Data Loss: Why it happens and how to prevent it

Inability to access your data stored on the data storage device could be caused by many reasons, from those that are easy to fix to those which are completely impossible to fix. If the damage is irreversible then data loss will occur. The causes of the failure of your hard drive or CD-ROM drive could vary from a bad connection due to a loose wire (which is easily recoverable) to damage to the media itself, which could still be recoverable in many cases. If the damage occurred to the drive’s electronics, it most likely could be fixed. If the damage occurred to the, for example, system areas of the disk, leaving the data zone intact, those data could be theoretically, and (in some cases) practically, recovered by a professional. But, if the data zone is damaged, the data in the damaged area will not be recovered since the loss of data has already taken place. In this case, one can only rely on the back-up…

There are two major reasons for your data storage device failure: poor handling and manufacturing defects.

Poor handling:
Today’s hard drives are capable of handling operational shock up to 300 G, however their electronics or mechanical components still could be damaged by the vibration or by an impact. Liquid spilled on the drive may short electric connections or even penetrate inside the drive, especially inside the drives with removable media (memory sticks, memory cards, tape drives, etc.).

One possible reason for damage to the drive’s electronics is an electro-static discharge, a so called ESD, which often happens between your fingers and the drive’s body. During this discharge a large potential can be generated at the very small gaps and in small areas causing heat dissipation, melting and disintegration of the IC elements. This is why most electronics and storage devices are shipped inside a special ESD-protecting plastic bag.

One biggy: Don’t drop your laptop or your potable hard drive! Dropping is one of the most common causes of hard disk failure.

Manufacturing defects:
Unfortunately, even those of us who handle things with great care are not immune from disaster. All media, drives and storage system components undergo thorough testing, but in spite of this, statistics guarantees a few bad drives among hundreds of good ones… You may be unlucky and buy one of those. But even in this case, data back-up and a good manufacturer’s warranty can make losses partially or completely recoverable.

How to prevent Data Loss:

  • The best prevention is to always remember to back-up your data!
  • Accidents may happen: coffee is spilled on your laptop, hard driveĀ falls on the floor, the hard drive does not want to spin after being unused during 2 humid summer months.
  • Prevent impacts on your storage device, especially when it is running! For example, don’t move your desktop when the power is on!
  • Avoid electro-static discharge (ESD) during installation of the drives and later handling. Do not touch electric contacts on the controller board with your bare hands. When handling the drives, try to keep your other hand on a metal part of your PC, which will serve as a “ground”.
  • Keep away your magnetic storage from strong magnetic fields (Mobile phones, strong electrical currents, TV sets, magnets etc.

What to do if you have lost your data?


Hard Disk Drives: data loss and recovery

Do not try it at home… Probably the most complex data storage system available.

Typically, magnetic drives are assembled in the clean room conditions to prevent contact interfaces from being exposed to contamination. Since, in a typical room environment there are zillions of particles, opening the disk outside the clean room would, most likely, significantly shorten the drive’s life.

Also, do not open the drive since, if it is opened, the warranty will be voided, and you will lose the drive along with the data…

WARNING!!! Repeated attempts to restart the drive after it has failed to start may cause irreparable damage. Also do not try to recover data from your hard drive by using data recovery software downloaded from the internet. This will further reduce the chances of a proper data recovery!


In case of data loss or damage to your storage media or drive, do not panic and do not try to fix the problem immediately – you may destroy your last hope yourself (for example, by repeatedly restarting your hard drive hoping that it will finally boot-up in spite of that squeaky sound coming from the inside…SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP! Call us on 0207 516 1077 for free consultation.