Monday, February 9, 2015

Before you clean up for National Clean Out Your Computer Day, back up!

Kroll Ontrack offers tips to avoiding data loss when “cleaning out” digital media

MINNEAPOLIS – February 9, 2015 – While National Clean Out Your Computer Day is a welcome cue to perform regular computer maintenance to improve performance and even extend the life of a computer, Kroll Ontrack, the leading provider of data recovery and ediscovery, reminds individuals that nearly one-third of all data recovery requests are the result of human error, including accidental file and folder deletion. Taking a few proactive and logical steps prior to organizing your digital media and deleting data will reduce the potential for data loss.

“While most of today’s operating systems leverage built-in utilities to proactively maintain drive health, it is considered prudent to also routinely organize folders, migrate documents off of the desktop and clean out unnecessary files and emails,” explains Jeff Pederson, senior manager of data recovery operations, Kroll Ontrack. “That’s all well and good until a user, or a utility, accidentally deletes an important file – a not-so-uncommon reason individuals utilize DIY data recovery tools or seek the help of a data recovery provider.”

To ensure your proactive computer clean up does not result in unnecessary data loss, take these precautions:

Verify your backup: Before eliminating unneeded files and folders from your drive, verify that your backup is operating properly. In a 2014 Kroll Ontrack survey of customers who had experienced data loss, 65 percent of survey respondents actually had a backup solution in place at the time of data loss – the backup software either failed, was not on an automated schedule, or an important file was lost prior to a scheduled backup. Therefore, prior to deleting any files:

  • Ensure your backup is running regularly in accordance with the determined schedule.
  • Check the backup report for error indications or failure.
  • Test your backup prior to computer clean-up to ensure data has been accurately captured and files are intact.

Have a clean-up strategy: Fortunately, today’s larger drive capacity provides more flexibility to keep a larger volume of data without completely compromising performance. Case in point, the drive capacity for Kroll Ontrack data recovery jobs averaged one terabyte in 2014, an increase of 185 percent in the last five years.1 As such, taking an organizational approach rather than a mass deletion approach to National Clean Out Your Computer Day seems appropriate and still beneficial.

  • Start with your desktop: Saving files on your desktop is easy and quick, but is an ineffective way to organize files and folders. Take a moment to migrate desktop files into logical document folders to improve performance (and help find what you’re looking for!).
  • Check your email: For many, the sent and deleted folders have become a security blanket, with valuable proof of communication and files sent and received. Still, there are plenty of emails in each that are unnecessary and likely slowing down your system. Start with sorting by “size” to reduce the largest storage culprits, sorting by “type” to eliminate unnecessary meeting and out of office responses, and then by “to” to delete spam and unimportant messages.
  • Don’t go folder crazy: With improved search capabilities, it’s no longer necessary to be knee-deep in a folder tree to organize your files. Set up logical information buckets with consistent nomenclature, and utilize search to find the information you need. Simple is best.

If files are deleted by accident in the computer cleaning process, DIY tools, such as Ontrack® EasyRecovery™, give home users and businesses a highly effective, easy-to-use solution to address the situation. For more information about this solution or Kroll Ontrack, visit: https://www.krollontrack.com.

About Kroll Ontrack Inc.
Kroll Ontrack provides technology-driven services and software to help legal, corporate and government entities as well as consumers manage, recover, search, analyze and produce data efficiently and cost-effectively. In addition to its award-winning suite of software, Kroll Ontrack provides data recovery, data destruction, electronic discovery and document review. For more information about Kroll Ontrack and its offerings please visit: www.krollontrack.com or follow @KrollOntrack on Twitter.

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1 Source: Kroll Ontrack. As reported by Ontrack Data Recovery engineers, the average hard drive received for in-lab data recovery projects in 2014 was one terabyte, up from 350 GB in 2009, a 185.7 percent increase.