External Hard Drive Warning

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VHG | 12:09 Sun 29th Nov 2015 | Technology
5 Answers
Many of us now backup much of our personal data to External Hard Drives.

We tend to think we are "safe" having all our data backed up.

However today I plugged in one of my External Hard Drives and Windows says it could not find any files on it (for the technical among you it had lost the Windows file structure and says it is now a RAW disk).

I can SEE the folders and file names on the disk, but I cant actually open any.

I have done a search on the web and it seems there are various tools that MAY be able to rescue some or all of the files, but it is "touch and go". I will try that over the next few days.

Luckily I am a VERY over cautious person and I actually backup ALL my files to 3 different external hard drives. It is a pain do do this, but when you lose all of your files on one external hard drive it makes you glad you are over cautious.

So I have not lost any data, but it made me realise for those people who only have ONE backup of their files, they are living dangerously.

So my advice would be:

Backup all your files in more than one place, on a second external hard drive or up to the cloud or on to CDs or DVDs (or maybe copy them to a spare PC or a friend or relatives PC).

Treat your external hard drive carefully (it does have delicate moving parts). Try not to drop it or treat it roughly.

Always use the Windows utility to "Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media" before unplugging (I always shut down my PC as well before unplugging an External Hard Drive to ensure it has stopped spinning).

Consider buying an External Hard Drive, copying all your files to it, then taking it to a friend or relatives house. Maybe put it in a sealed (with sellotape) cardboard box so they can look at the files if there is sensitive data on it

External Hard Drives are fairly cheap nowadays (you can buy a 1Tb for less than £40).

In fact Currys have a 4Tb for £99 (I just bought a new 3Tb for £84) so go out and buy a "spare".

Better to be safe than sorry when you lose all your family photographs !


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Whoops, left a "t" off.

>>>so they can look at the files if there is sensitive data on it

Should say "So they CANT look at the files...."
This is true of so many things in life, not just digital data.
Take biscuit recipes, for instance:

Monica's recommendation was to keep a copy of the recipe in a fireproof box at least 100 feet away from the original....
I back up my important stuff more than once on different devices, external hard drives and flash drives.
I have a NAS which automatically backs up new files of every kind.
I also keep non-private stuff such as music, ebooks, films in the cloud.

Private files are also backed up to an external hard drive although I do have some encrypted in the cloud.
Spinrite is worth trying if the issue is failure to read certain locations.

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