The Top 16 Ways To Lose Your Digital Life


After a hard drive or computer failure you can't just bring back those old pictures and videos of your family, unless you used a backup program to save all your data before the crash occurred. Prevention is the best strategy when it comes to computer and hard drive failure.

Can you afford to lose all your work? How would you feel losing all your family photos?

This article will help you identify potential dangers and give you ideas how to avoid them.

1. Virus and malware attacks.

Viruses can be a big problem and often cause loss of data. Before you know it, hackers take control of your computer through Trojan horses which are injected to your system in the background while you browse the Internet. You didn't download anything? Doesn't matter, these malicious programs find their way through your system.

virus and malware are the number one risk factor and cause of data lossYour browser won't warn you of a virus hidden in your favorite news site because the guys who write these viruses know how to get around your browser as well as your virus scanner. So while virus scanners are a must-have, they won't protect your data from the latest and greatest groundbreaking virus. Have you ever tried to scan your computer with two virus scanners? You'll be surprised how viruses can disguise themselves!

2. Theft: in your house, at work, on the way to work...  

Break-ins aren't the only problem. Since laptops are taken outdoors frequently, and they are the prime subject for thieves. Small and light, perfect!

theft is a common cause of data lossRisk areas: airports, public places, parks, bars, you name it. Office theft: let's not forget, not all co-workers are your friends. Unfortunately, kleptomaniacs are present in all socioeconomic classes and all organizations in the world. Next time you're with your laptop in a bar or cafe and you head off to the bathroom, be sure to have someone watch your stuff.

3. Accidental deletions  accidental deletion

We all got the recycle bin since Windows 95… And yet accidental deletions do still happen. Without a backup you can't bring it back to your hard drive...

4. Water damage:

Julie took a very long shower this morning and then left for work. When Julie returns home she finds that the pipe burst upstairs in the bathroom. The water flooded the entire floor upstairs and downstairs…and ruined her laptop!

The home warranty—if you have one—might pay for the damage. But your data is definitely gone. Have you ever heard of a waterproof laptop!? Let's not forget that the same scenario is possible in many variations. Roof problems, flooding, malfunctioning sprinkler system, etc.

5. Children

Cute aren't they!? babies are dangerous!Jimmy went home one day, his kids were playing in his office area (he told them not to, but of course they don't listen) and apparently little Johnny tripped over the laptop's power cord and hurt himself a little. Boy he cried!

Then, his Daddy came. Then Daddy started crying! Not for little Johnny's bruise (which he barely noticed); no, because his laptop fell and now all his work has been lost.

Accidents do happen and when you have children in the household, you need to watch out.



6. Fire

fire = data lossDon't sit by the fireplace with your laptop. It's too warm and the temperature may quickly turn into a fire hazard. The batteries in your laptop could become hot and blow up right on your lap, or worse, in your face. Fire hazard is everywhere, you can't escape it. 


7. Accidents

Accidents do happen, so try to prepare and prevent as much as possible.

Laura was in a rush the other day, grabbed her laptop case and ran downstairs to catch the bus. It seems, she forgot to zip up the laptop case and after just two steps the case opened and her laptop took its first flight lesson. There's barely a chance for a hard drive to survive this type of a mechanical shock.

8. Dust

It's disgusting and unhealthy: carpets, clothing, hair, pollen, exhausts, there are many sources of dust in households and offices and you will want to make every reasonable effort to keep your area clean. Not only because all the toxins contained in dust are bad for your health, but also because dust is generally bad for electronic devices, too.

Most computers have fans and the high-end modern PCs come with a dust filter. Most people are not aware of it but you need to clean the dust filter often to ensure the air circulation within the computer is sufficient. Especially on hot days or if you live in dry areas your computer may overheat due to lack of air circulation.

