Over the past week I have been struggling through a situation over which I’ve heard many a Temple student lament: computer data loss.
I, like many students, store the bulk of my assignments and other information on my computer. Occasionally, all that hard work disappears when the computer disk unexpectedly fails. This time, for me, the disk that failed was my “trusty” hard drive.
In fact, this is an almost brand-new hard drive that I bought a little over a month ago to upgrade my computer.
As a savvy consumer, I purchased a drive made by one of the most reputable companies: Western Digital. Yet, for the second time in about a month, the drive has crashed and I have lost my work.
I had, luckily, taken the recommended precaution and made a backup of all my data, so I have not suffered a total loss. Unfortunately, my backup was not recent enough for me to be completely in the clear.
In desperation, I called tech support, and then purchased the data recovery software they recommended.
Although I was able to find the program, called Lost & Found, at an online store, the company that programmed it has discontinued support for the product. It is pretty easy to understand why.
The product offers to perform a veritable miracle with no guarantee that it will actually work. The Fountain of Youth, or Holy Grail, that this program dangles before the user’s eyes is to restore lost data from disk crashes.
People in distress buy the program praying for a miracle, and if the miracle does not occur to their satisfaction, they may get angry with the deity, or software company, they prayed to.
The other reason is Microsoft’s barrage of new operating systems and their pattern of rendering old but useful software dysfunctional.
The three operating systems Microsoft debuted in the past two years have left software developers, IT departments, and computer users scrambling to keep their essential software afloat.
Apple, at least, has had the good sense to allow it’s new Mac OS X to run older software via an older version of Mac OS.
Lost & Found has not been an instant cure for my data woes. Like all miracles, one must put forth their own effort as well. That means more than just paying $70 to purchase the software.
Data recovery software like Lost & Found requires a certain amount of technical knowledge to operate effectively. The other option, and the only means for severe cases of data loss, is to visit the high priests of data salvage: high-priced data recovery services.
Even the best data recovery services are not always able to recover all data. If you do suffer data loss, try to avoid using or making changes to the disk: This will make it easier for data recovery software or specialists to restore your data.
According to one source, data loss is most frequently caused by computer malfunction, followed by human error, and least frequently caused by maliciousness.
The best advice is to make frequent backups, and check to be certain that your backups are reliable.