I was helping a friend with a slow sluggish, freakishly slow, laptop this weekend. After trying everything in the world to make this machine run faster, I finally recommended that we wipe it clean and reload the operating system and all software. Not everyone subscribes to this school of thought. . . . but when you have spent a lot of time trying to make a computer speed up, you finally have to realize that there are some things that can only be fixed by laying down a fresh set of software files.
Most of the time that is a daunting task, to say the least. However, this time it was a breeze. Why do I say that? First, my friend had all her ducks in a row and was quite prepared for disaster recovery. She was able to get her hands on all the software we needed to get this project underway. Also, she was able to find all user logon’s, passwords, and activation codes we would need to activate the software she had purchased.
Granted, in the process of gathering all this data, I did hear a bit of frustration in her voice because she had to look in several spots for the needed info. But she was victorious in finding everything we needed.
This is all great stuff, but in addition, she had been using an online backup service and we did not have to go through the process of identifying and backing up all of her data.
I have worked on many similar projects, and the one thing I always sweat is “what if we wipe everything out, and we missed backing up a critical piece of data?” Believe me, it has happened to me a few times, and it is never pleasant to deal with.
The online backup software my friend uses is called Carbonite. www.carbonite.com . It is set up to automatically back up the Documents and Settings directory, and every subfile underneath that directory. You also have the option of adding any other directories you choose.
She had her particular instance of the software configured to automatically back up any of her data files as they changed. You can also set it up to backup any changed files at a specified day or time of day.
Once we had the laptop wiped out and all software installed, we simply loaded the Carbonite software and started a Recovery process. You are given the option of recovering all data, or simply recovering specific directories and/or files. It works slick. Once you are satisfied that all data has been recovered, you can take your computer out of recovery mode and begin the online backup process.
Carbonite costs $49 a year, and for that $49 you can back up an unlimited amount of data. It is extremely reasonable. In addition, we did have to call support, on a Sunday morning no less, and they were extremely helpful. I was blown away that they actually had phone support on a Sunday.
Most of you will fall into one of these categories:
1. You NEVER back up your data, and hope that nothing happens to your computer.
2. You back up your data, but on an infrequent basis.
3. You back up your data on a regular basis.
In my experience, 90% of the people I know fall into category #1. A handful fall into Category 2, and I would say maybe 1/2 of 1% are in category 3. I myself fall into Category 2. I need to fix this.
Believe me, at some point in time, ALL of you will have the experience of a computer crashing, or something disastrous happening requiring you to reload, rebuild, or purchase a new computer. You need to be prepared.
In my next post, I will discuss the steps you need to take to make sure you can recover from a PC disaster.