There is no arguing to the fact that the data storage industry has seen significant advances due to evolving technology. But these chances do not suffice to put an end to the agony of data loss that has been long known to plague almost every PC user. Any type of hard drive data corruption can be daunting and may lead you to permanent data loss. We can summarize the most common culprits behind a data disaster as follows:
Bad Exits from Windows
This can result primarily from power failures, unexpected PC crashes, and the like. You may accidentally switch off your PC or a bad power supply may force the PC to shut down disgracefully. This can affect file system operations and cause corruption to data residing on the hard drive. In other cases, you may see incorrect file lengths, lost cluster chains, incorrect free space count, corrupt directories, bad clusters, and more.
Hard Drive Disk Defects
These problems can surface in one of these forms: catastrophic failures, bad sectors, head crashes, surface wear, etc. A failing hard drive starts showing signs much before the actual catastrophe takes place. You may hear beeping noise on startup, which indicates your drive is anticipating a failure. You may find errors on running ScanDisk or even with the SMART monitoring tool. If your drive has such symptoms, then you are surely heading for some big trouble.
In general, any operations that involve direct access to the disk are handled by the operating system itself or the drivers that are associated with a particular hardware device. Despite this protection, some application software tend to perform incorrect writes and completely destroy your data. Errors in the operating system or device driver code may also lead to file system insanity and data loss.
Viruses and Malware
Viruses are the biggest threat to data stored on a PC. Viruses or malware may target specific type of files or may overwrite some areas of the disk with garbage. These are diligently programmed to cause corruption in a specific pattern. Some of these may harm your computer even before the operating system takes control.
A major percentage of data loss incidents result from human errors. Naive users with a little knowledge may try to make changes to system files. If something wrong happens, it would leave your computer at the risk of a crash. Accidental deletion of files is another common culprit that may cost you years’ worth of data in a fraction of time.
Bad Sectors on Hard Drive
Any physical drive consists of mechanical components that are doomed to fail at some point in time. As a result of wear and tear of the drive parts or due to extensive usage over a period of time, a hard drive may develop bad sectors causing damage to your data.
There are professional hard drive recovery software on the market nowadays. These tools do a good job of recovering data off a bad or corrupt hard drive. However, if your data is overwritten due to media damage or any other reason, you may be at the peril of permanent data loss.
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Last updated: 08/04/2014