“Computer Rage,” Human Error, and Natural Disasters are behind Top Worldwide
Data Recovery Requests
MINNEAPOLIS – Nov. 10, 2004 – Ontrack Data Recovery has unveiled its annual
Top Ten list of the strangest and funniest computer mishaps. The global poll
of Ontrack’s experts uncovered the best examples of bizarre data
disappearances taken from the thousands of recovery jobs Ontrack processed
this year. In all incidences, Ontrack recovered the data, by either working
on the computers or media/storage devices in their labs and cleanrooms, or
by using its patented Remote Data Recovery technology.
The Ontrack 2004 Top Ten List of Data Disasters
- Data Defrost – One man brought in a hard drive in a wet plastic bag. He
said he had read on the Internet that if you place a broken drive in the
freezer it would fix it. So he tried that method and asked the recovery
engineers not to laugh.
- Reckless Recycling – One man tidied up his computer folders and
inadvertently deleted the ones he meant to keep. He then cleaned up his
system, emptied the recycle bin and defragged the hard drive before
realizing his error. He now triple-checks files before deleting them for
- Rowdy Relatives – A man suddenly found his laptop would only boot up to
the ‘blue screen of death,’ putting his data at risk. A week later, his
nephew admitted that he used its screen as a punching bag to relieve his
frustrations with the slow computer. The man sent his nephew back to live
with his parents.
- Digital Disaster at 19,000 Feet – The Polish explorer, Krystof Wielicki,
dropped his digital camera when
climbing the Himalayas on his latest expedition, smashing it to smithereens
and damaging the memory card in the process.
- Gone in a Flash – One medical company worker completed 1,200 customer
billing entries – a process that took several days – when lightning struck
the transformer outside the building. Everything was gone, including all the
bills she had just prepared.
- Baby Blues – One couple had hundreds of pictures of their baby’s first
three months on their computer. When a virus struck their PC, the computer
manufacturer advised them to reload the operating system but they forgot to
save the data.
- Construction Calamity – During the construction of a large office
building, a steel beam fell on a laptop computer containing the building
plans, crushing the laptop.
- Toilet Trauma – One man became so mad with his malfunctioning laptop
computer, he threw it into the toilet and flushed a couple of times.
- Road Kill – A woman placed her laptop on top of her car while she got in.
She forgot about the laptop, which slid off the back of her car, and she
then reversed straight over it and reported hearing a ‘crunch.’
- Runway Wreckage – A laptop computer was run over by an airplane. Even
Ontrack’s recovery engineers don’t understand how it happened, but that was
the customer’s explanation.
“Computer malfunction remains the predominant cause of data loss, but
careless mistakes that could easily be prevented make up a large percentage
of the reasons we’re given for data loss,” said Jim Reinert, senior director
of Software and Services for Ontrack Data Recovery. “Data can disappear as a
result of natural disaster, system fault or computer virus, but human error,
including ‘computer rage,’ seems to be a growing problem. Nevertheless,
victims soon calm down when they realize the damage they’ve done and come to
us pleading for help to retrieve their valuable information.