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[ The PC Guide | System Care Guide | Backups and Disaster Recovery | The Risks To Your Data ]

Hardware Failure

The risk of hardware failure is the most commonly talked-about reason to perform backups. Indeed, nothing will jolt someone into realizing the importance of backups more than an unrecoverable hard disk failure. Since the hard disk stores your main programs and data, it is the hardware whose failure hurts the most. It is also what gets the most attention, and rightly so.

However, there are other hardware problems that can cause permanent data loss, and some of these can be rather hard to figure out, since they don't seem like they should be responsible for the problem. Here are just a few:

  • Memory Errors: With so many systems today running without error detection or correction on their system memory, there is a chance of a memory error corrupting the data on the hard disk. It is rare for it to happen, but it does happen.
  • System Timing Problems: Setting the timing for memory or cache access too aggressively, or using a hard disk interface transfer mode that is too fast for the system or device, can cause data loss. This is often not something that will generally be realized until after some amount of damage has been done.
  • Resource Conflicts: Conflicts resulting from peripherals that try to use the same interrupt requests, DMA channels or I/O addresses, can cause data to become corrupted.
  • Power Loss: Losing power at the wrong time, such as when you are doing sensitive work on your hard disk, can easily result in the loss of many files.

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