Protect your irreplaceable data!!!!!

inside a mechanical hard drive

Have you ever had a hard drive fail?

Though some will use computers their whole lives and never see a hard drive fail, people who fix computers know that there are two types of hard drives. Those that have failed and those that will.
It is strange to me how we tend to have problems occur in groups to unrelated clients, but here are a few things I have seen over that last little while.

I started my day yesterday with one of my better clients calling up with a computer problem, we agreed I should send a tech. He then asked how I was doing with the attempt to recover several years of vacation photos from his smart phone that had quit working. I explained that I have exhausted what I can do and am looking in to data recovery companies who can reliably recover data from phones. I am concerned about his confidential data that will also be on this device, and need to find a place with credibility, who is preferably local.

Shortly after that phone call, I was asked to investigate why a customer’s main “server” computer’s would not start up. It turned out that, the main computer’s hard drive was dead. At some point during the course of my visit, she explained to me that she had been using computers over 20 years and that this was the first time that this has happened.

After I finished for the day with that customer, just as I pulled into my driveway at home, I had another client call up. This person explained to me that, my technicians had just left her place. I knew from their “check in” call that, they diagnosed her hard drive as failing. She explained her computer was running while they were there, now the computer with no longer start up. I explained to her that the technician said the hard drive was dying, and that means it was near death. She was a bit frantic and said “I know but what did they do to it, why won’t it run? It ran when they left!”. I had to explain several times, slowly repeating what I was saying each time “They told you the hard drive was failing, it has now failed.” She wasn't able to hear that she had lost all of her data. I explained it one more time “This is really bad, and I will send the technicians right back.”

A couple weeks ago I got a call in the middle of the night, around 2 AM. A university student's mother, was calling up. Mom was quite upset. Her daughter did not actually leave doing the assignments to the last minute. Her daughter was a bit of an over achiever, the daughter did not want to hand the assignment in until the due date, just in case she had an idea to make the assignments better. Her computer would no longer start up. I explained to them it did not make sense to rush over right away because, I suspected a dead hard drive, I could not buy parts in the middle of the night, and that we charge double time after 9:00PM. We made an appointment for the next morning, just after my parts supplier was open for the day.
None of these stories ended without spending much more money than they had to.

All of these stories included a lot of stress.

They included both Mac and Windows computers.

There was even a Phone

Everyone in these stories was sane and sensible, I would go as far as saying they were above average in those traits.

The common thing here is that none of them had a simple back up.

Every modern computer includes a simple backup program.

Every electronic store, or at least most of them, sell portable hard drives.

Buy one, set it up, sleep better.

If you don't know how or don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, call me, I'll make it happen.

The smart phone situation is a bit more complicated, if you are curious, ask me.

In case you're wondering about the stories, they are all true, and…

The phone is an on going situation, I do not think the photos are recoverable.

The second customer didn't think she needed a backup of her computer, because her important company data was backed up offsite. The company who setup the database program on which she runs her business, explained that she is backed up offsite by them. That database is backed up. The problem she now faces is that fact that, the database is all that is backed up. No personal data, no email, none of the computer configuration, nor the computer's operating system, were on that off-site backup. She's leaving for vacation today, her system is not completely up yet, she has spent a substantial amount of money so far, and there is quite a bit more to spend. While I am doing my best to reduce her worry, I know this would put a damper on any vacation I was taking. I will drop off the old hard drive to CBL Data Recovery in the next few days so that she will have their estimate when she returns.

The third customer, has ordered a new computer, and I don't know if her old disk drive is going to be sent to data recovery. If it is, I have never seen that cost less than $800. If it is not, she has lost everything on that computer.

The fourth customer, was the happiest conclusion, I was able to recover all of her data, her assignments were handed in on time, and the computer was MUCH faster than it was before because the new hard drive was a Solid State, however, my invoice to the family was approximately $700.

Please setup a backup and periodically check that it is working, these are not the jobs I like doing.

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