No, no, no, NO!
My heart skipped a beat, then began beating faster than normal. My hands began to shake and I felt a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was staring at my computer screen that was doing nothing. It should be doing something. It should be booting up, but it’s not. The first window that comes up with a status bar is still there, with the status bar stuck ¾ of the way. It has been like that for an hour. Crap.
Last night I noticed that my computer had re-booted itself and was sticking at the status bar. No problem, I thought, it’s probably just really hot and I don’t have the air conditioner on. So I shut it down thinking it will be fine tomorrow morning.
But tomorrow morning is here and nothing has changed. In a previous life I used to work in technical support. Yeah, it was a long time ago, but I still have a little technical know-how in fixing computers. I reached into the far recesses of my brain, took a deep breath, and started banging my laptop on the desk. Surprisingly nothing changed. I went through a few other rudimentary steps, but I always got the same result. Nothing.
Now my husband jumps into the fray because he is a techno-geek and wants to give it a shot. I let him have at it so as not to offend his geeky manhood, but I’m already searching my phone for a local tech support person who can fix this FAST. I run a business that is based around increasing productivity, so I have no time to waste. Once my husband admits defeat, I bring my laptop to the tech for a new hard drive. I have all day to work on other things that don’t require my computer, and the laptop is ready for me to pick up that evening.
The one thing in all of this that allowed me to keep (somewhat) calm was that I was backing my files up on a regular basis through an online system. While my laptop was in the shop, I did a sanity check by using another computer to see if I could see all my data online. There it is. HUGE sigh of relief.
Frankly, I don’t care which online backup system you use, but you definitely need to use something!
Lessons I learned from this event:
- It could have been disastrous – years of files, photos, letters from friends and family, and work files could have disappeared. How would you recover from something like that? Especially my business stuff? The money I paid for my online backup system was well worth it!
- It could have been worse – I used to manually back up my files to a thumb drive, but it was so sporadic that I would sometimes go a few months without doing it. I just got lax about it. If I had continued with that system, I would have most of my files to recover, but anything recent would have been lost. This would have taken a lot of time to fix.
- It could have been better – I had focused on backing up my data files. Don’t get me wrong. They are incredibly important. But I could have installed mirror image software that would have allowed me to get going again a lot faster by exactly duplicating (with all my old settings) my computer. Instead, I’ve had to spend a lot of time re-installing software and re-setting up my settings to my particular liking.
- It could have been less expensive – even without installing the mirror image capability, I should have at least backed up all my software executable files and those registration numbers that I had downloaded off the internet. Instead, I had to RE-PURCHASE all that software.
Now I’m going to change my backup from being scheduled once a night to real-time backup so that even if my hard drive crashes right now, I’ll be able to recover this article I’m writing right now. I tried searching statistics to see how many people actually do lose everything each year because they didn’t back up, but in a cursory search didn’t find anything. Doesn’t matter really, because even if it was one person, would you want to be that one person?