I am usually good at backing up my work. I have an automated backup system on most of my machines, but recently I forgot to backup one of my machines and it turned out to have some vital files on it. I had backed this computer up previously, but was the backup still working? of course not…
Here is what happened… The computer is not my main machine, so it doesn’t have all my current work. For about a month I have walking past it thinking, I should really put the backup disk back on the that machine. But I have been really busy lately, so I put it off.
Then one day my wife came to me and said “The computer is not starting up, can you fix it?”
I thought this might be something simple, so I tried to start the machine, but it wouldn’t start. I checked the power supply, that was OK,. The computer showed that the operating system was damaged. The next option was to start the machine from a DVD and I check the hard disk.
Now I really started to worry. The disk utility showed that there was no hard drive. This is my worst fear. If I had backed up recently, I could easily buy a new HD and restored the data from the backup. But I had foolishly put it off.
I took the computer to my local expert and he confirmed that the HD was seized. All I could do was to send it to a specialist and hope for the best. So, it cost me a new HD and an hour of tech time to learn this. This was the first cost.
I sent the HD away to Computer Forensics
. They were able to re-build my HD and retrieve all the important data. It was very expensive, but then so is the data. There charge rates are 2x what I change, but I was so relieved to get the data back. This was the second cost, and by far the most expensive.
The total cost of the repairs and replacement of the hard drive is equivalent to the cost of buying a brand-new computer. In real terms, my mistake has cost me a brand-new computer.
I have heard a lot of stories of the years from my clients. There are many things that can go wrong:
- “I saved the file in the wrong folder so it wasn’t backed up.” All projects should be correct folder, or broaden the backups so that everything is covered.
- “I forget to run the backup this week.” Make it Automatic so you don’t have to think about it.
- “My computer was stolen, and the took all the backups as well.” Keep your backups away from your computers, keeping them off site is best.
- “When I went to get the files off the backup, I found that the backup had not been working.” Regularly check the backups to make sure they are working correctly.
Now I have set up and automated backup on this computer and my most vital files are also backed up online using dropbox. My friend Steve Scaysbook has written about this.
What you should learn from this is that it is important to backup all your work, that it is important to check your backups to make sure they are working, and if all else fails, you can spend a lot of money and maybe get the files back (but this is not guaranteed).