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Mick

They Say that Backing up is Hard to do?…

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Sometimes, being your Apple Technology Coach, I feel like an exhausted doctor who knows he is speaking to people in deep denial about their health. They want a pill and the secret is boringly difficult:

Eat Right, Exercise, and Don’t Smoke.

I know…. You’ve already tuned out. I did too.

Here’s my secret to being able to sleep at night:

Back up, Know the early warning signs, and Call at the first sign of trouble.

You just tuned out. Admit it. I used to too.

But here’s where the analogy breaks down. 5,10, 15+ years ago, backing up a computer was a huge, time consuming, expensive, frustrating headache. You needed dozens of floppy, zip, CD, or DVD discs that took a generation to burn. Or you had an external hard drive that cost more than your car and you could never remember what you backed up on it. Or how you were supposed to back up on it.

“I dragged the Hard Drive onto it. Isn’t that enough?”

If not the manual approach, you had to use a program so complicated and anti-intuitive that even though you backed up every month, you could never remember what you knew at the end of the 2 hours it took you to remember how to use the program last month. Arghhh! It was time consuming, expensive, hard to do right, and basically an experience only slightly more enjoyable than an argument with your spouse.

It’s not like that anymore.

It’s so goll darn easy that you really have no excuse. No argument.

Get a good, reasonably priced external hard drive or TimeCapsule from Mick’s Macs, plug it in, and let TimeMachine (available from System 10.5 on up) take it from there.

That’s it.

Really. That’s it.

It’s not like that diet you “should” go on. It’s not a New Year’s resolution to get in shape. You don’t even have to eat right for this to work. You can stay fat, keep smoking and never get off the sofa and this will still work. And on or off the sofa, you’ll sleep better knowing that it does.

So why don’t people do it?

One of our clients (a writer) who was having a bit of financial stress recently wrote to me after I convinced her to get a backup hard drive from us no matter what her financial situation was.

“Mick, I was resistant to spending any more money on a backup drive, but you made it so easy to pay in small installments. Even more than that, I never realized how peaceful it would make me feel to see it quietly backing up every hour as I put the finishing touches on my novel. Thanks for advocating for me and my writing.”

Okay, so you’re worried about a few extra bucks for a backup solution. Have you run the math on how much time and money you’ll lose if your hard drive dies?

I can’t tell you how many people come into my shop when it’s too late. It’s the worst part of my job. People come in with guilty, pained expressions on their faces usually saying something like, “Yeah, I know I should have a backup, but…. You can still get it all back, can’t you? Please?”

My mother’s hard drive just died last week, while she was in the final throws of writing a book. She has a beautiful, well cared for 24″ iMac that’s only about a year and a half old. Thankfully, she had a TimeMachine back up, so restoring her data was as easy as replacing her internal hard drive (under AppleCare it was FREE) and putting her backed up novel back on to the new one. She thanked me profusely for insisting she set up such a system.

See, the thing is, it’s not hard to do anymore. It’s not expensive anymore. Having a computer without a reliable backup plan is not like the diet you were supposed to go on. It’s like driving your car without insurance. That’s illegal in most States. Hard drives die when they’re brand new, they die when they’re a month old, a year old, 3 years old and there is no pattern. There is no way to predict when it will happen. Hard drive death is a digital earthquake. There’s little or no warning, and you just have to be prepared. It’s not “if,” but “when.”

If you are seeing a lot of spinning beach balls (the multi-colored pin wheel that comes up when your computer is “thinking”), make sure you’re totally backed up and call us immediately. It might be nothing, or it might be a short lived late warning sign that it’s about to fail completely. If your mac is not starting up quickly, or the startup cog wheel turns and turns and turns, make sure you’re totally backed up and give us a call. If your computer feels slower, or sluggish, give us a call. All of these can be signs that you’re about to lose a hard drive.

So,… you ready?

Last time.

Back up Watch for the warning signs Call us at the first sign of trouble

Let us help you get peace of mind. Insure your most precious family photos, movies, documents, email, music, and more.

We have hard drives and TimeCapsules on sale right now. Call us, mention this blog and get a special deal.

Trust me. You’re WORTH it!

All the best,

Mick

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6 Responses to They Say that Backing up is Hard to do?…

  1. Nancy says:

    >Mike: Such good "should's." You made it quite clear what we all "should" do as good Mac citizens. And it's so good to know you are only a phone call away.

    I love your blog. Keep it up!
    Best, Nancy (a Mac user since 1984!)

  2. Mick's Tips says:

    >Thanks, Nancy! Just make sure the "shoulds" don't disable you! They're easy to take care of with ZERO GUILT! I always say that shame is such a misplaced feeling. Most of those that feel it, probably shouldn't, and those that should, don't!

    Thanks for reading!

    cheers,

    Mick

  3. chucka says:

    >MICK:

    Bravo !

    Having a flat tire on your car is an incovenience. Having a crashed hard drive on your computer can be a disaster. In my lifetime I've had more failed disk drives than I have flat tires.

    Fortunately, the failed disk drives have never been a disaster because I've always followed your advice and have had a recent backup for fallback.

    Regards, Charlot (an apple eater since 1946)

  4. Mick's Tips says:

    >Great analogy, C.A.! I'm almost afraid to note how many years have gone by without a flat or a stall or anything. Some day (it's rumored) computers will be as reliable. Until that day I'll keep my towing insurance, thank-you-very-much!

    Remember "Retrospect?" It's still out there causing grief for many with a few stalwarts talking about how powerful it is. As for me, I'm happy that TimeMachine should effectively drive it out of business!

    Thanks again for your comments.

    cheers,

    Mick

  5. tegrat says:

    >Backup is one of the least understood and hence least practiced of all computing tasks. I applaud your efforts towards educating and protecting your readers. Every serious, and most not-so-serious, computer user should have a dependable way to backup their data.

  6. Mick's Tips says:

    >Tegrat, you're right. The hardest thing to explain to our clients is how often we see brand new hard drive completely die. Completely. We've even sent them away to our data recovery partners at the risk of incurring an $800 bill, and even the experts are unable to recover data from these failed drives. It's like the guys who used to send Peter Graves (Mission Impossible) his taped instructions. You may not see smoke, but the effect is the same. Dead beyond hope of recovery.

    So it's a challenge to explain to folks that at any minute, you could really lose everything if you don't have a backup. TimeMachine backs up every hour, silently, in the background and you don't have to stop doing anything to have that happen. If you're busy with the file it wants to backup, it will just wait until the next hour when it might be free.

    Data Recovery services usually BEGIN at around $800. We've partnered with one that will top out there and have made some shell shocked clients very happy even to pay that. So definitely contact us right away if you think you've lost data through any means. The sooner we get to it, the better the odds are that we can recover it.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    cheers,

    Mick

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