Article ID : 00008202 / Last Modified : 11/04/2014

What steps can be taken to help prevent data loss on my hard disk drive?

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The tips below may help to prevent the loss of data from your hard disk drive or prepare you to recover from such a loss.

IMPORTANT: If model-specific information is needed to complete any of these steps, refer to the instructions supplied with the computer. Manuals are posted on your model support page.

  • Always back up your data. Test your backup and keep current copies of important data offsite.
  • Exit programs before shutting down your computer to avoid data loss and program corruption.
  • Use high-quality surge protectors or line conditioners with all computer equipment.
  • Turn off peripheral devices after shutting down the computer. Do not turn off devices while the hard disk is active, because this may cause directory damage.
  • Test your backup before reformatting your drive. If you use tapes, be sure you are familiar with the backup software before archiving important data.
  • Power down before moving a drive. When transporting a drive, prevent jostling by using a padded container.
  • Allow sufficient space around the cooling vents of the computer. Remove anything that might block airflow, such as books, papers or cloth. Do not put the drive on carpeting.
  • Avoid rapid temperature changes. As a general rule, if you are comfortable, the climate is appropriate for the drive. If the drive was previously in a very cold environment, allow your drive to warm up to room temperature before operating.
  • Use data recovery software with extreme caution. In the case of severe corruption or physical damage, it may make the problem worse.
  • Power down immediately if your drive makes unusual noises. These sounds may indicate a mechanical problem that could ultimately result in total data loss.

NOTE: Additional information about recovering lost data  is available.