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When Good Intentioned Users Do Harm

Minneapolis-based data recovery and forensic software maker Kroll Ontrack published a list of what the company estimates to be some of most common mistakes end users make when trying to save data from a failing drive.
Minneapolis-based data recovery and forensic software maker Kroll Ontrack published a list of what the company estimates to be some of most common mistakes end users make when trying to save data from a failing drive.My big lesson came when, a number of years ago, I spilled 20 ounces of coffee dead center on a Dell ultraportable. In the moment of terror, I thought I saw a strange blue hue shoot from the dying machine. The screen went blank for a moment, then flashed white, beeped, and then never displayed anything ever again. This was not a good day, especially for a guy who earns his living on deadline.

Turns out, when I opened the case, the hard drive was soaked with coffee. And I mean dripping. I tried to revive the drive with one of the tactics Kroll lists as a no-no.

I know these lists are often self-serving, but this list has some truth to it. Kroll estimates that 30% of all drives that prove to be unrecoverable are the result of these types of errors:


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