A system crash or random application errors are an all too common occurrence, the root cause of which can be due to one more differing problems. Such problems can range from any number of hardware faults through to software and logical errors, affecting drivers or the file systems. Repeated attempts at rebooting the computer are unlikely to fix the problem unless you can find the real cause of the problem. Should the computer reboot it you may be lucky, but there is a good chance that the problem may reoccur due to an underlying issue.
If your computer is crashing regularly or unexpected software errors start to occur, it is important to take action before the safety of your data is put at risk. Repeatedly rebooting a computer which is suffering from crashes could very likely risk make the problem worse, and make data recovery a more difficult process.
A hard disk drive problem is the most likely to put your data at risk, although a failure of a memory module could have the potential to cause corruption. Determining the cause of a hardware issue is important, as some could lead to further failure, such as the failure of a cooling fan, which may lead to a reboot due to the computer becoming too hot.
If the hard disk drive is failing, it is important to ensure that your data is backed up before data recovery is required. Although the occasional computer crash can happen with no problems occurring, it is easy to become complacent, such that an increase in crashes is not seen as unusual.
Software and Logical Data Corruption
Some crashes may be caused by driver errors, software corruption or file system damage. Driver issues and software corruption will most likely be inconveniences, which should be resolvable by their reinstallation. Some file system damage may be the consequence of a sudden reboot, through a power failure or a system error, which is usually fixed without any problems when the file system is mounted.
File system damage caused by unreadable bad sectors or malware damage in many cases cannot be easily fixed, and often an attempt to fix it may cause further corruption of the file system. Most users will install anti-virus software, which will usually provide protection, but does not guarantee the safety of your data.
Crashes and Data Recovery
If your problem appears to be due to either malware problems or a failure of the hard disk drive, it is important to power your system down and seek professional help. In such a case any attempt to reboot the system, even if it succeeds could be causing further damage, which could cause loss of data.
In most cases data recovery should be possible as damage to the file system is usually only minor. However if the corruption becomes too severe the level of data recovery success will be affected, as important data structures and even file data may be too damaged. All computer systems and file systems are at risk when this occurs, so it is important to act before it is too late.