Soggy Software

Wet Laptop

Back home at my parent’s house, we had a major plumbing problem. Our basement flooded, which would have been bad enough on its own, but was made worse (for me, at least) by the fact that the basement was where I had been keeping all of my computer equipment! Don’t get me wrong, I’m no computer engineer--just a guy who used computers a lot as a kid. I have a ton of old stuff on those computers, from favorite games to old digital photos, but I don’t know the first thing about getting it all back. For now, I’ve told my parents not to throw anything out. Beyond that, though, I don’t have any idea what I’m going to do. Help!

You've certainly learned a costly lesson about computer storage. While we hate to rub it in, it should be pointed out for all of our readers that computers and computer equipment are best stored in a dry place with moderate temperatures.

Of course, your family’s basement was never supposed to be quite so wet as it got! Plumbing issues can wreak havoc on your space, which is why water damage experts suggest routine plumbing services like leak detection, pipe inspection, and small repairs. With the proper maintenance routine in place, responsible homeowners should be able to minimize their risk of a serious plumbing problem. In many cases, water damage is preventable--for instance, 18% of plumbing-related insurance claims dealt with frozen pipes. With that said, there is no way to eliminate the risk entirely, which is why it also pays to invest in insurance in the first place.

But you asked about your computers and equipment, so let us focus on that. The good news is that experts say water damage does not necessarily mean the end of your hard drives. The bad news is that pros say time is of the essence. If you have not already, wrap your hard drives in paper towels or another absorbent material, then head to professionals that handle hard drive recovery services. It's possible that you will be able to recover your data.

In the future, you may want to consider backing up your data. Having another copy of your hard drive in a different location or stored with a cloud storage service will give you some security. The experts at Aligned Data Centers point out that big companies don’t keep all their data on-site--they invest in data centers and redundancy to make sure that they are not at risk. Companies are careful about backing up data, but individuals too often are not: only 8% of us back up our data daily, and a full 25% of us do not back up data at all! You've learned that hard way that. Going forward, it's always best to have a backup.

“Redundancy is my favourite business strategy.” - Amit Kalantri

(Suzanne Hite is a former publications editor serving the technology services sector).

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