We’ve all either gone through it or know someone who has.. The dreaded computer crash. Of course it happens at the absolute worst time (right before a deadline or right after you imported all the wedding pictures and wiped them from your camera card). You cringe as you realize it’s been a long time since your last backup (ok, maybe you don’t even have a backup)..  After you’ve exhausted your lungs cursing the computer itself, you realize how dreadful the situation is.. How could you have gone for so long with no backup, no safety net? And now what should you do?

OK, so what’s the first thing you should do when you’ve had a computer crash? The first thing to do is panic… Yes, panic….  I say that because that gives you an idea of the severity of this problem. To say, “oh, don’t panic!” doesn’t quite give the situation the due respect.  You see, there are many ways to get your data back, depending on the situation. However there are also some situations where no matter what, there is no way to get your data back. That’s why I jokingly say, “Panic!”…. I’m hoping that will scare you into taking time out now to get those backups started…

Alright, so what should you do once you have identified that your trusty computer has indeed “crashed”?

The first thing to do is a quick diagnosis:  Is the computer hard drive making any strange clicking or grinding or other noises? If yes, turn the computer off immediately- Running the computer while your hard drive is exhibiting these symptoms may cause irrevocable damage to the data on the hard drive, making it impossible for you to have anyone recover your files. If this is indeed what you are encountering, you will need to find a trustworthy computer hard drive recovery service.  The Data Rescue Center in Livermore California is an award-winning, BBB A+rated recovery service founded to provide high-level, honest recovery service options at a lower cost. www.thedatarescuecenter.com

However, if your hard drive is not exhibiting any strange sounds and you think it may just be a software issue, you can try a software recovery tool to recover your files.  You will want a recovery tool that does not need to be installed as you cannot install software onto a hard drive you are trying to recover. Look for software that comes on a bootable DVD or CD. Ideally the software would come with free technical support and offer a free demo to try-before-you-buy.  www.prosofteng.com offers both Windows and Macintosh hard drive recovery software with a free demo option and free technical support (available even before you purchase the software).

If you’re reading this article but are not having a hard drive issue right now, use this time to ensure you have a good backup program in place. Make sure you’re updating your backups regularly to protect yourself from losing valuable work documents, precious family digital pictures and all your other computer files which are at risk of loss when there is a hard drive crash.

Author: Jennifer Bell
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