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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 November, 2004, 08:31 GMT
How to smash a home computer
Woman with mobile phone, coffee and computer
It's a bad idea to leave your laptop on top of your car
An executive who froze his broken hard disk thinking it would be fixed has topped a list of the weirdest computer mishaps.

Although computer malfunctions remain the most common cause of file loss, data recovery experts say human behaviour still is to blame in many cases.

They say that no matter how effective technology is at rescuing files, users should take more time to back-up and protect important files.

The list of the top 10 global data disasters was compiled by recovery company Ontrack.

Click 'Yes' for catastrophe

Adrian Palmer, managing director, Ontrack Data Recovery
Human error, including 'computer rage', seems to be a growing problem
Adrian Palmer, Ontrack Data Recovery
Careless - and preventable - mistakes that result in data loss range from reckless file maintenance practices to episodes of pure rage towards a computer.

This last category includes the case of a man who became so mad with his malfunctioning laptop that he threw it in the lavatory and flushed a couple of times.

"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," said Adrian Palmer, managing director of Ontrack Data Recovery.

One user put his hard drive in a freezer, after reading on the internet that this can fix malfunctioning hardware
When tidying up his computer folders, one user inadvertently deleted the ones he meant to keep. He only realised he'd made the mistake after emptying the recycle bin and defragging the hard drive
While a large office was being constructed, a steel beam fell on a laptop that contained the plans for the building.
A user placed her laptop on top of her car while getting in. Forgetting about the laptop, it slid off the roof and she then reversed straight over it as she set off
Source: Ontrack Data Recovery
"Nevertheless, victims soon calm down when they realise the damage they've done and come to us with pleas for help to retrieve their valuable information."

A far more common situation is when a computer virus strikes and leads to precious files being corrupted or deleted entirely.

Mr Palmer recalled the case of a couple who had hundreds of pictures of their baby's first three months on their computer, but managed to reformat the hard drive and erase all the precious memories.

"Data can be recovered from computers, servers and even memory cards used in digital devices in most cases," said Mr Palmer.

"However, individuals and companies can avoid the hassle and stress this can cause by backing up data on a regular basis."

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