Various factors can damage the data stored on your hard drive, not to mention how it is also possible to lose data by accidentally deleting or formatting a volume or drive. But don't panic! It is possible to prevent data corruption and if an unpredictable situation has kicked in, then you can still get your files back intact.
The most common reasons for data corruption vary from voltage spikes and malware to hardware failures and improper system shutdowns, but these are just a few of the complete list of potential reasons. What's more important is what can be done to prevent data corruption and how you can deal with the situation.
Recognizing a corrupted storage device gets harder as technology evolves. In the early days of gramophone records or VHS tapes, the warning signs were visible on the storage mediums themselves: records became muddy and tapes became grainier. Nowadays it is much harder to see the warning signs of file corruption.
Users can prepare for the worst in two ways:
- Perform regular backups.
- Keep an eye on disk health alerts by using the S.M.A.R.T. monitoring tool.
The reason for keeping a backup copy of every important file is simple: if a drive fails or the data is corrupted by a sudden system shutdown (such as by a power blackout), then you just switch the computer on and restore from any backup, perhaps even a full system restore if necessary. This can be done through manual backups, via a backup of your choice, or the extremely handy Time Machine tool for Apple owners.
The S.M.A.R.T. monitoring utility will signal ahead of a drive failure about to kick in, so you'll have time to purchase a replacement storage medium.
If none of the above applies, then you still have one more powerful option: data recovery software. These apps, such as Disk Drill or Stellar Mac Recovery, use specially designed algorithms to recover more than 200 file formats. They may be able to reconstruct the file in its original form, but that's the hardest part.
Since every file type is actually a piece of code and a data recovery app reconstructs them bit by bit during a raw recovery or deep scan, it is essential to find every piece of the binary information otherwise the file will become useless or parts will be unreadable by the operating system. To address such problems, there is a wide range of utilities available on the web, because data recovery apps can't always ‘repair’ the corrupted files. As one example: if you happen to have a corrupt MOV or MP4 file try using VLC, a highly popular and free multimedia player, to fix it.
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- Can I Recover Deleted Data From My Flash Drive or Memory Card?
- Can I Recover Deleted Data From My HDD?
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- Can I Recover Deleted Data From My SSD?
- Can You Recover Corrupted Files?
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- How Does Data Recovery Work?
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- How Much Does Data Recovery Cost?