Joined: 23 Aug 2006
|Posted: Mon Sep 04, 2006 4:36 am Post subject: WHY Data Loss ?!===> HW or System Malfunction
|WHY Data Loss ?!===> HW or System Malfunction
By Dr. Wael AlBayaydh
We understand what happens when the information you have been storing for keeps suddenly becomes inaccessible.
When you lose the information, which was once accessible is referred as data loss.
The threats to data loss may come in many different forms, from a simple mistake to a massive natural disaster
Since, we now know what data loss is; let us read on to find out as to what causes data loss to occur and what measures do we need to follow in order to prevent that from happening.
Hardware or System Malfunction
The biggest factor leading to data loss is hardware malfunction or hard disks failure. It is known that 44% of all data losses are an outcome of hardware or system malfunction. Hard disks are mechanical devices and therefore are more prone to wear and tear. It is believed that the estimated average life of a hard disk is 3 years. Hardware fails to function properly due to one of the following reasons:
(a) Head/Media Crash: Head/media collisions account for a large percentage of hardware malfunctions.
Picture this: a series of hard disk platters rotating at the rate of 150 times per second with heads being separated (at submicron distances), moving over them. Even the slightest of disturbance inside the disk could cause the entire disk to stop functioning properly. When the read/write head touches the rotating platter of a hard disk, it leads to head crash.
When even the smallest bit of dust enters the sealed drive unit and settles on magnetic surfaces, it gets stuck in the thin gap between the head and the disk.
Dropping a disk to the floor may also cause hard disk malfunction. Not only this, even the slight jerk or vibration can unsettle alignments and lead to hardware malfunction.
(b) Sudden catastrophic failure: When you cannot detect the presence of the hard drive in the CMOS setup or when the operating system doesn’t locate the hard drive, it’s logical to think that the data loss has occurred. This POST failure results in hard drive to become inactive. This is when you hear the clicking noise from the hard drive. Sudden temperature variations may directly influence the data loss to occur.
(c) Electrical Failure: Another issue ultimately resulting in the loss of information is electrical failure, which can occur any time. Electrical failure is the direct effect of the circuit board failure, which is located on the bottom of the hard drive. A faulty component, electro-static discharge, damaging circuitry during installation are some of the various causes leading to electrical failure. It is important to keep the system clean and well ventilated; otherwise, it may cause electrical components to fail functioning properly. Hence, it is recommended to keep the system in cool conditions.
(d) Controller Failure: When you try to boot the system but instead receive an error message displaying “HDD Controller Failure”, then be prepared for the loss of your precious data. Yes, this is another reason for data loss to have occurred.
Hard disk controller failure occurs due to one of the following reasons:
• When the adapter is not firmly seated in the slot.
• Failing CMOS battery or accidental user intervention resulting in incorrect data in CMOS setup.
• When IRQ conflicts with other devices.
• When the IDE drives are not mastered/slaved properly.
• MBR (Master Boot Record) or the partition table is distorted.
• When the IDE drives (installed with master and slave) are incompatible.
• When Hard disk drive is not connected or set up properly.
• When the hard drive cable has gone bad (loose, twisted or has a broken wire).
• When the hard drive or the motherboard has gone bad.
When you notice the following changes taking place with your system, prepare yourself for the attack called “data loss”.
• Hard drive stops spinning.
• You receive an error message stating that the device is not being recognized by the system.
• You are unable to access the information, which you could previously.
• When you hear the scraping or rattling sound from the system.
• You system or the hard drive suddenly stop functioning.
This is what you could do in order to avoid the above-mentioned changes taking place:
• Connect your system to a UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply), in order to protect your system against power surges, which is the main cause of electrical failures.
• Keep your computer in a dry and shaded room, which is clean and free of dust.
• Head crash is one of the most common hardware failures resulting in data loss. It is recommended not to shake the hard drive or avoid giving jerks to the computer, since the slightest of the jerk may result in a head crash or misalignment of platters. It is strictly advised not to remove the casing on the hard drive.
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Dr.Wael AlBayaydh has a PhD degree in computer engineering. He has been working in information technology for several years, concentrating on areas such as operating system, networking, network security, electronic commerce, Internet services, LDAP and Web servers. AlBayaydh has authored a number of articles for trade publications, and he presents his own papers at industry conferences. He can be reached at wr_y@spam