Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Save Thousands With a Free Tool (You Already Have)

Yesterday I struck up a conversation with a fellow “mature” student while waiting to take a Final at my local JC. He was taking a photography class and he had his gear bag with him, and I asked him about his digital equipment.
(In a former life, I was a photography student too.)

He was a friendly sort, and chatting with him was easy. He explained that he was a professional, and that he had been “all digital” for a while now. And when he discovered my line of work, he told me a very sad story.. and I felt bad for him.

The sad story: It seems this fella kept all his photography on a large portable drive, which he kept referring to as a “jump drive”, and a few weeks ago he went to plug it in and, his words, “immediately I heard strange noises, and smelled a funny burning smell”. And his computer did a BSOD.

Oops.

He told me he unplugged the drive, and rebooted his computer, which came back up fine, and when he tried to reconnect the jump drive, nothing bad happened (no shooting flames) — but nothing good did either. His jump drive was dead.
He told me that – at this point – he wasn’t worried because he had bought the “extended warranty” for the drive and he was still covered.

Oops.

So he told me how he contacted the drive’s manufacturer, and reported his problem, and was told that- yes, they would send him a new drive. And they told him that for recovering the data from the old drive, he was on his own. And that if he did use a 3rd-party to try to recover the photos, they would have to open the hard drive’s case, which voids their warranty.
This came as quite a shock to my new friend, and it clearly still upset him.

He went on to tell me that he had no choice in the matter, he had to get those pictures back (one set was a wedding) and so he sent the drive off to a data recovery service.. which was able to get back almost every single file and cost him a bit over $2,500.

I told him he’d got a bargain.. but he didn’t seem much cheered. In fact he clearly still felt cheated. He really thought the warranty should have covered his pictures.
I believe a lot of people have this.. gross misconception.

The simple facts are these:
* hard drives die
* nobody is going to make backup copies of your stuff for you unless you pay them. Like you would pay a maid, or chauffeur.
* Windows comes with a copy-my-files-from-here-to-there tool called (can you guess?) Windows Backup; which can be set to run automatically. On Vista, it can now burn-to-disc, even.
* Professional data recovery is $$$$

Please read How To Use Windows Backup Tool and follow the steps outlined. Or run a data backup and recovery tool of you own choosing. And do so often– a backup dated 12/20/04 is not going to do you any good!

It would have taken my new friend just a few minutes to make a ‘sync’ of his drive. But he never did, and he’s out the drive and $2,500.
I really did feel bad for him.

Today’s free link: The Internet is a Cyber-Criminals Playground!

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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December 11, 2008 - Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, file system, hardware, how to, software

5 Comments »

  1. […] ladybugsmile wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerpt Yesterday I struck up a conversation with a fellow “mature” student while waiting to take a Final at my local JC. He was taking a photography class and he had his gear bag with him, and I asked him about his digital equipment. (In a former life, I was a photography student too.) He was a friendly sort, and chatting with him was easy. He explained that he was a professional, and that he had been “all digital” for a while now. And when he discovered my line of work, he told me a very sad story.. and I felt bad for him. […]

    Like

    Pingback by Save Thousands With a Free Tool (You Already Have) | December 11, 2008 | Reply

  2. Paul,

    This is an excellent post to remind people to have a backup strategy in place. When I was managing a network, I had backups of backups… I’ve actually seen people break down and cry as a result of losing files. A lot of it has to do that people do not know file management or how to setup/perform a backup… File management, in my experience, is one of the hardest things to teach people; but, once you get it, the backups, copying, etc… all falls into place.

    Rick

    Like

    Comment by whatsonmypc | December 11, 2008 | Reply

    • Part of a good backup plan is storing your copies on two different media types, in two different places (and for really important files, the second place should be “offsite”.. such as a friend’s house, or safety deposit box).

      One of the things I like best about the Windows Backup Tool is it is a wizard.. when asked “what do you want to back up?” answer “my files and settings”. No real skilz required.

      I make it a point to remind people to backup those photos, downloaded music, tax records, etc., on a regular basis because it is the single most important thing you can do on, to, or for your computer.. and NOBODY does it.
      One client had a recent backup.
      One!

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | December 12, 2008 | Reply

      • Make that 3, Paul. When my computer died a few months ago with very little warning, I had to buy a whole new computer. I had a backup of all my files, thank heaven, partly because of your repeated columns! Several backups really. Some things were backed up online, some to an external hard drive, and some to USB drives. I was lucky, and the tech who diagnosed my problem was able to transfer all my files from the old hard drive to the new computer, but if that hadn’t been the case, I had all my files safely backed up.

        So in spite of your lack of stats as to who reads your posts, and the pitiful stats on the people who come to you for repairs, there are those of us out in cyberspace who read, heed and benefit from your advice!

        What I didn’t have at the time, but do now, is a backup program for my Firefox and Thunderbird settings and for my email. The tech gave me a program for that, so I was able to back up all my emails too, and I now use FEBE to back up my Firefox settings and extensions as well. Maybe you could add those to your next backup post!

        Like

        Comment by Susan Bain | April 25, 2010 | Reply

        • Susan Bain,
          It sure sounds to me like you had a good tech. (Folks, there are different ‘calibers’ of technicians out there.)

          I want to thank you for adding to this discussion. Testimonials from “real people” are so very important. I also want to tell you that it is very, very nice to hear that my efforts are not falling on deaf ears. Nobody’s paying me to write these articles. I do them because I believe in helping people learn.

          It seems surprising to me that here we are, a full decade into the 21st Century; computers have been in our homes for 25 – 30 years; and people still don’t know their “computer ABC’s”. But.

          And you are correct: people should write down their username/passwords, and “export” their bookmarks to a file (and save a copy somewhere). FEBE is a nice little time-saver for those who take advantage of the wonderful world of Firefox “add-ons”. Nice tip.

          Like

          Comment by techpaul | April 25, 2010 | Reply


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