Common Causes of Computer Hard Drive Data Loss

The data that we store in our computers are saved in the hard drive.

Over time, the drive can undergo the usual wear and tear, making it susceptible to malfunction and failure (like any fast moving parts used for months or even years).

Let’s examine some common causes of lost data

    1. Hardware problem or physical damage on the hard drive. One of the most common causes of data loss is hardware problem. The hard disk can suffer from bad sectors, which can be physically damaged. Once damaged, the needle, which reads the hard disk, can no longer read these bad sectors. Physical damage such as trauma on the drive can also cause lost information. The moment the drive no longer opens or boots, then the data can no longer be read, leading to massive loss unless recovered. Physical damages can happen when you drop the hard disk, or spill water or any liquid in it.


    1. Power outage or interruption. The computer has two types of memory – the Random Access Memory (RAM), which stores the temporary data, and the hard drive, which stores the permanent or saved data. In cases of power interruption or power outage, the data in the temporary memory or RAM is usually lost. In severe cases, however, even the saved data in the hard disk can be corrupted or lost upon a power interruption. The corruption or loss of the file may be due to the interrupted proper reading of data from the drive to the RAM. Apart from power interruption, extreme heat can also cause the computer to shut down, which can also lead to lost data. Improper shutdowns can also cause loss for the same reason stated above.


    1. Improper ejection of removable devices (USB drives etc) – Improper ejection can also cause data loss. The device might still be reading the data when the user abruptly removes or ejects the hard drive, much like when there is immediate power outage or interruption. This is the reason why you should always safely eject your external drives.


    1. Computer viruses. There are a lot of computer viruses that can infect the computer and cause data loss. Downloading files from the internet can expose your computer to viruses and malware. The Trojan virus attacks the data in the computer hard drive, rendering it vulnerable to hackers and other viruses. Viruses such as this can cause lost information/data too.


  1. Bad programming – A programmer encodes human instruction into a language that is readable by the computer system. In cases when a programmer commits logical mistakes or erroneously executes a program, it can delete existing files in the computer. Logical errors by the programmer can also sometime cause lost data.


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