Attention college students – don’t make this mistake!

Portable hard drive failing?

By Martin White

Martin is a Director, Chief Troubleshooter, and Founder of PC-FIXED.  He has worked in the IT industry for over 30 years and likes to explore and develop ideas for the application of the latest technology in everyday lives.

I had a call for help this week which highlighted a common mistake made by students who use portable hard drives and memory sticks. My customer’s son had discovered his hard drive wasn’t being recognised by his laptop.  At least a year’s worth of coursework was on it, along with other documents and photos, and he had no backup.

Sadly, these units can fail unexpectedly (usually just when you need them most). So here’s the thing – please don’t use these devices for your primary storage, they should only be used for keeping or transferring copies of files, pictures, or coursework etc.

Key advice:

Always have more than one copy of your important information on different devices.

If you have a drive that stops working out of the blue –

  • Rule #1 Disconnect it immediately and stop using it
  • Rule #2 is to bring it to an expert.

To put it bluntly, successful recovery depends on a number of factors and the more it has been tampered with, by someone who doesn’t know what they are doing, the less likely that even a professional lab can get anything useful back.

At PC-FIXED we will make an initial assessment of a problem drive and, if appropriate, will recommend sending it to our prefered data recovery lab. We will never attempt recovery ourselves that could jeopardise these lab services and our advice is to avoid anyone who says they’ll ‘have a go’ – there’s usually only one chance to retrieve data, so you don’t want an amateur to blow it!

What to look out for:

Some symptoms to be aware of that might forewarn of a drive beginning to fail include

  • Unusual noises i.e. clicking or buzzing sounds coming from the drive itself
  • Delays in the drive responding when first plugged in
  • Slowness in reading or writing files to it.

If we can get to a drive before it fails we can almost always save all your data.

For more information contact us at PC-FIXED on 01785 816565 or use the contact form on our website

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