Top 10 data disasters revealed
Hard drives kept in dirty socks and the dangers of oiling your PC feature in a top 10 list of data disasters.
In one case, a university professor needed help after he tried to fix a squeaky desktop computer by squirting it with WD-40 solvent.
The squeak went away, but so did his data.
In another case, the decision to send a damaged hard drive to a data recovery company in a pair of old socks did even more damage.
Importance of back up
Mistreatment of laptops also featured highly on the list, with one dropped from a helicopter, another given an unnecessary wash from a leaking shampoo bottle, while several were run over.
In another incident, a customer left an old banana on the top of his external hard drive which proceeded to seep its contents and ruin the circuitry.
The list was compiled by data recovery firm OnTrack, which receives thousands of requests each year for help in finding information lost through damaged computer hardware.
In all cases, the data was recovered from these potentially fatal situations.
Losing data can be incredibly frustrating and has become more of an issue as people increasingly store photos, songs and other vital information on their computers.
"No matter how catastrophic the situation may seem, it pays to have your hard drive or storage device evaluated by a professional service because chances are good that we'll be successful in recovering critical data regardless of how it was lost in the first place," said Phil Bridge, managing director of Ontrack UK.
One of the firm's customers this year was comedian Dom Joly.
He dropped his laptop and damaged a hard drive containing 5,000 photos, 6,000 songs and half a book he was writing. He wrote about the disaster in a newspaper column and was contacted by OnTrack, who successfully recovered the data.
"Individuals and companies can avoid the hassle and stress this can cause by backing up data on a regular basis," said Mr Bridge.