My photos, My data! Oh $#!£!!!!, it’s lost!

2013 Señior Tech September 2013

By Manzanillo Sun Writer from the September 2013 Edition

Sooner or later you will hear yourself mutter that sentiment or words to that effect. If you have a computer, one thing is for sure, at some point your hard drive will probably crash and your data will be lost.

In 2007 Google conducted a study on the failure rates of HDDs (hard disk drives). They tested over 100,000 HDDs over five years and found a failure rate of over 30%. Click here to read the Google study. In our household; my spouse, Señiora Notsotechie, lost her data in two hard drive failures and I have had three hard disks fail.

I have used digital cameras since 1999, and have collected over 70,000 photos. I use my computers to store these photos of friends and family, and numerous vacation memories as well as business and personal correspondence and financial records. You probably store similar data on your computer. So how do you protect precious data?

Data Back-up! In the past, backing up computer data was as much fun as riding a unicycle in a blizzard. It was tedious, time consuming, and was usually never repeated after the first time.

But if your HDD crashes and you cannot access your data, the panic and despair you will undoubtedly experience will make you long for the pleasure of backing up your data.

Data from a failed disk can be recovered, but the cost can run into thousands of dollars.

Data Back-up Strategies

Back-up data onto a DVD

•If you store all your documents and photos in your Documents directory, you can ‘burn’ that data onto a DVD.

1. If the data is over 4 gigabytes, you will need one DVD per 4 gigabytes

2. In order to protect your data, this should be done weekly Back-up data on another HDD

•On an Apple computer, you can use time capsule to immediately back-up each file.

•On a PC, there is a back-up feature built in to Windows 7 and 8

These options address one aspect of data protection, but do not cover catastrophic situations such as; floods, fire, theft, etc. A few years ago, famous filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola lost 15 years of computer data during a burglary at his Argentinean home.

He said, “They stole our computers; they got all our data (including back-ups), many years of work. If I could get the back-up back, it would save me years–all the photographs of my family, all my writing.”

It is not enough to religiously back-up your data; the data should also be stored offsite. Store your data in “the cloud” (companies on the internet provide data servers for storage). There are a number of options from free to inexpensive. If you have between two gigabytes and fifteen gigabytes of data, here are some free options.

To use these services for backing up data, click on the following links Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, Apple iCloud, Dropbox. Once these apps are installed, your data will automatically sync and will be accessible with other devices you choose to link to your account. I would recommend starting with Google Drive, if your data grows larger than 15GB, install Microsoft SkyDrive and upgrade to 27 GB for $10.00 per year. Please remember to make sure that you store all your data in the Documents folder, and link that folder to the cloud service.

I use a cloud back-up service named Carbonite. They have a number of plans but the basic Home plan for $59.99 per year works fine for me. My photo and data back-up is 331GB and has 108,333 files. The $59.99 annual plan allows for unlimited storage from one computer. Back- up occurs continuously in the background and does not impact computer speed. If you inadvertently overwrite a file with a new version, you can go online to get the previous version from the restore file option. This feature is not possible with the other cloud options (unless you have not saved the file; once saved, the file is synced and the older version lost). I like this service because once setup, I do not have to think about data back-up, it just happens. After Señiora Notsotechie had her drive fail, she started using Carbonite. When her second drive crashed, she was able to quickly restore her data and get back to work. To start a free trial for 2 weeks, go to Carbonite Plans.

Any of the above options will allow you to migrate your data to a new computer or to restore data if you experience a HDD failure. The cloud services have the advantage of being offsite, so if anything happens to your computer, you still have access to the valuable data.

….. and you will not have to utter Oh $#!£!!!!, my data is lost!!!!!!!!

One other thing before I sign out. In the February 2013 issue, I wrote an article about telephone scammers calling about computer viruses. I still get at least one call a month.

PLEASE NOTE! If you receive a telephone call and the caller claims that you have a virus on your computer

If you didn’t have a virus before the call, you certainly will have one if you give them access to your computer.

If you have a topic you would like covered, or require further information on this topic, please contact Señior Tech at

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