Reminder: Pets Are Bad News For Hard Drives

CatDriveWe know: your love your dog, your cat is more important to you than life itself. But is it more important than the contents of your hard drive?

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Each year, recovery service Kroll Ontrack releases a top 10 list of the most bizarre reasons why people end up seeking to have a hard drive repaired. What struck me on this year's list was the three examples all driven by animal accidents:

A game of cat and USB – When a family house cat decided to replace a game of cat and mouse by playing with the AC power cord, it ended poorly. The cord was attached to an external USB HDD, which of course fell, rendering household financial information and memories unreadable.

Upset stomach – After a house pet got into a piece of defrosting meat on a kitchen countertop, the pet became sick on none other than the family’s computer. The dinner remnants seeped into the laptop’s hard drive, ruining the family’s computer in addition to the dinner to be.

A horse riding tour ended abruptly with a fall. The rider was wearing a camera at the time of the accident, and while the rider got a clean bill of health, the memory card did not. The files were corrupted and could not be uploaded to the owner’s computer. After two failed attempts, Kroll Ontrack proved to be the last hope.

Bottom line: pets and hard drives don't mix.

If you want to attempt your own drive fix, check out the Hive Five of free data recovery tools — but for severe cases of damage (one of the other examples in the list involved a drive sitting on the bottom of the ocean), a professional is likely your best bet.

Had your own pet-related IT disaster? We'd love to hear it in the comments.

Kroll Ontrack


    Not really a disaster, but I do have to open my desktop computer regularly to vacuum it because the accumulated cat hair is, shall we say, not very good for air circulation around the CPU.

    All of these examples are due to the carelessness of the pet owner rather than the pet itself.

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