The top ten data disasters for 2006

Ontrack Data Recovery of Minneapolis, a provider of data recovery products and services, unveiled its annual Top Ten list of remarkable data loss disasters in 2006. Taken from a global poll of Ontrack data recovery experts, this year’s list of data disasters is even more incredible when you consider that in every case cited, Ontrack successfully recovered the data.

Jim Reinert, senior director of software and services for Ontrack Data Recovery, said this list demonstrates that data loss can happen in a number of different ways, whether the cause is a simple accident or the result of extreme user error. No matter how catastrophic the situation may seem, it pays to have your hard drive or storage device evaluated by a professional service.

The Ontrack 2006 Top Ten List of Data Disasters and Remarkable Recoveries.

1. Sock it to Me – Although the circumstances of the original data loss were unremarkable, the problem was intensified when the customer shipped his drive to Ontrack in a pair of dirty socks. The old socks didn’t provide the necessary protection during shipping and the resulting damage made the recovery more challenging than normal. Next time, he’ll stick with bubble wrap, but in the meantime, Ontrack successfully recovered his data too.

2. Squeaky Drive Gets the Grease – A university professor heard a squeaking noise from the drive of his new desktop computer. To solve the annoying problem, he opened the case and sprayed the inside of the drive with WD-40. Although successful in stopping the drive from squeaking, his actions also prevented the drive from booting up. Ontrack got the drive working again and recovered his data.

3. Finding Nemo – A customer returned from the vacation of a lifetime in Barbados to discover that he couldn’t access any of the snorkeling photos he took on his new “waterproof” digital camera. It seems the camera wasn’t as waterproof as advertised, so Ontrack had to rescue all of his prized tropical fish photos.

4. Tenth Time’s the Charm – A man reformatted his hard drive not once, not twice, but ten times before he realized there was some valuable information he needed recovered. Luckily for him, it only took Ontrack one try to recover the information.

5. Hard Drive Speed Bump – It happens every year, but people continue to leave computers and hard drives in the path of moving vehicles. This year alone, Ontrack recovered from a laptop that was run over by a “people mover” at the airport, and several external hard drives stuffed in a backpack that was backed over by a truck.

6. Beware of Bananas – A customer left an old banana on the top of his external hard drive which proceeded to seep its contents into the drive, ruining the circuitry. The drive would no longer run, but Ontrack was able to clean the drive and repair the circuit board so the drive would spin long enough to recover his data. The banana, however, could not be recovered.

7. Rescuing the Research – A leading UK research university suffered a catastrophic data loss after a fire broke out in the computer science department on a weekend morning, damaging computer equipment with smoke and water from the fire department’s efforts. Ontrack was called onsite to rescue thirty computers and recovered more than a terabyte of data.

8. Not a Jolly Occasion – British comedian Dom Joly, presenter and co-creator of Trigger Happy TV, dropped his laptop, damaging a hard drive that held five thousand photos, six thousand songs, half a book he was writing and all of his old newspaper columns. Having read the tragic story in a newspaper column written by Mr. Joly, Ontrack contacted him and was able to recover everything.

9. Wash the Data Away – On a flight from London to Warsaw, a passenger packed his laptop and toiletries in the same bag. Unfortunately, his shampoo leaked and flooded everything in the bag, including the laptop, causing the hard drive to fail. In order to recover all of the data, Ontrack engineers had to do some washing of their own – cleaning the hard drive and other components in order to get the drive functioning.

10. Helicopter Hi-jinks – Employees of a global telecommunications company dropped a laptop computer while working from a helicopter in Monaco. Ontrack successfully retrieved vital files on the laptop and sent them through an FTP server for a meeting in Hong Kong the very next day.

Reinert added that data can be recovered from computers, servers and even memory cards used in digital devices by either working on the computers or media/storage devices in our labs and cleanrooms, or by using our patented Remote Data Recovery technology. However, individuals and companies can avoid the hassle and stress this can cause by backing up data on a regular basis and establishing a relationship with a professional data recovery company before disaster strikes.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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