Clac, clack, clack. It is the sound that hard drives make when they are dying, the signal that all the information stored inside could be in danger. A few decades ago, that clack, clack, clack It was equally threatening, but it did not put so much into play.
Now, our hard drives are like the Mary Poppins bag. "Anyone can have three teras of information, and how much more space you have, more guards and more you forget to take care of the disk, you keep getting and going until the day it fails", explains Carlos Sánchez, director of Ondata, a company specialized in recovery of hard drives.
Clac. The photos of your wedding.
Clac. Your thirtyth birthday
Clac. The thesis.
It fits more information … for less time? Sánchez and Fernández do not see clearly that the useful life of the storage devices has been shortened, but they do have the most common causes of death among which an average of 3,600 pots are brought to their offices each year. "Before they were diskettes and disks, now we get everything: mobiles, camera cards, pendrives… ", says the director of Ondata.
Among these riders of the digital apocalypse is the quality of the materials. "In the end the manufacturers what they want is that they go very fast and are very cheap", explains Fernandez. Let's say it's not the same to store your precious documents in a plastic bag than in a sturdy briefcase. "When we read a chip we see its error rates, when you read a bad one pendrive they give you away, you see that it will cost you to recover it ".
In addition, it is advisable to choose the supports well. The 'modern' version of classic disks – solids or SSD – has its advantages, but it is not as robust as its name suggests. An SSD is, in general terms, a pendrive big time The absence of delicate discs and needles inside these systems is what has earned them their solid reputation. "Lie," Fernandez sentence. Are they spoiling us then? "No, but the problem they have is that they are not prepared for certain things. software that does processing and has to go very fast, the SSD is great, it's a wonder. There is not point of comparation. But when it comes to saving data, the disk is better. "In summary, solids to process and classics to store.
Finally, chance, mechanics, Murphy's law are intertwined – "if something bad can happen, it will happen" – and our human awkwardness. No matter how careful you are, you may suffer a factory defect as well as a butter attack. Everything is possible: "They brought me a card and they told me I had been a week at the bottom of the sea," recalls Fernandez. "And he recovered, huh? That was the good one."
There are some indications that your hard drive could be on the verge of death. The clack, clack, clack You already know it, but you may also notice that it becomes especially slow or detect unexpected damage in some file. Needless to say, if you have seen it at the bottom of the sea, wrapped in flames or you have fallen, increase your ballots. When any of the above occurs, get the idea that your hard drive, mobile, card or pendrive It is a hot potato. The less you touch it, the better.
"A case that comes a lot is that the disc falls to the ground, and what is the first thing that everybody does? Plug it in. That's the worst thing you can do," says Fernandez. In classic discs, the problem is in the needle, which may have shifted with the impact. "Even if it moves just a little bit, it can touch the magnetic plate, which rotates up to 7,200 revolutions per minute, and scratch it, in some cases partial recovery can be achieved, in others even that."
It is also not a good idea for you or your friend the computer to open the case to see what is going on. "With two seconds that is open, all the crap is in," warns the laboratory manager. Some specks of dust that your eye hardly sees are for the needle the iceberg that sank the Titanic. That's why in Ondata they approach these cases from inside a clean chamber with air flows that prevent the entry of particles.
The best thing you can do while your devices are still healthy is a little bit of prevention: expel them from the equipment before unplugging them, do not put them in the corner of a table, do not move the disks while they are in operation, do not leave them in the sun – extreme temperatures are also lethal – do not save your precious files in a pendrive They gave you in the super and do not be gross. "One of the big problems of today is that we want to put too much information into something cheap and that is not prepared for it," says Fernandez.
The backup is your best friend, but with it you also have to be careful. The first is a truism, but it must be said: do not keep it in the same team. The second is a more recent problem: cryptolockers. If one of these information hijackers reaches your computer and you have the hard drive connected at that moment, the copy that you save there will remain as impregnably encrypted as the original.
If the worst happens, do not give up either. According to Ondata's initial diagnoses, around 80% of the devices they receive are totally or partially recoverable. And if your incident falls into the 20% less fortunate, you can still place your hopes on technological advances. "When we give some disc for unrecoverable we recommend our customers to keep it because maybe in one or two years they can send it again", explains Sánchez. In addition, initial diagnoses are not infallible. "We have saved burned and destroyed discs, and many times, due to a silly mistake, the information does not come out."
The cost of the rescue depends on the type of failure – mechanical, electronic or logic – but usually ranges between 200 and 1,000 euros. The figure is high, but it is justified by the hours of work that it hides, often underrepresented. "I have had cases in which it took me up to three and four months to get the information," explains Fernández. Pay or not pay? It depends on the price you put on what you keep inside. "I think we do not really value the information we have, the message they give you many times is: 'But if a hard drive comes to me much cheaper, the thing is that your data is not there," says Sánchez.