Pretty much everyone nowadays relies on hard drives to store data – and some of the data on yours is undoubtedly rather important. Unfortunately although it may seem as though the data on your hard drive is completely safe, that isn’t exactly true – and there are quite a few issues that could affect the data stored there. Rather than waiting for your hard drive to fail or for something to corrupt the data and render it useless, it would be a good idea to take steps so that you can avoid all that. In particular these steps will help you to get started on the right track: Backup important data regularly and check it Any important data should be regularly backed up – ideally in different forms. If you want you can create a backup on a USB drive or external hard drive, or you could even use cloud storage to do so. Periodically you should restore your data from your backup – just to check that the backups themselves are in proper order. Regularly scan for viruses and malware One of the most common culprits behind data loss tends to be viruses and malware. By scanning for both regularly, you should be able to make sure that your computer isn’t infected and keep it protected constantly. Scan and check the hard drive Under your hard drive properties in Windows you’ll find tools that can help you to scan and check your hard drive for bad sectors and errors. Ideally you should carry out such scans from time to time as they could help to warn you if your hard drive is having issues. Assuming the scans turn up numerous errors, you may want to think about replacing the drive sooner rather than later. Keep the PC clean and dust-free Often dust can start to build up inside your PC case, and that could lead to a ton of different issues that could affect the data on your hard drive. Try to keep your PC as clean and dust-free as possible – but just be aware that if you open the case to clean it you need to watch out for potential damage that could be caused by static electricity discharges. As you can see these steps should help you to prevent any data loss, identify problems before they happen, and be prepared for the worst just in case. If for whatever reason you do end up losing data that isn’t backed up then you could try to carry out a hard drive recovery to get it back. Hopefully by following these steps that won’t be necessary, but the option is there is you need it.