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

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

    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.