Data loss is a devastating event when it happens. However, more people could have prevented this if they only knew what to look for. The number one cause of data loss comes from viruses infecting your computer and destroying your data. Therefore, it is important to know what to look for so you can prevent a disaster from occurring. When a virus infects your computer, it gives you different warning signs. Most people ignore these signs and continue using their computer. In this case, the virus grows and become stronger destroying more files and further infecting your computer. Before a virus completely takes over your hard drive and wipes all of your data files you need to contain the virus and remove it from your operating system. Viruses normally have different warning signs to alert you of their presence. To prevent data loss check for these 10 common warning signs: Hardware Malfunctions A virus can cause your computer to start malfunctioning. Your CD-ROM tray can start to open and close, the printer starts ejecting paper, or your hard drive freezes and won’t open a program. System Freezes In the middle of your work the keyboard no longer responds, the cursor no longer moves, or the letter you have typed doesn’t appear on your document. System Performance Slow system response time and poor performance is another warning sign of a virus. Your programs take longer to open or it takes longer to save or open a document. Slow Startup You have noticed that your computer doesn’t start as quickly as before. You now wait longer to load your initial Windows operating system and it takes forever to load all your startup programs. Viruses enter into the Windows system directories and inject false .dll files that prevent your programs from opening and functioning normally. System Crashes In the middle of your work the computer shuts down and restarts. Afterwards, you notice a change in the way your computer is functioning. This symptom is a typical warning sign a virus has entered your computer. The virus forces the computer to restart so it can activate the files it has put on your hard drive. Missing Files When certain application start to malfunction and files are missing, this is another warning sign of a virus. Furthermore, some applications refuse to open and give you an error message that a critical file is missing. Lost Hard Drive Your computer can no longer find a hard drive or your USB ports refuse to acknowledge you have plugged in a USB device. Furthermore, you no longer see the rest of your network devices or you can no longer access the Internet. Added Programs A virus will add programs to your hard drive that are programmed to start when you turn your computer on. These programs can be pop-up messages or a hidden program starting in the background. Furthermore, when you check your disk drive you notice that an extra 100 GB of data has been added. However, you can’t find the extra document, photos, or programs on your computer. Files and Folders Renamed All of your files and folders now have a new name. The new file name is unrecognizable and looks like gibberish. You try to rename your folder, but the name won’t change. About Blank Your browser home page setting has been changed to “About Blank”. When you try to change your home page setting and open your Internet browser it continues to display “About Blank” as your home page setting. These are typical warning signs a virus has infected your computer. If you don’t pay attention to these signs, you may experience permanent data loss or corruption. When you first suspect a virus has entered your computer, it is necessary to take evasive actions to identify, contain, and remove the virus. To prevent permanent data loss on your computer, it is necessary to stop using your computer immediately and clean your hard drive. There are two methods for removing a virus from your computer. Stop using your computer immediately and clean your hard drive. There are two methods for removing a virus from your computer. Method 1 If the virus hasn’t started to destroy your registries and file you have a change to clean the hard drive without removing it from your computer. Therefore, you must download an anti-virus program and install it on your hard drive. Run the program to identify all the infected files. The anti-virus program will prompt you to move the infected file to quarantine or delete them from your computer. Move the infected files to quarantine when prompted. Afterwards, you can check the quarantine files to identify the virus. A simple way to identify the virus that has infected your computer is to Google the file name. Afterwards, you can delete the quarantine files on your computer. Method 2 If the virus has been on your hard drive for a long time it can prevent you from installing an anti-virus program on your computer. Therefore, you will need to remove your hard drive and attach it to another computer. The computer you use for cleaning the viruses should already have an anti-virus program installed. When cleaning your infected hard drive never open the hard drive. Once you open the hard drive the virus can transfer to your other system. Instead, open your anti-virus program and scan the hard drive for viruses. Once the virus scan is complete you can return your hard drive back to your other computer. After your computer boots up to Windows, immediately install an anti-virus program on your hard drive. Scan your hard drive again to verify all viruses have been removed. Afterwards, update your Windows program. Always update your anti-virus and Windows programs for the latest security patches. In Conclusion If you experience any of the warning signs, a virus has infected your operating system immediately. Stop using your computer to prevent the virus from spreading further. Take the appropriate measures to scan your hard drive and remove the virus from your system. Afterwards, keep your operating system and anti-virus up-to-date. Minimizing Data Loss: The 6 Mistakes to Avoid When Handling Your SD Card SD cards are portable and convenient. Moreover, they are best storage devices for DSLRs and other electronics as they offer sufficient space at very low prices. In spite of their many benefits, most photographers have encountered issues with the memory cards. These cards may get damaged or video content, photos and any other content may disappear mostly as a result of user error. However, there are many steps that you can adopt to protect the data you have stored in the SD card and prevent any catastrophic loss. Here are some mistakes that you should highly avoid when handling the SD card for the DSLR devices. Never remove the SD card while still in use You should never remove the memory card from a camera or from a card reader before it is fully written. If you remove the memory card while still in the process, you will disrupt the structure of the file. The device develops file structures with unique numbering and formatting sequences. After you have completed taking or moving pictures, you should allow it at least 30 seconds to finish. In addition, you should use a specific card for every device. The card’s formatting matches the specifications of every device. This process can at times introduce errors to the memory card. Watch heat, dirt and water Just like the other electronics, SD cards do not respond well to wetness, extreme temperature changes, and dirt. You should always keep them away from tea or coffee spills. Never store it in your hot car trunk and then take it immediately into an air-conditioned room. The memory card has contact points that are highly sensitive. You can use isopropyl alcohol to clean them but you should be extra careful not to scratch the contacts or even give them static electric shock. You can protect the card with a plastic case. Make card readers your friends With easy to operate card readers you can easily transfer pictures. The devices are very cheap and will also help you protect your camera’s battery from running out when downloading photos. Be very careful when deleting and formatting photos There are cameras that employ a very devastating way to delete photos while there are others that use a method that allow for their recovery. You can choose to move your pictures to your computer instead of manually formatting them to eliminate any chances of losing a perfect shot. There may be no chances of recovery for any photo that you have accidentally deleted. Rotating and editing your pictures on the card Most individuals have reported some errors that result from rotating pictures while still downloading others. When you change a photo, you will also change information of the file structure and also mess with other pictures. Before using the cameras rotating and editing functions, you should be certain that all downloads are finished. Don’t be a Backfiller Backfilling is the process of shooting photos in place of those that you have deleted. The new photos will try to fill the digital holes you have left after deleting the photos- a situation that cause some serious file problems. In such situations, file recovery is usually impossible. Proper use of an SD card provides you with adequate space to store your photos and other content. You will achieve this without having to carry a heavy load or even incurring higher expenses. Due to their fragile nature, you should only use them as temporally file holders and not for long term purposes.