The Do’s and Do Not’s of Data Loss
Hardware failure and data corruption can bring about panic, chaos and bad decision making in a very short period of time. PLEASE STOP WHERE YOU’RE
AT and take just one minute to read this.
Stand Alone Drive Failure:
- DO NOT open your hard drive and expose the media!!! There is nothing inside that needs the attention of a common user or do-it-yourselfer. Only a qualified hard drive data recovery engineer in a certified clean room environment should ever open a drive.
- DO NOT try to swap circuit boards on modern drives. There may be firmware/system area conflict issues that may cause major problems.
- DO NOT put your drive in the freezer and then try to spin it up. It is possible that moisture has condensed on the media surfaces. This WILL cause head contact if it has and will destroy the drive.
- DO NOT listen to your friends or continue to look for home remedies on the net such as the one mentioned above, seek professional help if you value the lost data.
- DO NOT continue to power cycle a clicking or non-responsive drive; it’s not going work for you and may make the drive unrecoverable. If it should come “ready” by some chance, the possibility of it loading the OS for you, “just one more time”, is a million to one.
- DO NOT install recovery software on the same drive/partition that you’re lost files are on, you will overwrite them with the installation.
- DO NOT run the recovery CD/DVD furnished with your PC. Most OEM helpdesk techs Don't care about your data; they only want the hardware back on line.
- DO try to slave your drive into a working system to check for readiness and file system integrity. You may be able to copy your data with no problem if only the OS is corrupt or if there is a hardware issue with the original host computer.
- DO try an undelete demo from the net to see if what you’re looking for is available for recovery, if so, purchase the tool.
- DO seek professional help if you’re not 110% sure of what you’re doing. You can learn basic recovery procedures on an expendable system.
- DO back up your data early and often. It’s not if, it’s when.
- DO NOT take the advice from any OEM support staff unless the system was originally configured by them and nothing has changed since.
- DO NOT try to rebuild an array unless you know exactly which drives failed, why they failed, and most importantly, WHEN they failed. RAID recalculation incorporating old data from a drive that fell off line first will corrupt all of your data. We see this on about 30% of all RAID 5 recoveries that enter our facilities.
- DO NOT TRY ANYTHING unless you are ultimately familiar with the hard drives, configurations and controller routines.
- DO stop where you are and call DRS at 877-304-7189 if you value the data on your array.
- DO NOT make a backup of the database to the same drive.
- DO NOT use the disk or array if the database corruption was caused by hard drive failure, RAID collapse, bad sectors or check disk utility.
- DO NOT restore a database until you make a copy of the current database files. Sometimes the backup is outdated or corrupted and the restore process will overwrite the actual data.
- DO make a copy of the database and log files to an alternate physical drive before you do anything.
- DO NOT try to attach or repair a damaged database without making a backup copy of all .edb, .stm, and .log files. This applies to any and all repair utilities both from Microsoft and 3rd party developers. They may cause further data loss since objects in the database may be deleted even if they are actually salvageable.
- DO NOT try to defragment a data store if mail server(s) were not brought offline properly. This often causes data store to be inconsistent, and may result in corruption if defrag is attempted.
- DO NOT open a tech support case with Microsoft or send your damaged database to any recovery company without making a backup copy of your mail data store.
- DO backup your data store often. Incremental backup every day and a full backup once or twice a week is sufficient.