Backups. You would think in this day and age people, especially businesses, would be aware of how important it is to make sure you have redundant, reliable backups.

The last 2 weeks I have encountered 2 hard drive failures with 2 different businesses. In one case I was not contacted until the system would no longer boot. In the other I told them I needed to see the computer a month ago but they waited until it too would no longer boot before getting it to me.

In both cases there was an automatic backup to a second drive in the computer. In both cases the failure of the primary drive caused the backups to be corrupted. If I had been able to examine the computers when the symptoms first started I probably could have saved their data, programs and backups. By waiting until there was total failure they reduced my options for recovery to nearly nill.

One company got lucky. I was able to restore an old backup and then recover the newer data from the failing drive just moments before it totally failed. The other company lost nearly everything.

What could have been done to prevent these situations? First, I needed to see the system when symptoms first appeared. When systems start doing weird things like crashing or locking up, waiting until you can’t use them anymore before calling me is NOT the correct procedure.

Also, having more than one backup location is pretty important. One must assume the worst. I personally have 3 different hard drives I backup to plus putting some of my more important stuff in a cloud backup like Google Drive or Dropbox.

For a business you should have a RAID array (2 hard drives that act as one so if one fails you still have the other), an internal automatic daily backup and at least one external backup.

For home users you should at least be backing up your important stuff to a flash drive or external hard drive. Flash drives are cheap and external hard drives aren’t expensive. If you aren’t backing up you WILL lose your stuff. It’s only a matter of when.

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