If you’ve ever had to either reformat or replace a computer hard drive, you know how devastated you feel. Not only do you lose valuable files and pictures, but you also spend hours reinstalling programs. When you reformat a hard drive, you completely erase all data. This process, which is irreversible, entirely erases everything from your hard drive. That’s why it’s important to be sure that reformatting is your only solution before you do it.
Before deciding your hard drive is damaged, go through every possible step to determine if that is really the case. Too often well-meaning computer technicians fail to ask all the right questions before telling you that your hard drive is damaged. For example…..
If your cursor on your computer is frozen, make sure your mouse is working—-Several years ago I spent hours on the phone with a computer technician, trying to correct a cursor that wouldn’t move. After walking me through numerous steps, the computer technician determined that something was wrong with my hard drive and that I needed to order another one. Shortly after our new hard drive was installed, I noticed the same problem—a frozen cursor. Then, I wondered, Could it be my mouse?Why didn’t the technician ask me to test my mouse? I hooked up another mouse from another computer and bingo, I found the problem. It wasn’t my hard drive that was defective—just a bad mouse. I wanted to cry as I thought of all the valuable files and pictures I’d erased, mistakenly thinking I had a bad hard drive.
If you have no internet connection—-Recently we had to reformat our hard drive, (again) as both our computer software company and internet provider were clueless as to why we couldn’t connect to the internet. After hours on the phone with our internet provider, the technician was convinced we had a software problem. Then, after hours trying to understand a foreign accent, the software technician pointed his finger at the internet provider. Regrettably we were convinced it was a problem with the software. The technician asked us to test our modem—It worked on both our desktop and laptop computer. Therefore, the technician concluded it was the software. Fortunately, we still had our original computer disk, so we reformatted our hard drive. Then, after we lost numerous files and pictures, we realized that our hard drive was fine. No one had asked us, “Do you have a router?” After several days of wondering what was wrong, we finally had our answer—our router was defective.
If you do have to replace your hard drive, make sure you’ve back up all your valuable files on an external hardware drive (found in most computer store such as Best Buy or CompUSA). After learning the hard way, we now make sure we won’t lose valuable data and files by backing them up regularly. A few of the files you should back up include your email address book, financial information and bank records, digital photos, purchased music you’ve downloaded, and other personal projects.
Finally, it’s worth your time to take a course on computer problems. This is not to say that you don’t need a computer technician. But you need to be sure to ask yourself all the right questions before reformatting a hard drive. As the saying goes….”an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Or, it’s better to be safe than sorry.