Preventing Hard Drive Corruption and Recovering Corrupted Data

Data corruption is inseparable from all commonly used data storage devices. It differs from bugs, results of badly written code, in its unpredictability. Data often become corrupted without any warning, and they can be a real pain to deal with unless you use a specialized data recovery software solution.

hard drive corruption

Common Reasons Why Data Become Corrupted

Scientists have concrete evidence suggesting that solar flares might be one possible reason why data become corrupted. Even if their theories are true, the mental image of sun randomly deciding to corrupt your data doesn’t make one too nervous. The possibility just seems far too removed from our everyday lives.

But physical damage and decay are as real as you can get. Older magnetic tapes noticeably degraded in just a few years, and modern hard drives degrade in a similar manner—only much slower. Everyone with a sizable CD or DVD collection knows how quickly optical media break down and become unusable. RAM requires a steady supply of electricity to hold information, so cheap power supplies or sudden power outages can easily compromise the integrity of your files. Manufacturing errors, while rare, do happen. A single dust particle inside your hard drive can make it unusable in a few seconds. Malware of all sorts often purposefully corrupts your files, partially to just wreak havoc and make you mad but also to protect itself against anti-malware programs. Last but not least, an improper ejection or shutdown of the computer doesn’t give the operating system enough time to complete all read and write operations.

How to Recognized a Corrupted Storage Device

In the old days, it was very easy to recognize a corrupted storage device. Gramophone records or cassette tapes would sound muddy and produce various distortions, VHS tapes would become grainer with each viewing, and even movies on CDs and DVDs would skip ahead when the head of the player encountered a scratched part of the disk.

These days, file corruption often occurs without any warning. An image might have a few out-of-place pixels, several sentences in text documents might be replaced with random gibberish, or a song might skip a beat. However, more complex file formats affected by corruption are usually unusable. Opening such documents leads to errors and even systems crashes.

Even more, a corrupted master boot record of your hard drive makes it impossible to boot into the operating system or access your files and folders. That’s why it’s paramount to know how to prevent data corruption and recover corrupted data.

How to Prevent Data Corruption and Recover Corrupted Data

The most robust approach consists of three things: disk health monitoring, software backups, and, in case the previous two fail, reliable data recovery. Disk Drill does these things and more. This industry leading data recovery application for Windows and Mac OS X contains a free disk health monitoring system with alerts, byte-to-byte and partition backup tool, and several effective data recovery algorithms that are together able to recover more than 200 file formats from virtually all storage devices, including Android and iOS smartphones.

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Arthur Cole

Arthur Cole is a freelance content creator. He also has a more than 10-year experience in program development for macOS, Windows, iOS, Android. Arthur Cole is a writer with deep expertise in programming, who can easily...

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Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.