Lost Data? All is Not Lost

 

Your files should be backed up regularly,
but in case of data loss or accidental erasure,
CompuPane can help you recover your data

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One of the great advantages of computers is that they're "paperless." You never have to categorize and file and sort through reams of paper every time you want to view a document, graphic, or picture. But that can also be the really terrible thing about computers: there is no permanent, solid, "hard copy" of those documents, graphics, or pictures.  There's nothing but the fragile, ephemeral tracks of electrical impulses left behind in the molecules of a microscopically-thin layer of metallic oxide coating a small disc spinning at several thousand revolutions per minute. And if it stops spinning, or if some errant electrical impulse somehow leaves behind the wrong track, a lot of very important stuff disappears forever, as if it had never been there.

That's a very scary thought. It's also essentially untrue. Of course, there can be – and have been – instances in which data is permanently lost. But those instances are rare, and unless your computer has been at ground zero of a nuclear explosion, there's a very good chance that most, if not all, of what you thought had been lost can be regained.

Actually, there are some recovery techniques and tools that are so powerful and sophisticated that they're only available to the U.S. military or the federal government. But for the rest of us, there are plenty of less high-tech but no less effective ways to deal with 99.99% of problems related to data loss.

The first line of defense is made up of a few easy-to-follow procedures that can save you time and trouble.

If it's something as simple as inadvertently deleting a file or a folder that you didn't intend to, the fix can be as easy as to stop using your computer, turn it off, and consult someone you trust about the best way to proceed. If no other data has been written in the space occupied by the file or files you want to recover, it can be just a matter of running the right recovery software to make the data accessible to you again.

Problems with your hard drive can be more challenging. There can be "logical" issues which deal with the information stored on the drive that tell it how to find data stored there. If that information is somehow damaged or changed, certain files may become inaccessible. There are readily available, relatively inexpensive ways to fix that information to regain the needed access.

Drives can also develop mechanical problems. For example, the electric motor that spins the drive may fail, or the physical medium that stores information may be damaged. If your computer begins to make noises or exhibit other symptoms that sound suspicious, stop what you're doing and shut down your computer until you can have a professional evaluate the drive's condition.  

Bear in mind that even in the worst-case scenario, there are ways to recover much, if not all, the stored information. However, in the case of mechanical failures, the recovery costs can be significantly higher.

In any case, the important thing to remember is, "never say never." There are highly-trained and specially-equipped professionals that can recover virtually any data.

 

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