I know, I know. . . You should always back up your precious data. Unfortunately, there are times when the catastrophic strikes at the least opportune time. Lately, I’ve had to deal with three such crashes. Most of the data had been backed up on other hard drives. There was one instance though where the drive tanked and the user thought the data was being backed up. Bad news was that it wasn’t and he lost emails, contacts, photos and settings for a key business program. It made for a very bad week. Really bad news is that the failure was not due to software, but hardware so our options are now limited. Good news for the rest of us is that most of the time software or user error causes the problem and there are programs available out there at little or no cost to help ameliorate if not eliminate the problem.
Basic tips in the case of a data disaster:
- Your hard drive is making a weird noise – stop using it immediately. Don’t load any software of even simple files onto it. If it is your main hard drive find another PC to use as your recovery tool.
- Do not load recovery software onto the drive you are trying to recover. It may over write or corrupt critical points on the drive where your lost data is stored.
- Use an external storage device or other internal hard drive to store your recovered data. If your hard drive is on the verge of failure – mechanically – you want it to work as little as possible.
These are the sites I found that have information on free recovery software with download links included. Download.com is a good source, but more often than not the software is not free and comes with many limitations until you purchase a licensed version.
http://www.dtidata.com/free_data_recovery_software/ (DTI Data also has class 100 clean room facilities available for hardware failure recovery services. Hope you never have to use them.)
As I find more sites I’ll post updates to this information.