My Hard Drive Crashed

My hard drive crashed again the other day. But at least I was prepared this time. The first hard disk crash was devastating. I was not prepared to recover any files.

Are you prepared for your next computer or hard drive crash?

It will happen sooner or later. It will happen to either your smartphone, tablet, desk top computer, or laptop.

hard drive crash
Preparing for your hard drive crash data recovery is important from both a personal and home business perspective. Consequently, the following factors should be part of your preparations:

  • Backup Plan
  • Planning Factors
  • Types of Backups
  • Methods of Backups

Computer or Hard Drive Backup Plan

There are a number of factors to consider before backing up your computer. And given the number of options available for backing up important data and files, the following factors will help the selection process.computer file organization

Planning Factors

Things to consider include:

How much data needs storing – The file number and sizes will determine what type of storage you need. Online services charge varying amounts depending on volume. Expect to pay more for more storage requirements. Free services tend to have limited storage.

Backup speed (upload speeds by your ISP) – Your Internet Service Provider may have upload speed limits on your account. Graphics, video, music files are huge and take considerable time to upload if you have slow ISP speeds.

How many devices (PCs on your home network) – The number of devices requiring backup impacts the complexity of the backup process. Availability and prices of online backup services vary depending on how many devices will be backed up.

Sensitivity of your data – Irreplaceable photos and home movies, your music and purchased commercial movies, and important personal and financial information all have varying degrees of sensitivity and value. Highly sensitive data may justify using redundant backup options to minimize loss of data.

Your computer skills – The level of your computer skills will determine whether or not a do-it-yourself approach to backing up data is feasible. I have moderate computer skills and able to install a second hard drive in my computer for backup purposes.

Types of Computer Backups

Manual – Manually copy files to a storage device. The storage device may be an external hard drive, flash/thumb drive, CD, or DVD. The storage also may be an online private directory such as Dropbox.
Bootable backup – This type is a complete copy of your primary hard drive (disaster recovery). Imaging would include all files, including programs, necessary to restore your computer hard drive to the same configuration prior to the failure.
Online storage service including cloud – This is an automatic backup of files and data to an external site, either a vendor’s server storage devices or a distributed network of systems and devices (cloud).

Methods to Back Up Computer Hard Drives

  1. Burn important files to CDs. If you have a CD or DVD burner drive on your desktop or laptop computer, you can back up important files and photos onto compact disc.
  2. Back up to an external (or internal) hard drive with extra storage. The external hard drive is usually connected with a USB cable. Newer cable types allow for faster speeds through the wire. External hard drives provide ample storage only limited by size of the device. External hard drives are easy to backup and are safe from hackers.
  3. USB flash drive/thumb drive (USB 3.0). Flash drives don’t hold lot of data. Though, they are getting larger. Using a flash drive is easy to share with others.
  4. acronis data recovery softwareUse backup software (windows recovery or third party like Acronis True Image 2017 because devices especially low cost ones, do not come with software.
  5. Use online backup services (upstream bandwidth issues). Services are available from many vendors such as CrashPlan, Cloud storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, MS OneDrive 2014, or Apple’s iCloud service. Backup service features include off-sight, free and paid, shareable and collaborative as well as access from anywhere.

One disadvantage of online backup services or cloud storage is that companies go out of business and shut down operations. This happened with a smaller cloud storage service called Firedrive.

My Experience with Backing Up My Computer

I have used a number of different methods over the years to back up my computer. Way back when, I manually backed up files to floppy disks (3.5″ disks). Computers don’t even come with floppy drives anymore!

I have also used tape drives which had larger capacity than floppy disks.

It was pure laziness that I failed to back up my new computer. I just never got around to the task of backing up files. So when my hard drive failed, I lost important files and programs. I had to buy a new drive and reload all my programs and operating system. Back in the day, that meant numerous disks.

Now I use an external hard drive and the Windows 10 backup application to automatically backup my hard drive. I also use Dropbox to store irreplaceable photos and files.

Summary

I am prepared for the next time I find my hard drive crashed again. Are you prepared for your next hard drive crash?

Be prepared! Create a backup plan, consider the planning factors, evaluate your options and chose the appropriate method for your circumstances.

You will save a lot of grief and frustration if you are prepared!

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