Data Loss

Worried about Data loss?

Studies show that human errors and hardware failures are the 2 most common causes of data loss. The most common hardware failures are hard drives, memory, and power supplies.

Hardware failures come in many forms, and are often hard to predict. It has been said there are two types of hard drives, those that have failed, and those that will! When memory fails, even a single defective bit in memory can cause system instability, Windows crashes, lockups, blue screens, and of course data loss.

Irwin Electronics has industry leading software to detect many of these failures. Our software will diagnose every component, including the motherboard and processor. Don’t be fooled by the free alternatives anyone can download. We have tried these and compared them to the commercial software. Irwin Electronics believes in, and supports, open source software. We often donate when we find a product we really like. However, when it comes to true hardware diagnostics, nothing compares to the commercial products the pros use.

We had a computer with a hard drive issue. (Not a customer’s system.) We tested the drive with Windows built in diagnostic tool and found bad sectors. That is a major indication of imminent failure! Windows was able to recover the data. We then ran a boot time test of the drive, including all sectors. Windows determined the drive was clean. We tested the drive with software that monitors the drive’s built in S.M.AR.T. (Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology) software. Again, the drive tested clean. We downloaded and installed a bunch of free diagnostic tools. Most of them did nothing more than read the S.M.AR.T. system, or run a simple check using the same software as Windows. None of them indicated any serious problems. Next we ran our commercial product on the system, and the drive test quickly failed, every time! If this would have been a customer’s computer, and we ran only the built in or free tools, we would have given it back only to have it fail shortly after. Our customer would have lost data, and we would have lost a customer!

That is not to say that it is impossible to have a catastrophic failure shortly after we thoroughly test a system. Electronics can and will fail. What we can offer you is peace of mind. You will know that once we have performed our diagnostic service, you can be certain that every component has been properly tested and verified. Hardware failure at this point is highly unlikely. We even give you a full diagnostic report. You will see every component installed, make, model, and serial number (if applicable), AND their test results! This is a $40 service by itself. If we perform additional work on your system, we will often include this report for FREE. Of course this only applies to customers in the Phoenix Metro area. These diagnostics cannot be run remotely. We are located in Peoria,Arizona and come to you valley wide seven days a week. We support all major brands of desktops, laptops, and servers; including HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, Acer, and many others.

Another common cause of data loss are Viruses and Malware. At Irwin Electronics, we have access to some of the best antivirus software on the market for much less than you would pay retail. Many times we have found that we can properly install, configure, and test antivirus software for the same price you would pay for a retail box! If your antivirus is outdated or expired, we will uninstall the old product for you, before installing the new one. If you have multiple products installed that perform the same function they will seriously impact the performance of your system, even if one of them has expired. Antivirus software installs hooks into the operating system that intercept files as they are read from, or written to, the hard drive. The software then scans the file for known virus signatures. It also monitors files for risky behavior. The more hooks you have redirecting files, the longer it takes to move any data. This is another reason why Internet Suites are better than stand alone software. Most suites provide antivirus, firewall, anti-spam, and anti- phishing components. Installing these separately would create multiple hooks as each component would need to intercept the data to analyze it. Most suites will install one hook into the hard drive and network connection, and then perform all the analysis required before sending it back on its way. Another benefit of Irwin Electronics is that we can perform this service remotely! We have a small file on our website that when launched by you, connects to our systems allowing us remote control. Of course, this only works when YOU launch the file. It has been preconfigured to connect ONLY to one of our computers, and terminates when either of us exits it. As long as you have Internet access, you can establish this connection. Keep in mind that software that monitors Internet data will also terminate this connection. In most cases, you click [OK] on an alert and re launch the remote program. Don’t worry; we will walk you through it.

We can also help you decide if you need a full suite, or simply antivirus. Windows itself provides a limited, but effective, firewall. Most routers provide NAT (Network Access) Translation, which also provides firewall security. These are effective only on incoming connections. If you frequently download software from the Internet, a good firewall will also scan outgoing connections which could be sending your private data to the bad guys! Corporate environments already have professional firewalls installed that perform deep packet analysis on all data, which means they inspect every bit of the data sent through their systems, and also restrict where that data is sent. Your computer has 65,536 ports through which data is sent and received. Some software only “monitors” standard ports, while others can provide complete anonymity on all ports. If your goal is to make your computer appear offline, or disappear, from the network, we can help you with that too. One of our clients was a Police Officer that required complete anonymity when surfing suspect sites. In this case, we installed a professional antivirus and firewall solution in addition to instructions on how to surf using special anonymizing proxy web sites that route data through multiple servers worldwide. These even hide or mask your IP address, which is a specific network address assigned to you by your Internet provider. You may not realize it, but websites have several ways to indentify you. They know your approximate location, your ISP (Internet Service Provider), what web browser you are using, even the operating system on your computer! Sites like, http://whatismyipaddress.com/ and http://www.whatismybrowser.com/ provide examples of some of the data collected.

We can help recover lost data, assist in moving data to a new computer, recommend backup solutions, detect imminent hardware failure, and protect your data.

To summarize, there are many types of failures that can occur leading to data loss. Irwin Electronics has been doing this for over 20 years. We are experts in the field, and a wealth of knowledge and experience. If you have questions, please call us at 480-382-4761. We are always happy to answer your questions, and we want to be your IT guys!