Volume 19, Number 4
June 2002

Data Recovery Tips

No matter how hard you try to protect your data, your system may still be victimized by data loss from various causes. If your work disappears, knowing what steps to take immediately can help keep your data loss from becoming a data disaster.

Don't panic. Never assume lost data is unrecoverable. Consult a qualified data recovery expert as quickly as possible.

Never use data recovery software if you suspect an electrical or mechanical failure. Using data recovery software on a faulty hard drive may destroy what was otherwise recoverable data.

Use "undelete" tools to save your data from human error. Most disk utility packages allow you to retrieve an erased file. However, this tool must be used immediately after the deletion, or the computer will write new data over the deleted file. Deleted Windows files are stored in the recycle bin and can be restored so long as you haven't emptied the recycle bin. Check the Windows documentation or help file for more information.

Do not try to clean or operate equipment damaged by a natural disaster. If you fall victim to a natural disaster like a flash flood or a twisting tornado, the only option is to call a data recovery expert immediately. Your chances for successful recovery are greatly reduced by do-it-yourself operations.

If your data is victimized by computer crime, seek professional advice. Intentional data deletion, duplication, and theft increasingly threaten valuable computer information. Data recovery specialists can uncover a trail for criminal computer activity or provide expert electronic evidence to help make your case. Check whether the specialist has experience in computer forensics and electronic discovery.

Create and maintain reliable backups. Make sure to back up your system regularly, and verify that the backups work and are complete and error-free.


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