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HasYour Computer Hard Drive Ever Crashed? Are You Challenged by Backups?

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The following scenario's have probably been repeated thousands of times, on computer systems of all kinds and sizes, operated by all levels of users from complete novice, to expert user.

? You log on and your computer will not boot to your operating system.

? You have installed some piece of new hardware, or some new software, your computer cannot find your operating system.

In more than 20 years of using personal computers, I have experienced all kinds of computer/operator failures. Some were caused by equipment failure, others by me doing something dumb. It really makes no difference, when your computer does not work, the only thing that matters is getting it up and running, and saving as much data as possible

All mechanical devices, will at some point fail, there is no timetable that tells you exactly when they will fail, however it is usually when you can least afford the time lost or the cost of repair, or of course immediately after the warranty has expired. Current computer hard drives are very reliable, they work for hours on end and keep right on ticking, they are however partially mechanical, as such they are subject to unannounced failure. They could fail in 5 minutes, or in 5 years or even longer.

As computer users we have all been admonished time and time again to backup our work on a regular basis, as insurance against losing data. Data can be lost in other ways of course, but if you do have a current backup you will only lose whatever you created or changed just before the failure.

My first experience with a hard drive failure was the classic computer will not boot. My first course of action was to call tech support from the manufacturer. The customer service rep stayed on the phone with me for about 4 hours, as we tried to diagnose where the problem was, after trying every thing she knew to try, she said they would send a technician to replace my hard drive. Of course none of my data was easily retrievable, and I did not have a current backup. Immediately after this episode I began to backup my data frequently. However at this particular time, backup software was not real easy to use, and choosing the media to backup to required the installation of more hardware. I quickly fell out of the habit of frequent backups.

I have experienced logon failures after adding or changing hardware or software many times. Usually followed by a call to customer support, which you most likely will have to pay for. Your support call may be transferred to a foreign country, your support person may or may not be highly qualified, there have been many instances where I felt that I knew more than the support person. There have been many instances that I managed to fix the problem myself, while waiting for support to get back to me. Sometimes I lost information, sometimes it was there but hard to find etc. The times that were most successful were when I did have a current backup.

Backup software has evolved, there are very easy programs to use, they are very easy to automate, the media options are many and easy to set up.

In my current setup I use Norton Ghost 9.0 as my software of choice, and I send my backups to a removable USB 2.0 hard drive. The advantages of this system are an extremely easy to set software program that can do anything form complete backups on whatever schedule you choose to complete copies of hard drives. The speed and safety of using a removable hard drive would be hard to beat. Because of the "set it and forget it" nature of this system, I now have complete backups always at hand.

Peace of mind is a wonderful thing

Jim Newell

Please visit for more information on these products and other solutions to backup and storage problems.

Jimmie Newell is an experienced computer user, and web publisher with many articles to his credit. Jim is the webmaster for an online shopping destination.

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