Tips to Increase Your Chances of Recovering Lost Data: Part 2

What Never to Do When a Hard Drive Fails

Data loss can happen to anyone at anytime, bringing about panic, chaos, bad decisions and financial loss. In most cases lost data can be recovered, but you practically have only 1 shot at it.

Following the tips below will improve your chances of a successful recovery and prevent you from accidentally taking actions that could cause additional damage or reduce the chances of a successful recovery.

For what you should do when a hard drive fails see Part 1 here.

Never assume that lost data is irrecoverable.

Never operate a hard drive that makes unusual noises as this can cause serious damage to the drive.

Never install new software or hardware on a computer without an up-to-date data backup.

Never operate a hard drive after accidentally deleting files. (When a computer deletes a file, it does not actually overwrite the data until it needs the space, it only removes relevant entries in the file tables. Using the computer in any way will reduce your chances of recovering the data successfully.)

Never install data recovery software on the same drive/partition containing your lost data; you will likely overwrite the data with the installation.

Never open your hard drive; you will expose sensitive components to contamination and damage. In addition, hard drive components are extremely precise and cannot be serviced by common IT professionals or technicians.

Never swap circuit boards or replace the electronics on your hard drive. This can cause firmware/system conflicts that may result in major problems.

Never operate your drive if was damaged by a liquid. The moisture will cause head contact that will destroy the drive.

Never run the recovery software furnished with your PC. It serves only to restore the system, not your data and can overwrite your data.

Never take the advice on recovering data on a RAID array from OEM support staff unless they are 100% sure of the current configuration.

Never attempt to rebuild a RAID array unless you are sure which drive failed, why it failed, and when it failed.

Never restore a database before making copy of the current database files.

Never use third party SQL recovery and utility programs on the original database files.

Never attempt to defragment a data store containing mail server or database file. This often causes data store to be inconsistent, resulting in data corruption.

Never attempt to recover data if you are not sure why your hard drive failed or why data was lost.

Never place a fire-damaged drive in refrigerator to cool it. Let it cool naturally and send the entire computer for recovery.

Never attempt to dry a water-damaged drive by exposing it to heat. Instead, place the drive in a sealed anti-static/plastic bag that will keep it damp before shipping.

For what you should do when a hard drive fails see Part 1 here.

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