DriveSavers Data Recovery, Inc, the worldwide leader in data recovery services, has complied a list of important tips to safely bring computers “back to life” after a blackout.

While a major blackout can certainly cause data loss and destroy computer systems, it’s when the “lights come back on”, that one really needs to worry.

Fluctuations that occur as power is restored can easily damage computers, hard drives and the data they hold. The specialists at DriveSavers Data Recovery in Novato, CA suggest the following tips to bring computer systems back up after the blackout:

  1. Once power is restored to your home or office — don’t switch on your computer immediately. Power will likely fluctuate for some time which could damage your computer’s hard drive and its data. It may be minutes, hours or days before power is completely stabilized.
  2. If the power is still off in your area, turn off your computer, monitor, printer and any other peripherals that may have been running when power was lost. As an added precaution unplug the computer to guard against power spikes or surges that typically occur as power is brought back online.
  3. When power is restored and it seems stable enough to switch on your computer system, it may be necessary to use a disk utility program. Some are included with the operating system such as Microsoft ScanDisk, Apple’s First Aid, or a third-party program such as Symantec’s Norton Utilities, to repair damage to your hard drive’s directory structure — essentially its “Table of Contents”.
  4. While most disk utility software provides excellent preventative maintenance by fixing minor problems, some can render data unrecoverable in the event of extreme corruption. To protect you from further data loss, DriveSavers only recommends the use of disk utility software that allows you to save an “undo” file of the repairs it makes. Saving an “undo” file lets you back-out of fixes in the event it does not correct your problem.
  5. Backup Now! If you’ve been fortunate enough to get your computer up and running backup your critical files NOW. Sensitive electrical devices like your computer hard drive may appear to function normally even though they might be damaged. Take the safe route and backup your data before the drive or system goes belly-up.
  6. If your computer is unable to boot up and you have no current backup of your critical data, contact a data recovery firm (like DriveSavers) that specializes in retrieving data from hard drives and other storage media that have suffered physical damage or mechanical failure. Be sure the company is authorized by the computer or drive manufacturer to complete work without voiding the original warranty.
  7. If your hard drive emits unusual noises (clicking, grinding or metal scraping), turn it off immediately! This symptom typically indicates a condition known as a head crash that can destroy your data. Hard drives spin with extreme speed — from 7,200 to 15,000 revolutions per minute — therefore, extensive damage can occur in a short period of time. Contact DriveSavers immediately, as this situation demands professional recovery in a clean room environment.
  8. If you’ve been lucky enough to survive the blackout without suffering the loss of a computer or your precious data, today is a great day to evaluate your backup strategy. Invest in a reliable backup device, or take advantage of your computers built-in CD-R or DVD-R drive. Using backup software automates the backup process and removes the hassle of manually dragging files to your backup media.
  9. To guard against future power problems, all computer equipment should be protected with a high-quality surge protector or an uninterruptible power supply (also known as a UPS). These devices protect against power spikes and surges. A UPS also contains a battery that can run a computer for a short time as well as automatically shut it down.
  10. If your computer equipment has been physically damaged, never assume the data is gone forever. Check out DriveSavers web site and its Museum of Bizarre Disk-asters, for examples of some amazing recovery tales.