3 Steps to Stress-free Business Data Recovery for Non-technical Small Business Owners

“Uh-oh – it’s broken.” “What?” “my hard drive.” “How?” “It’s just – dead.” “@#^&!”

angry it guy

Small business owners – the above CAN happen in your office – and I’m SURE that it will happen to you someday. No, I’m not trying to put a curse on you; it’s only natural, really. Hardware has a set life expectancy, and when the time comes, they just seem to self-destruct. Moreover, things can happen in the workplace, often beyond your control: Force Majeure like flood; disgruntled employee deleting, even stealing company data; spilled coffee on your laptop (aarrghh!) The bottom line, things happen.

Let’s not linger in the “Why.” What we should focus here is on the “How” – How to recover your data when your hard drive is failing.

How to recover your business data – stress-free

Let’s not be too technical, shall we? Please consider following these steps for a stress-free data recovery.

Step 1: Stop pulling your hair. Don’t panic!

Panic won’t solve anything; pulling your hair won’t do any good, either.

Listen – chances are, your data IS still recoverable. The big question is: How much data you can recover? To know this, you need to analyze the aftermath.

Step 2: Analyze the situation

What you really need to do is to address and analyze the issue: first thing first – is it software or hardware failure?

If the data loss incident involves accidental file deletion and so on, then chances are, you are experiencing software-related data loss. The good news: Your data IS recoverable. How?

It’s surprising knowing that your hard drive can keep your information intact even in a severe condition. That’s why hard drives are great as evidence in court – just use any reliable computer forensic tools to recover deleted files. You can use the same tools to recover your deleted and missing business files.

Step 3: Take systematic action

Okay, please hold on for three seconds – before you are happily turning off, turning on, turning off, and turning on your computer again and again (I know some of you do this!) , heed this advice: For now, stop working with your computer. In data recovery, the time you spend to work on a faulty hard drive equals to the amount of data loss; the more you use, the less likely your data will remain intact.

So, again, please restrain yourself!

Next, you should start cloning your data. Your tech guy should be able to do this using widely available software, such as Ontrack EasyRecovery (free trial available) and Recuva (free.) You can find more free data recovery software here.

Whenever you are ready, here’s the Do-It-Yourself data recovery guide: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-diagnose-and-fix-a-dead-hard-drive-to-recover-data/

You’ve read the good news; now take a deep breath, because what you are doing to read next is the bad news. The bad news is when your hard drive is not detected by your computer. Chances are, it’s physically damaged.

While you or your IT guy may be able to handle software failure, when it comes to hardware failure, I don’t think you should DIY your data recovery effort – it can be disastrous, especially when the data inside your hard drive is very important for your business. Instead, you should consider seeking help from a professional hard drive recovery company. They have the know-how in dealing with the situation.


So, that’s that – 3 steps to stress-free data recovery for the rest of us. Before you go, let me remind you once again: While you can try to DIY your data recovery, be sure to follow the right guide to avoid catastrophic consequences. Otherwise, it’s probably wiser to hire someone to do it for you; it’s not cheap, but when it comes to IT services, quite often, what you pay is what you get.

If you still insist that DIY is for you, here are some great guides I recommend you to read before you get your hands dirty:

One last piece of advice: It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you want a stress-free data recovery, as well as data loss prevention, I recommend you to invest in a backup system; better yet, consider signing up with a cloud-based backup service which enable you to sync the online storage with your local hard drive.