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Q: My computer hard drive has failed and I have lost all my photos, what can I do?

A: I’m afraid we are seeing allot of hard drive failures at the moment, it think it must been in the air! Bear in mind that with all electro-mechanical devises – especially one that spins at up to 7,200rpm – hard drives are one of the common PC and notebook parts that are prone to failure. Hard drives are a sealed part, so don’t attempt to have a look inside as this could ruin any chance of data recovery.

I would take your computer or notebook with the hard drive still inside, to a reputable computer repair centre who will be able to advise you.

Some services will be available from your local PC store or service department, but this may also involve having the hard drive sent to a data recovery lab. They will be able to dismantle, recover data, reassemble and still fulfill the warranty on your hard drive. Sometimes though not all data can be recovered even by professionals in laboratories. Oh and data recovery is not cheap.

So with this in mind what can you do to help prevent this in the future?

As new hard drives are not guaranteed to always work, my advise is Backup, Backup, Backup and you guessed it –  BACKUP!

Backing up your data does not have to be expensive, a simple external hard drive, large USB flash drive, even DVD’s can be a simple way of storing your priceless data.

Look also at disk imaging software which can clone your hard drive to an external storage device, this can save hours of installation and customization of your PC.

Check if your broadband provider has online backup storage you can use. BT for example have a digital vault service where you can store data online.

Data recovery is only as good as your last backup. So if you find yourself thinking, “Well I wont bother just now, I’ll do it tomorrow” think again!, run your backup as scheduled task. Make it a daily task before you finish work, and if you are a  home user set aside time each week to keep those photographs as a cherished possession, not a distant memory.

Written by: Julian Flux – connect with Julian on LinkedIn

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