5 Top tips for start-ups to help recover data from laptops

*Guest blog contributor: Phil Bridge, MD for Kroll Ontrack *

Most start-ups have just one thing to run their business: a laptop. Everything from ideas to client leads and presentation slides are in there; everything that makes it possible to run a company cost-effectively and with limited resources. There�s a lot to be said about this pared down approach to working and a lot of people are doing it this way. London�s Silicon Roundabout alone has attracted more than 15,000 new start-ups in the last year and the number continues to grow each month. But what do you do if your computer unexpectedly shuts down and your files disappear? Or when it�s damaged when a hot cup of coffee is spilt on the keyboard?

Data loss can occur for any number of reasons, ranging from malware viruses, deleted files, and corrupt software. But fortunately entrepreneurs can avoid a crisis by following some basic steps:

  1. Perform a data backup at least once a week on multiple storage devices and platforms such as flash drives and online storage services such as Dropbox.

  2. Invest in an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and use it! A UPS has a battery backup that keeps computers running during power outages or floods and avoids data loss. A surge protector is another option that can work just as well and costs half the price.

  3. If the computer is working but your file has disappeared or accidentally been deleted or overwritten, do not use the computer further until data is recovered. Doing so could potentially overwrite all the data you want to regain. Check back-ups to determine whether data can be recovered. If data hasn�t been backed up, investigate data recovery software to help recover deleted files from a recycle bin or overwritten files and damaged devices. Ontrack EasyRecovery software by Kroll Ontrack is likely to recover the target files. Start-ups can access a free trial of Ontrack EasyRecovery and receive a discount of 15% using the code �Startup15�, bringing the home edition price down to �58.65. The discount is applicable to OER sales until end of March 2014.

  4. If your computer stops working, turn it off and remove all power sources. Don�t try to fix anything yourself � you could cause irreparable damage to data. Instead, contact a reputable data recovery company immediately to help you assess the situation. The faster you get it to an expert, the better the chance of recovery.

  5. If equipment is exposed to water, don�t try to dry any damaged files or equipment by exposing it to heat. Place the media in a container that will keep it damp and get it to a recovery specialist immediately. Don�t try to power up your computer as you may potentially cause more damage, thus risking the chances of a successful recovery. Don�t attempt to use recovery software to make any repairs either, since it can often destroy what was otherwise recoverable data.
    Remember, the easiest way to prevent data disasters is to always back up data. This will save you time and money and avoid any disasters when a laptop breaks down or a file is destroyed. If you forget to do this then you�re compromised if your computer is stolen. If you still have the device but something is broken, you might be able to recover data even without a backup � though you�ll need help from a data recovery expert to increase your chances of getting anything back.

Phil Bridge, MD for Kroll Ontrack