“What is your backup plan?” “Will you back me up on this?” “Traffic is backed up going into the city!” “You need to back your car up so I can get out of here!” “Have you backed up your computer lately?” These statements and questions all make you think and some should make you act!
How important is the data on your computer, how about your music and personal photos on the computer? Your work and your banking information, your address book and emails. Could you lose these and not be upset or bummed out. Hard drive failure happens all the time and it is really only a matter of time before a drive stops working. Murphy’s law says it will happen at the worst possible time. So, it is important that you back up your data frequently! You should back everything up! Rebuilding drives and reinstalling all your stuff, OS, programs, applications and peripherals is a big job. There are commercial and shareware programs designed to do this for both Mac and PC. Windows has a basic application included that will do this for you. Mac Leopard and Snow Leopard have TimeMachine which does backups and is impressive with its graphic interface, allowing your to “go back in time” and retrieve things including rebuilding your whole drive. But the important thing is to back your stuff/data/computer up!
Data recovery off crashed drives, which have failed, can be done, and depending upon the drive failure it can be easy and cheap, or it can be hard and costly. It seems that if you have a backup you will not have a drive failure. Lots of people ask me to try and recover their data or see if I can fix the problems with their drives. I generally ask before I do the troubleshooting and repairs. “Have you backed up your data?” People say stuff like no (which is very bad) or the important stuff is backed up, to I was just going to do that and then this happened.
I helped a couple a few weeks ago and their Mac was “sick.” As I worked on it and things went from bad to worse. I asked if the data was backed up and they told me the important stuff was. Things continued to go wrong and then the drive completely failed, data gone! I told them and they got that nervous sick look on their faces, he thought about the recent articles he had written but had not backed up yet, and she thought of the additions and changes to her mailing list that we recently made but were only on the computer and not anywhere else. I felt sick for them and could see that they were feeling sick about it, too! This is a feeling you want to avoid and you can avoid relatively easily!
I suggested that they try to recover the data and in the future they backup the data. As it turned out the logic board was bad and the data was recoverable. They needed to buy a new Mac and they did. The also purchased a large hard drive and are backing the data up regularly with TimeMachine. I asked them if they were OK now, the answer was yes and that putting everything back together from scratch was a pain in the neck. But they discovered the hard way to back their computer up. As they said “Lesson Learned!”