While PC storage is becoming increasingly reliable and secure, Hard Drive data loss remains a prolific problem for many Australian businesses. If your company has lost access to critical files, the operational disruption—and potential lost income—could be severe. 

But with expert help from Geeks2U, there’s a strong chance you can reacquire those invaluable missing files. 

This post will examine common Hard Drive data loss causes, how a Hard Drive technician can recover lost data, and the importance of data backup services. Then, to round off the article, we’ll provide a few handy data loss prevention tips to safeguard your files in the future. 

The Most Common Causes of Data Loss From A Hard Drive:

From accidental deletion to hardware failures and ransomware attacks, your Hard Drive data can go AWOL in various ways.

Human Error

Although hackers and haywire hardware put your systems at risk, the most common data loss cause is human error. Every employee makes mistakes, and it’s not unusual for staff to inadvertently delete critical business files. Another common blunder is reformatting an incorrect PC or external drive. It happens more often than you think.

Thankfully, if addressed promptly, accidentally deleted files can usually be fully restored. 

Hardware Failures

Even the most robust storage drives will fail eventually, causing the data within to become instantly inaccessible. Other components, such as the CPU or motherboard, can malfunction, preventing access to data on that specific device.

A storage drive failure may require a complex laboratory repair job. If another hardware component fails, a technician can swap the storage drive into a working device to recover the data. 

Damaged Hardware

Have you ever been told to unplug your PC during a thunderstorm? That’s because sudden power surges are notorious for wrecking internal hardware, consequently corrupting data and purging crucial system files. While storms pose the biggest threat, other natural disasters like floods and bushfires can wreak havoc on your hardware—the surge typically occurs when the power comes back. 

An employee can also physically damage hardware by knocking a laptop off the desk or spilling hot coffee on an external drive. 

Corrupted Software or System Files

Sometimes, data goes missing when operating systems crash or files become corrupted. These instances are unpredictable and difficult to prevent. A data backup procedure is the only reliable defense. 

Application errors are another common data loss culprit. If a program crashes halfway through your day, you’ll lose all your hard work until your most recent save. 

Computer Viruses & Malware

A plethora of nasty viruses proliferate through the internet, and even the most reliable anti-virus programs can’t keep them all at bay. Once your PC is infected, some viruses and malware will begin deleting or corrupting crucial system files with catastrophic consequences. 

Data Loss Recovery Software & Physical Hardware Repairs

A skilled data recovery specialist will determine what caused the issue and adopt one of two approaches.

Data Loss Recovery Software

Data loss recovery software is the fastest and most cost-effective option. But it’s only viable when all your hardware remains intact. The efficiency of this approach primarily depends on your file system. 

For example, the most common end-user device file system, Windows NTFS, doesn’t permanently delete data. Rather, it simply marks a file entry as “unused” and writes over it when necessary. A skilled technician can use deterministic and heuristic algorithms to pinpoint and restore missing files—but only if they haven’t been overwritten.

The ApFS file system (Mac OS) also uses a copy-on-write procedure, which copies each data block before applying changes. This process makes hard drive recovery relatively straightforward. 

Other file systems, such as FAT, BSD, and UFS, make it more challenging to restore lost data, especially when a storage device has been formatted. 

An expert Geeks2U technician will analyze your conundrum and determine whether data loss recovery software is the best approach. 

Hardware Repairs

When mechanical or electrical components have been physically damaged, the technician must adopt a different approach. Rather than utilizing data recovery software, the specialist will repair the damaged storage drive to a usable state. 

That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get your storage drive back. In most cases, a technician will only repair a hardware component enough to extract critical content and back it up to an external drive. This complex process may take several days, and 100% data recovery is never guaranteed. 

Recovery is easier when a non-storage-related component fails, such as the keyboard or screen. The technician can remove the functioning storage drive and copy the lost data onto a new device. 

A Geeks2U technician will investigate the viability of a software-based approach first. If necessary, they may have to opt for a more complex computer hardware repair. 

How Often Are Data Recovery Services Successful?

The likelihood of retrieving lost data depends on your computer’s file system and the condition of its hardware. While there are never any guarantees, a qualified technician can usually restore some or all of your lost files.

But some exceptions exist. If you never saved your data (for example, a program crashed before you could save your work), recovery may not be possible. Thankfully, most modern software suites have an in-built automatic save feature running in the background. 

Moreover, recovery may prove impossible if your file system has already overwritten any deleted files. Stop using your computer immediately after a data loss event. 

Prevent File Loss through Data Backups

Hard drive data recovery is often possible, but it can quickly become a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. Investing in an automated backup service is the best way to mitigate the risk. That way, you won’t have to rely on your employees to manually backup files daily. Choose from an on-site solution, cloud-based storage, or a hybrid combination of the two. 

Data backup programs require configuring a Recovery Point Objective (RPO). This term refers to the backup age your business can tolerate. For example, a retail store could afford to lose data for one trading day, while an investment brokerage will want to create backups every few seconds. 

You’ll also set a Recovery Time Objective (RTO), which refers to how long your business can afford to be offline. Small brick-and-mortar stores have less demanding needs, while high-yield online stores can’t afford any downtime at all. 

Naturally, the RPO and RTO affect the ongoing cost of an automated data backup subscription. If you need guidance, Geeks2U can suggest the most appropriate backup solution for you. 

Data Loss Prevention Tips

“Prevention is better than cure,” as the adage goes. Follow these data loss prevention tips to avoid running into trouble. 

  • Set up an automated data backup procedure.
  • Use power surge protectors to safeguard your hardware from blackouts and storms.
  • Don’t eat or drink at your desk, or do so with utmost caution.
  • Disconnect your external hard drives before unplugging them. 
  • Be careful when deleting files, partitioning devices, or reformatting PCs. 
  • Install a subscription-based anti-virus & malware program from a reputable provider.
  • Invest in reliable hardware and replace your IT infrastructure every five years. 
  • Update your operating system, anti-virus software, and applications frequently. 

Get a Data Recovery Specialist Today with Geeks2U

Experiencing a disruptive data loss event?

Then contact Geeks2U today. Our highly qualified Hard Drive data recovery technicians will rapidly analyze the issue and determine the most effective approach. Boasting speedy turnaround times, extensive expertise, and a no-data-no-fee guarantee, we’re Australia’s leading data recovery specialist