6 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Files from Data Corruption

In more recent years, computers have become a vital part of our everyday lives and have especially made our work lives easier. As with all systems, however, computers are not immune issues and as much solution as it offers, it also comes with risks. Relying solely on a computer system could prove problematic primarily if files are never backed up. One main perp for lost files in most computer systems is data corruption.

 

Data corruption is the stuff of nightmares for graphic designers and creative teams that send and store large files. Creatives are usually the ones who need to store huge data on their hard drives and cannot just easily get rid of old files as they mostly compose of templates, assets, proposals, studies, and portfolio projects.

 

Before we identify the ways we can protect our files from data corruption, what are the reasons for data becoming unreadable? Some of the causes of data corruption include:

  • cosmic rays damaging computer chips, processors, and software
  • files not saved properly
  • power cuts
  • hard drive failures
  • bad RAM
  • programs or hardware not shut down correctly
  • improper ejection of storage devices
  • hard rebooting
  • malware

There is also what we call silent data corruption, which happens when data becomes unreadable due to background radiation or age-related defects.

 

Now that we know the causes, it will be easier to identify the necessary steps to protect our files and prevent data corruption.

 

Exit programs and shut down your computer properly

The computer needs time to cache information, and ensuring a program is shut down properly or ejecting hardware safely safeguards your information from corruption. Basically, there is a reason why the computer always prompts to “safely remove hardware”. When using an external storage drive and ejecting without using the safe option, you not only run the risk of the drive data being corrupted but also put your computer’s entire file system in danger of data loss.

 

Block malware

Viruses in the system can directly damage files. If data is lost almost without any outside intervention, files are most likely infected by malware or a virus. Malware or viruses can damage files through encryption (making them unreadable by normal applications), by making the files hidden, or worse, outright deletion. Protect files by blocking viruses/malware, pick and install trusted antivirus software to your system, and remember to scan your drives regularly.

 

Perform disk checks

Aside from checking and cleaning your hard disk of malware, you should also perform regular health checks and defragmentation. Windows has a built-in disk checker that scans your hard disk for bad sectors that may cause harm on your files.

 

Back up!

Despite being one of the most obvious tips to prevent losing data, many are still lazy to back up their files. They may think that saving the same files in different places is a waste of space, but having extra copies of your files is a sure way that you won’t lose anything. Of course, to be practical, you only need to back-up the most important files. Just make sure that when you have updated a file, you also update all the other versions in other hard disks, external drives, and in the cloud.

 

Power up with UPS

Interruption in data transmission, such as power loss, can affect and cause data corruption. Similar to bad program exit and not safely removing hardware, any interruption in data transmission, anything that interferes with data writing, reading, storage, and processing contribute to possible data loss. This can easily be countered with a UPS (uninterruptible power supply), which keeps the machine on while giving the user enough time to save data and minimize losses.

 

Encrypt Only When Needed

Encryption is ideal because it adds extra security, especially to files with confidential data. But instead of encrypting the entire disk, it is best to just encrypt the most important files. As much as encrypting is effective, recovery is also as hard when your disk crashes.

 

Alas, data corruption is inevitable as there may be other unexpected reasons that your files suddenly become unreadable. But taking these six easy steps is a start, and they are sure ways that you will always have a contingency plan. Here at MicroCreatives, each workspace has its own UPS and a shared drive that does not only serve as back up, but also serves as a shared folder where our designers, animators, copywriters, and developers can easily access common files.