Imagine you wake up tomorrow, sit at your computer, and Windows won’t boot because of a hard drive failure. What would your first thought be? Really think about it for a minute: what would you lose? Assuming, of course, that the hard drive is not recoverable. What kinds of family photos would be gone forever? How much work, how many school papers, how much progress would be irreversibly ripped from you?
“No,” you say, “I store all my documents on my flash drive.” Okay, but do you store them on your hard drive too? All of them? Current copies? Do you really save your document to both places as you work? And your photos are backed up there too? What if it wasn’t your hard drive that broke, but your flash drive: you plug in your flash drive and Windows doesn’t even budge. There’s just nothing. Then what would you lose?
These are both very real situations. Hard drives today generally spin at either 5,400 RPM (revolutions per minute) or 7,200. Simple math tell us that’s 90-120 revolutions per second. Furthermore, the technology is not so different from a record player. Think of a record spinning 90-120 rotations per second, with a “needle” hovering just nanometers above it, but if the needle touches the drive, anything it touches will likely be permanently damaged. There really is no room for error here, and it’s a miracle of modern science that hard drives are as reliable as they are.
Flash drives, on the other hand, have no moving parts; but they are just as susceptible to corruption, if not more so. Do a search for flash drive reviews, and pick any model of flash drive (even your own), and you are bound to see reviewer after reviewer complaining of their flash drive having broken and losing data. You could be next.
Have I scared you enough?
This is the introduction into 4 blog posts that I will be posting in the next few days. I will tell you exactly why I could lose my laptop and external drives, and I wouldn’t actually lose any of my precious data. Because a laptop can be replaced, and a flash drive can be replaced cheaply, but data is invaluable. You need to act now to protect your data, before it’s too late.
Update 4/17/2010: This turned out to be the introduction and the conclusion; I never wrote the rest of the articles. I have no idea why I just stopped, but I apologize to anyone who might read this and wonder where the others are.