Another thing to consider is that dust accumulates inside hard drives. You may be able to vacuum clean your PC inside but you won't be able to clean the hard disks from the inside. An IT network administrator from a major corporation told us: “the servers run for years, but when we switch them off for maintenance they don't come back on. The hard drives fail because the dust finally gets to settle”


condensation causes electronic devices to fail


9. Humidity: humid air, very low and very high humidity levels are bad for your computer!

Ever wondered why a cold beer bottle gets wet when you take it out of the fridge? While most people know why, most people are unaware of what happens in the winter when you move your laptop from the cold to room temperature, unpack your laptop and switch it on right away.

If you don't wait long enough for the laptop to warm up before switching on, the temperature difference will cause condensation to occur inside your gadget, which in turn will lead to permanent electronic damage.

In areas of high humidity this is indeed a problem even in the summer. For example, when you take your camera out of your cool air conditioned hotel room to take pictures outdoors where it's hot and humid, you will notice the condensation on the lens. As with your camera, you will want to watch out when moving your laptop from cold to warm environments and vice versa.

Dry air with levels below 40% humidity is also a problem. Static discharge is likely to occur in dry conditions (summer as well as winter), and produce voltages of over 10,000 Volts (check here if you don't believe it: Static Electricity and Computers)

spilled coffee the classic


10. Spilled Coffee:  

All experienced computer users have come across this one often enough:

It's scientific fact: Keyboards and coffee naturally attract one another!

You may be able to rescue your computer and data if you follow these instructions to the “coffee on my laptop” problem at once: 911 Coffee Spill Instructions  


lighting and power surges

11. Power Surge and other Power Interruptions = PC Blitzkrieg

Every electronic device should be connected to a power surge adapter.

Ideally you should invest in a good UPS (uninterruptible power supply), also known as battery backup. However, these precautions protect you only from power voltage fluctuations and interruptions (which can be also very damaging, especially the unnoticeable split-second power interruptions).

 Your computer will most likely be connected to a modem or wired network as well, such as a cable modem. These devices may not be shielded against power surges and the surge may reach your PC through that wiring. Wireless LAN is of course unaffected because there is no wire connection.

The safest thing to do is to simply unplug all cords from your computer during a lighting storm to avoid damage.


12. Wear and Tear: Give your PC a break!

Things don't last forever—the longer your gadgets are powered on, the shorter their expected lifespan will be. This is especially true for hard drives and motherboards. It's not uncommon for hard drives to die silently or with a “funny” knocking noise. CPU fans can suddenly stop, resulting in an overheated system.


heat and temperature extremes and temperature fluctuations

13. Temperature:

Neither too hot nor too cold is good for your laptop and desktop computer.

Also, don't keep your computer in the sun light and keep it away from windows. Also, ensure there is enough air circulation. Just like you, your computer needs fresh air, so do not operate computers in closed areas, such as furniture.

Hard drives and CPUs are the strongest heat generators inside your PC or laptop and need constant cooling. Cooling requires large volumes of colder air to be effective, so when you start hearing the fans you need to slow down a bit and give the poor thing a break.


vibration and mechanical shock

14. Mechanical Shock

Don't slam your fist on the desk. The mechanical shock and following vibrations can become so strong, they can cause a head collision inside your hard disk drive. Hard drives contain tiny heads responsible for reading and writing information. These heads are rotating just fractions of a millimeter over the magnetic cylinders disks. Vertical movement = instant death for your hard drive!


magnetic fields

15. Magnetic fields

Don't play with magnets near your computer, TV, or monitor. It can magnetize your screen and, even worse, destroy your hard drives. After all, hard drives are magnetic storage; hence, another stronger magnetic field in the vicinity and….your files are history! Magnetic fields are also generated by older tube-based TV sets and electric motors, such as the one in your vacuum cleaner and other motorized gadgets and toys.


unknown causes of data loss and pc damage

16. What else?  All we know is PC and hard drive failure rates are increasing rapidly.

It may sound mystical but it's true: Hard drives and electronic devices fail and nobody really knows exactly why. And the truth is not how PC and hard drive manufacturers present it: A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University found that customers need to replace their hard drives 15 times (!) more often than manufacturers admit. (See PC World article)

The Only Solution is to Back up Your Data Now!