Oh No! You Forgot to Backup Your Files

Hoh Boy! You forgot to backup the files on your laptop and now it’s dead. A passing thunderstorm caused a catastrophic power surge and it fried your laptop. All those precious photos and important documents are gone. It’s devastating. What do you do now, and importantly, how do you to prevent it from happening again?

Computer Data Loss

What Do I Do First?

If your laptop won’t turn on at all or will not boot up correctly, if at all possible, take your laptop to a registered computer repair shop. See if they can fix the laptop long enough for you to copy your important files over to another hard drive. If the repair shop can’t get it up and running, even for a short period of time, then see if they can remove the hard drive for you.

In most instances you can purchase a hard drive adapter case that you can use to convert your old hard drive into an external hard drive that you can then connect to another system. This will allow you to copy all your data to another device.

It Happened to Me

I had this very thing happen – 2 of my computers got hit by a surge. It fried the motherboards, but the hard-drives were ok. I took the hard-drives out, and put them in one of these HD enclosures (I switch them out). Now they are just like external hard-drives. You slide the hard-drive into the enclosure, shut the lid, and plug it into 2 things – a usb port on your computer, and into an electrical outlet. Oh, and then turn on the on/off button.

Except for one thing – I had a VIP (very important program) on both computers. One that I use extensively. It’s licensed, and I still have the setup files and the license, but the developers and their website have disappeared. It’s a “phone home” license, so I can no longer confirm it. And even though the program was licensed on both of my fried computers, when the HDDs were moved to the enclosures, the licensing was gone. “Unregistered copy”. 🙁  But at least I have all my other important files.

What If Data Is Missing?

If your hard drive was damaged and you are still able to boot it up, but data is still missing or corrupt, there are numerous apps you can download to help repair and find those lost files. Just perform a simple Google search for “file recovery program” and you will get many results. Some are free, some are paid. Recuva is a good option but only works on Windows-based machines. Read user reviews to find which one will work best for your situation. Try to find reviews on sites other than the sellers’, so they won’t be as biased.

How Do I Prevent it From Happening Again?

In order to prevent losing your data again in the future you need to have a backup system in place. One such system is the 3-2-1 Backup System. The 3-2-1 Backup system is a way of backing up your data, in which you will ultimately have 3 copies of your data. 2 copies of your data will be stored on different types of media at your location and a third copy will be stored off-site. It’s a simple way to ensure your data is safe.

A quick way to setup up a backup for off site storage is to use a cloud-based system like Backblaze or Carbonite. Both of these services automatically backup your data to the cloud and are suppose to be a “setup it and forget it” process. They run seamlessly in the background. Backblaze and Carbonite both work with Windows and Mac systems.

Backup Files to the Cloud

If you do choose to go with a cloud-based backup system, please be aware that it may take some time to backup all your files to the cloud. Depending on the amount of data you are backing up, and the speed of your internet connection, it can several hours or even a week or longer for the initial backup to complete. However, once that initial backup is completed, only files that are changed and newly created files are backed up, and that doesn’t take nearly as long.

Double Check for Peace of Mind

Regardless of what backup system you use or if you decide to go with a cloud-based system, just make sure you are actually backing up your data. Once you have a plan in place and setup, check on it once a month to ensure it is actually working. Having a solid backup plan will put your mind at ease and allow you to focus on other things.

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