Data recovery

BBC News: Top 10 data disasters revealed.

Hard drives kept in dirty socks and the dangers of oiling your PC feature in a top 10 list of data disasters. In one case, a university professor needed help after he tried to fix a squeaky desktop computer by squirting it with WD-40 oil. The squeak went away, but so did his data. In another case, the decision to send a damaged hard drive to data recovery firm OnTrack, which compiled the list, in a pair of socks did more damage.

The full list from OnTrack’s website:

  • Helicopter Hi-jinks – Employees of a global telecommunications company dropped a laptop computer while working from a helicopter in Monaco.
  • Wash the Data Away – On a flight from London to Warsaw, a passenger packed his laptop and toiletries in the same bag. Unfortunately, his shampoo leaked and flooded everything in the bag, including the laptop, causing the hard drive to fail.
  • Not a Jolly Occasion – Comedian Dom Joly, presenter and co-creator of Trigger Happy TV, dropped his laptop, damaging a hard drive that held five thousand photos, six thousand songs, half a book he was writing and all of his old newspaper columns.
  • Rescuing the Research – A leading UK research university suffered a catastrophic data loss after a fire broke out in the computer science department on a weekend morning, damaging computer equipment with smoke and water from the fire brigade’s efforts.
  • Beware of Bananas – A customer left an old banana on the top of his external hard drive which proceeded to seep its contents into the drive, ruining the circuitry.
  • Hard Drive Speed Bump – It happens every year, but people continue to leave computers and hard drives in the path of moving vehicles. This year alone, Ontrack recovered from a laptop that was run over by a "people mover" at the airport, and several external hard drives stuffed in a rucksack that was backed over by a truck.
  • Tenth Time’s the Charm – A man reformatted his hard drive not once, not twice, but ten times before he realised there was some valuable information he needed recovered.
  • Finding Nemo – A customer returned from the holiday of a lifetime in Barbados to discover that he couldn’t access any of the snorkelling photos he took on his new "waterproof" digital camera.
  • Squeaky Drive Gets the Grease – A university professor heard a squeaking noise from the drive of his new desktop computer. To solve the annoying problem, he opened the case and sprayed the inside of the drive with WD-40. Although successful in stopping the drive from squeaking, his actions also prevented the drive from booting up.
  • Sock it to Me – Although the circumstances of the original data loss were unremarkable, the problem was intensified when the customer shipped his drive to Ontrack in a pair of dirty socks. The old socks didn’t provide the necessary protection during shipping and the resulting damage made the recovery more challenging than normal.

In summary, back the hard drive up!