Common causes of data loss in homes and small businesses

We spend entirely too much time trying to recover computers from data loss here at Dave’s Computers in New Jersey. It is way more common than it should be and is easily preventable when you know how. In an effort to help all our customers learn how to prevent data loss I have put together this quick rundown on the most common causes of it.

The idea is to get you to think about how you keep your data and how you protect it. The more you know, the easier it should be to prevent data loss.

Here are the most common causes of data loss that we see here at Dave’s Computers.

Not backing up your data

This is more a symptom rather than a cause but still results in data loss. Not taking regular backups of your data is the most common way you lose it. While computers are definitely more reliable than at any time previously, failures still happen and by the time your hard drive fails, it will already be too late.

Not paying attention to warnings

Depending on your computer and the type of hard drive you have, you should see warnings before a drive fails. If you use Windows, Event Viewer should warn you of read/write or I/O errors on your hard drive. If your drives are SMART enabled, you should see SMART errors popup that warn you of potential errors or issues with your drive.

I’ll get back to it

See an error or lose a file but are busy with something else? Think ‘I’ll get back to it’ and then forget all about it? Both are common ways you will lose data. The more you use your computer after you lose something, the lower the chance we have to recover it. Hard drives write dynamically and could easily overwrite the piece of data you lost before we can recover it.

Thinking it will never happen to me

The final very common cause of data loss is  thinking ‘it will never happen to me’. It will at some point so you may as well prepare for it. Hard drives have a finite lifespan referred to as ‘MTBF’ or Mean Time Before Failure. This is often measured in thousands of hours but most home or small business users have no idea how long their particular hard drive has been in use.

There is a saying that is relevant across all walks of life. ‘Prepare for the worst and hope for the best’. Taking a backup can be done in less than 20 minutes and doesn’t need to be done very often unless you’re a business. Both Windows 10 and Mac have built in backup utilities so you don’t need to buy or install anything.

If you want to know how to use these backup utilities, visit Dave’s Computers in New Jersey. We will be happy to help!