How to Survive A Hard Drive Crashing: What To Do Now!

hard drive crashing

Despite keeping people entertained and connected, massive digitization of the population comes with a gaping flaw – your data can be wiped out instantly from a hard drive crash. No person is immune to crashes, grandparents are even routinely rocking out with with the latest smartphones and posting and sharing on Facebook. Photo printing is a rarity, e-book sales out preform the paper books, and schoolwork is being done on computers and tablets. Unless someone places a photo in a frame to display, all out data is staying in digital form. Our work, memories and entire lives are on those hard drives, yet a large portion of homes have no backups for the data on those drives.

If you are one of the many that have lost your data or had a computer stolen, then you know the anger and fear that quickly follows…hoping desperately to find that external drive or USB some of the data was copied to…a long time ago. You turn the house upside down before collapsing onto the couch and realize there is nothing left of your data.

Hopefully your hard drive is in good shape, but surprise failures do happen. The mechanical parts do not last forever, and even brand new drives can be damaged by a power surge. User error like deleting files accidentally, theft, or getting hit by a virus that destroys or holds your files ransom is always a risk. The last one can be very tricky. Most residential users are using applications like iCloud, Dropbox or OneDrive as their backup solution. They think if their hard drive crashes or gets stolen, they will just download the data from there. Regretfully, those handy applications are will not help if you are infected with ransomware. Almost as instantly as the malware infects your local files until pay up, those sync applications upload the infected data as well. Safe older versions of your data will no longer exist. This is because those applications are designed to give a constant mirror of your hard drive and not back it up.

Stop! Think for a moment about what you would lose if your hard drive failed right now. What is on your hard drive? Tax information, photos of children and grand-kids, warranties you have scanned, videos of first steps and school plays, maybe even your wedding day? Some losses are just inconvenient, like rebuilding a recipe collection or recreating your budget, but other losses can be heartbreaking. This is not a feeling we would wish on anyone!

What You Can Do

Used to be that only tech geeks would back up at home, but like all cool things, it went mainstream. As you may, or may not know, we recommend the 3-2-1 approach to backups of your data: 3 copies of data, with 2 local at your home and 1 should be offsite.

This usually means keeping your regular hard drive where data is now, one copy of files on a backup USB drive, and one that will automatically upload to the secure cloud when you add more files. This way the USB drive protects your data if the computer hard drive dies. The cloud copies protect you if something happens to the computer and USB drive, like fire, theft or flood. It is also a good idea to ensure the USB drive is unplugged afterwards, as a connected device can easily become infected during an attack or be stolen from a break-in.

Two of these methods actually require you to pay attention, and this is where many homes struggle. It is a rare household where someone will take the time to sit down every week and backup their data. It’s not tricky, but it is pretty boring and not a high priority in our busy lives. This is why I recommend a cloud backup solution or letting someone like me take care of it remotely.

You can retrieve files at will, without rolling back your entire drive, and have the peace of mind that even the smallest change to a file has been caught without you marking or flagging it in any form. What is even better is that since it is in the cloud, you can access your backup from anywhere. Did you leave a work file at home? No problem, it is in the cloud backup. On a vacation and need to check on some details or show off your great photos? No problem here, it is in the cloud backup. We can set you up with the perfect backup solution that will meet your requirements, especially during an emergency.

If you would like to protect your data before you lose it, or would like to discuss backups, just let me know or comment here.

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Why Do Computers Break?

why do computers breakComputers will always break at the worst possible time, and we know this, but what are the failures caused by? Often, people will think they are the ones who caused the issue because they were using it at the time, but unless you are doing something like online gaming, normal use is rarely the cause of a malfunctioning computer.

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Physical Damage

There will be accidents, they happen, but accidents do not mean you necessarily need to purchase a new computer. Electrical items and liquid spills could be a huge problem. This could range from going overboard with the cleaning spray on your screen, spill on your keyboard, or worse yet, a flood that makes it’s way to your computer. If you area laptop user, you need to be careful when choosing a surface to work on, like kitchen tables and cafes since they can have small puddles of liquids left behind on their surfaces. Now, if you are lucky, the liquids did not fry your circuits, but corrosion is a likely issue, as is stickiness that can “gum up” your internal parts. Similarly, computers don’t like to be dropped or knocked around. It does not make them very happy. Just a little thump from anger can cause disconnection, internal damage and loose cables.

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Computer parts, especially moving parts, like mechanical hard drives and fans, have an expected lifetime. Some computers can last a decade running constantly, while others are barely used and fail within their warranty period. When it comes to age being an issue, the warning signs will be additional noise or slowing down. However, the real breakage can happen when you turn on the computer, after it’s been off overnight or after a crash. Your computer will make a tremendous effort before giving up the ghost or do nothing at all. Last age is the luck of the draw. Manufacturing and quality do play a large part in how long a computer will keep working effectively or at all.

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Power Surges

Some people think that electricity is a constant stream that never changes, but computer are very sensitive to surges (to much electricity) and brownouts (not enough electricity). This can be noticed by lights flickering and dimming during a brownout, or glowing a little too strong during a surge. The electrical variations never last long, but they are not something you can control either, unless it is your house. These variations in electricity can easily break your computer. You can protect the computer with a surge protector for mild increase in electricity, but strong surges and brownouts will still cause damage.

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A big contributor to premature computer death is overheating. There are some computer parts that naturally run hot. Those parts need plenty of cooling to keep them working properly. From the outside you might not feel the heat, but the parts inside the computer can quickly build up heat and that heat needs to go somewhere. Airflow vents can become easily blocked by pet hair and dust. When this happens the temperature will continuously increase until the parts literally fry themselves and fail. Your computer, most times, will automatically shutoff when it reaches dangerous temperatures so it can cool down, but the more times this takes place, the higher temps will take their toll and your computer will more likely die.

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Hard Drive Failure

As most know, your data is stored on a hard drive. Most people have a mechanical hard drive and it works like a record players with a platter than spins and a needle that will read it. Liquid, surges, small bumps and overheating can trigger a hard drive biting the dust and failing. Besides making the computer unusable, the hard drive failure also means that your valuable data could also be lost. Some folks may be surprised by sudden hard drive failures, but they are often not a surprise at all. There are usually strange noises and regular crashes. When this starts happening it is time to back up your data in advance and call a computer repair shop near you.

We say this all the time, but like a car, a computer needs serviced regularly. I can check your computer both physically and it’s software and ensure it is running smoothly and will continue working for you.

Contact to get your machine services today!


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