Preserving and Recovering Data from a Hard Drive

Lost your data? Hard drive gone bad? Your next steps are critical!

To avoid permanent data loss and to maximize the chance of recovering your important data, follow these important guidelines.

  • If your drive is making clicking, grinding or whirring sounds, shut down your computer immediately. These sounds could be the read/write heads hitting or scraping the platters. Severe or complete data loss could result.
  • Do not install any software onto the hard drive, including data recovery software, as this may write over the data you are trying to recovery. Also, do not re-install your operating system for the same reason.
  • Do not use your computer if you believe your hard drive is damaged or failing. It can result in more damage and consequently more difficult to recover your data.
  • Hard drives are designed to operating in an air-tight, dust-free environment. Do not attempt to disassemble a hard drive as sensitive parts can be damaged beyond repair making data recovery difficult or impossible.
  • Do not shake, drop, physically jar or jolt, or expose the hard drive to extreme temperatures.
  • Unplug the power to the computer before removing the hard drive and handle the drive carefully. Like other electronics devices, hard drives are sensitive to static electricity.
  • The process of recovering lost data is a detailed process. While there are off-the-shelf data recovery software available to the general public, it is recommended that you contact Meridian Outpost and let a professional data recovery specialist to do the job. Sometimes there is only one chance to recovery the data successfully. It is not performed properly the first time, there may not be another opportunity.
  • If your data is critical, make sure you choose a reputable recovery firm like Meridian Outpost that can properly recover data from your hard drives.
Hard Drive Opened

When Data Disaster Strikes

  • If possible, back up the data immediately.
  • Do not use utility software if the drive makes scraping, tapping, clicking or humming sounds.
  • Do not power up a device that has obvious physical damage or is making unusual sounds.
  • Shut down the computer to avoid further damage to the drive and its data.
  • Do not attempt recovery yourself on severely traumatized drives (i.e., turning the computer off and on, using over-the-counter diagnostic tools). This may cause further damage or permanent data loss.
  • If you've lost critical data, recovery service is your best and safest option.
  • Don't assume your data is unrecoverable.

Preventing Data Loss

Everyone should adopt strategies to ensure critical information is protected from corruption and loss.

Best Practices

  • Never upgrade any system without a verified working backup of your important data.
  • Use up-to-date hardware and software utilities for data security, such as firewalls and virus protection.
  • Scan all incoming data (e.g., emails, web surfing) for viruses, spyware, including packaged software.
  • Use ventilation, fans and/or air conditioning to keep servers and workstations at the proper operating temperature.
  • Connect systems to a surge suppressor or an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) to protect against power surges.
  • Power down and take extreme caution when moving computers.
  • Avoid static discharge when touching or handling the media, especially in excessively dry environments.

Backup Strategies

  • Invest in redundant backup systems.
  • Establish a structured backup procedure to make copies of all critical data files, using software compatible with the operating system and applications.
  • Periodically test the backups to verify that data, especially databases and other critical files, are being backed up properly.
  • Keep at least one verified copy of critical data offsite.


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