Imagine losing all your photos, articles, business ideas, videos and music. More often than not people are caught unprepared for the burden that comes with data loss. The hard truth is that all hard drives eventually fail. It is not surprisingly then that there is a whole computer services industry that specialises in 'Hard Drive Recovery'.

If you have ever lost your wallet you'd soon realise that it wasn't the few dollars you've lost in it that hurts but all the cards, identification and other miscellaneous items that you've placed in your wallet. Sometimes these items are irreplaceable; while others such as getting a new ID is annoying and inconvenient. Most recently I've experienced what it's like to have your hard drive fail.

The warning signs

I wasn't aware of it at the time but your hard drive will start to tell you when it will soon fail. Near the end of its life or when your hard drive will crash it will begin to sound different. If it starts making odd noises or clicking sounds then this is a giveaway that it might soon fail. For me I was blissfully unaware of this and assume it was my computer. (Another advantage of having a quiet computer is that when things start to sound odd, you can notice it better).

Financial Costs

When my hard drive crashed I was devastated. I lost all my music, videos, articles, ideas and most painfully all my cherished photos of family and friends. I soon looked up the cost of 'hard drive recovery.' I was shocked to learn that on average getting your data back cost anywhere between $800 to $2500. Not cheap. Through more research I learnt most companies will do an free assessment of your hard drive and give you a free quote before they proceed. I was lucky that 99% of my data was recoverable. Note that depending on the circumstances the recovery rate will be different. It could be 20%, 80% or worse, your data could be irrecoverable. The final quote in my case '$1410' (ouch).

Is it worth it? – Emotional Costs vs. Financial costs

So is the cost of getting your data recovered really worth it? This is really a personal question and largely depends on what you have on your hard drive. Most things I could replace (music and videos) but it was the photos that I couldn't replace. For me it was an easy answer of 'Yes, my photos are worth the $1410 it will cost to replace.' For other people this will be easier or harder. If you have the next great business ideas or plans for a patent or product then this will undoubtedly be yes as well. For me, the cost was the emotional cost of losing my family photos if I didn't get it replaced.

Lessons learnt - Backup, backup, backup

In retrospect it's easy to say I should have learnt my lesson and backup all my data. I always thought, nah my hard drive is good, it will never crash. How wrong I was. Soon after getting my hard drive back and my data you'd easily guess the first thing I did!!! Yes, I backed up everything!!! You can find many free backup software on the net. Some have cool features such as a regular schedule of backups. For example once a week, fortnight or month.

Apart from the safety and assurance of backing up my data, I now felt relieved that if my hard drive should fail again I not only have a backup, but I won't have to go through the heartache and cost of getting my data recovered.

Lessons learnt – Data Loss is avoidable.

One of the key lessons I've learnt through this whole experience is that it was all avoidable. You don't have to be a victim of data loss. With proper backup of your data and regular scheduled backups you can minimise and best, totally avoid the hardships that come with data loss. If everyone was so prudent and organised then there wouldn't be a service.

In summary back up your data, the real cost maybe more than you think.

(I hoped you have enjoyed reading my article. Please leave any comments or question you may have. Until next time. Live curious. J