first place and ensure the best possible outcome when — not if — a data recovery problem crops up on your machine.

Read the full article here.

And then go back up all your important files. Anything you don’t want to lose. You won’t regret it. Heck, you might even sleep a little easier.


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