How Can I Lose My Data, Let Me Count the Ways.

You wouldn't believe how many people are not backup up their computer files these days. I think the problem is that so many people have computers now. I know when I got my first computer back in the 80's, only geeks had computers and all geeks (back then) knew to backup everything they want to keep. The computer and software manufacturers have worked very hard over the years to make computers more friendly to the general population. As a result, computers are almost as common as microwave ovens in homes. I think the general consumer tends to treat the computer more like a microwave oven than us geeks do, just turn it on an use it and don't worry about it until it breaks. I guess if your microwave oven breaks you just go get a new one. Most computer failures are not permanent, instead software, configuration, or other problems make them unusable and they can often be fixed by someone with a little experience without the need for any serious repair and more importantly, data loss.

I want to point out that there are numerous ways that your data can be lost forever. So please think about what that would mean to you. What if your computer was wiped out and your data was lost forever? Would that cause you any heartache? Most people would feel a great loss and in a lot of cases it could cause months of trouble. If you are one of those people who just turn your computer on and use it without paying much attention to the possibility of data loss then please read on.

A baker's dozen ways that you can lose your data forever:
  1. Mechanical or electrical failure of your computer's hard drive.
  2. A virus or malicious code could permanently delete your data.
  3. An electrical surge could destroy your data.
  4. Liquid could spill into your computer and short out critical circuits on your hard drive.
  5. A broken pipe or leaky roof. See above.
  6. A natural disaster could damage or destroy your computer.
  7. Human error, such as accidental deletion, formatting or overwriting of your files.
  8. Erroneous code in an otherwise legitimate program could erase or overwrite data.
  9. Your computer could be stolen.
  10. Your hard drive could be damaged during an upgrade, repair, or installation of new hardware.
  11. Your computer gets dropped or otherwise physically damaged.
  12. Your computer is damaged or destroyed by fire.
  13. A hacker gains control of your computer and destroys your data.

Any of the above can cause your data to be lost forever with no chance of recover. You may have read about unformatting, unerasing, hard-drive recovery services and other measures to recover lost data. In many cases the loss is permanent and that is all there is to it.

If you have valuable data on a computer that is not being backed up then please take a moment of silence and pray for your data. It will eventually be lost for one of the reasons above or perhaps a reason that neither of us has thought of. Do yourself a big favor and start backing up your data now. Tomorrow might be the day that your data is destroyed.

Even with backups you can still lose all of your data. For example, if you are backing your data up everyday to a cd, tape, or portable hard drive and a fire burns your office, then your data and your backups are gone forever. The best solution is to use an online backup service. Online backup services backup your data to an off-site location. Rhinoback is good choice, its safe, reliable, and very reasonably priced.

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