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Data Loss and Hard Drive Failure

Reasons and Cost of Data Loss

Data loss incidents can be hardware- or software-related. According to a study commissioned by DeepSpar Data Recovery Systems, the most common cause of data loss is hard drive failure, accounting for 38 percent of data loss incidents. This is followed by data corruption at 30 percent. Other reasons include software issues (such as viruses) and human error.


When data is lost, one of two outcomes will result: either the data can be recovered with the assistance of a technical support individual or company, or the data is permanently lost and must be rekeyed. Evidence suggests that in 83 percent of the cases, data may be recovered. The cost associated with recovering the data depends on whether a technician is available on your staff or you need assistance from an outside company, plus the time required to restore the data. Costs may range from several hundred to many thousands of dollars. However, when data cannot be recovered, there may be a significant cost to rekeying the data, along with the intrinsic value associated with that lost data, which may be as high as $10,000 for each megabyte.

In either scenario, the cost of lost productivity must be considered as well, which was estimated in the above study to be anywhere from $475 to $2300.


Additional statistics can be found in an older study here.

What are the warning signs of hard drive failure?

According to this article from LC Technology International, some common warning signs include:

  • Frequent but irregular crashes, especially while booting up Windows®
  • Frequent and cryptic error messages while performing typical activities like moving files
  • Folder and file names that have been scrambled and changed
  • Disappearing files and folders
  • Really long wait times to access folders and files
  • Hard disk is silent for a long period after you request data by opening a file or folder
  • Garbled output from open files or printing
  • Hard drive grinds away constantly because of noisy bearings

Sound can also be an excellent indicator of hard disk trouble.  If you previously didn't hear any noise from your hard drive, but now you do, you should check it. If it seems much louder than usual or makes occasional clicks or grinding sounds, definitely check it ASAP and be prepared to backup your data and replace the drive.

This website has many actual sound samples from failing hard drives.

Tribute Inc. Resources

Obviously, it is very important to back up your data regularly. If you are a TrulinX or Tribute software user, an Installation or Support Specialist likely scheduled these backups to automatically run on your server. But, it is a good idea to regularly check to make sure the backups are being done and that you are not out of storage space.

Tribute, Inc. now offers a checkup service program for your TrulinX server. For a minimal charge, TrulinX support will log onto your system on a quarterly basis to monitor disk space, analyze Microsoft products and maintenance plans, and ensure that TrulinX is operating optimally. Click here for a brochure on this service, or contact David Peters for more information.

Tribute, Inc. also offers a disaster recovery service for your TrulinX or Tribute server in case of a hard disk failure or other equipment malfunction. For a minimal set-up charge and monthly fee, a temporary replacement server (to be kept at Tribute’s main office) will be shipped to you within 1 business day of receipt of your backup data or tapes. Again, please contact David Peters if you are interested.

TrulinX users can also refer to the following articles in the Member Area of the TrulinX website:
- Performing a TrulinX backup (PDF link)
- Checking your TrulinX and Solomon backups

If you need hardware service or support, Tribute Inc. is proud to recommend Harland Technology Services. Harland Technology Services operates out of over 160 strategically placed centers across the United States. We have been providing computer hardware service and support for over 30 years. Whether you are looking for maintenance on your entire network, servers, printers, or a combination of those three, we have a flexible solution that can be tailored to fit your needs. All three maintenance programs offer: coverage of all parts, labor and travel expenses, reduced downtime and enhanced operation, and a local parts inventory.

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