Storage technology has truly exploded over the last 10 years, and has virtually changed the world over the last thirty years. No generation has seen a greater change in the way they communicate, what with email, text and the mass acceptance of the cell phone. Computers are no longer huge machines that can take up an entire floor in a building. With the invention of smartphones, tablets and laptops, all your data is as portable as you are.

But with great advancement comes great responsibility. Many people have learned, the hard way, that you need to have copies of all of your important data in multiple places. If you have all your files in one place you’re going to be in big trouble if that device ever breaks down on you. Oh, and they do. So instead of just saving your files on your laptop or tablet you’d be smarter if you also backed up your files on an external hard drive or a USB stick.

Take caution, however, depending on your back up method. Nothing is foolproof and you want to make sure you save yourself some agony in the long run.

The purpose of backing up files is that you keep current copies of whatever you’re working on in more than one location. You save it on your laptops hard drive but you also back up your files to an external hard drive every other day or once a week, depending on how busy you are.

You should be safe; unless you’re putting unique files on your external hard drive that don’t exist anywhere else. As PC World notes:

When you store files on an external drive, it’s easy to forget my first rule of tech storage: Never have only one copy of anything. We tend to think of external drives—especially external hard drives—as a backup medium, so of course anything on the drive must be a backup.

But if files exist only on that external drive, they are not backed up. And you need to make sure they get backed up to something other than that particular drive—whether it’s an internal drive, the cloud, NAS, or another external drive.

Okay, the mistake has been made. Now let’s try to get those files back.

When you try to use the drive, does it make noises you’ve never heard before—clicking, for instance, or grinding? If so, make no attempts to recover the files yourself. Send the drive to a data recovery service.


If your device is not making any noises, the PC World article is going to teach you some easy troubleshooting tips to recover your hard drive to its former glory. Data recovery doesn’t have to be intimidating and it’s nice to know that there are some repairs even an average Joe or Jane can do on their own.

Now that you’ve learned these skills be sure to keep them handy. Remember to properly back up your data in the future as well. It’ll save you a lot of tears.