Back Up Your Hard Drive!

I was installing a couple of Apple updates yesterday, and my MacBook froze up on me, and I was unable to do type or use the mouse pad. Everything completely froze up, and I had to hold down the power button until my computer powered down. No big deal – right? I’ve had this issue happen a couple of times before on other computers, and the computer starts back up without fail…
Well… unfortunately for me, when my computer turned back on, I was prompted to reinstall my operating system. I panicked as I have a ton of information saved on my hard drive, and I infrequently back it up – maybe once every other week or so. I powered down my computer and tried again, but had the same problem. I immediately called the Apple Care phone line (800) My-Apple and got on the phone with technical support.
Very fortunately, they said they’ve seen this problem before, and the technical support representative instructed me to restart my laptop again in safe mode. After a ten minute loading period, the computer started in safe mode and asked if I wanted to continue with my software update. I finished the updated, restarted my computer, and everything came back safe and sound.
The moral of this story is that you should back-up your hard drive as frequently as possible. If you leave your laptop on your desk, I recommend that you keep your back-up attached at all times – possibly even using the “Time Machine” application on the new Leopard operating system. If you are always mobile like me, I recommend backing up your hard drive every evening before you head to bed. Trust me – five minutes of backing-up time is well worth it!

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
  1. Very good advice. Something also can be said for post-inventive updating. Usually information is data that typically is a file. But what kind of device is that file on? I have been dealing with this issue of backing up data for twenty years. Even though I have backed up information, years go by and we think about some kind of accounting, photo or sound file that we need which was backed up years ago. I have found that when I pulled up that backup tape, disc or drive, either the technology had evolved or the tape had degraded.

    In the 90s I had a “brick” EISA hard drive that had early registrations of domain names that I had registered. The drive’s technology was EISA and was top of the line back in 1991 and I had information on it up until 1996. The EISA board that connected the drive went bad and Ebay was not available at that time so as years passed I tried to get that $40 board. Long story short, I could not find one and years later had to throw the drive in the trash with all that great information. There was nothing I could do. Since then, my backup tapes were copied to CDs and those backup CDs got transferred to DVDs and the process will continue. I will not make that mistake again. My advice to you (your children and grandchildren will that you for doing this) is to take whatever you have backed up in the past and continue to make a yearly backups of new and old information.

    Great advice. It’s always important to review the files that you do have saved and possibly make a checklist of where things are saved for easy access. A few minutes of time each week can save hours of time and hundreds of dollars trying to recover lost files and data.

  2. Good to hear you didn’t lose anything. In addition to a full-blown backup strategy, backing up key files on a regular basis to a Flash drive and keep it in a safe but accessible place. With stores like MicroCenter selling 8 GB Flash drives for $39, it’s a low-cost effort as well.



  3. Feel a need to comment on this post as i recently got the blue screen of death on my 14 month dell desktop. Lost everything but did give me a reason to buy a notebook along with an external hard drive which i use to back up important files every 2 days. Losing files suck, always back up your shiznit.

  4. Hi Elliot,
    Know the feeling when that happens mate!! Not much fun!
    For the past ten years I have been using Hard Drive Ghost Backup programs like Norton Ghost or more recently over the past 5 years Acronis True Image 11.
    The programs not only let you back up files and folders but will make a mirror copy of your complete hard drive/s and if required you can retrieve your whole drive back onto a new drive if you have total drive failure or even worse your pc is stolen or god forbid is in a fire etc. This way you can be up and running in about 30-60 mins and you won’t have to re-install any other software. Brilliant!
    I use 2 external 300 GB Drives, one I keep in a small fire proof safe well hidden and out of the way and the other drive which does not get backed up quite as often I keep at my parents place so if worst came to worst and my house burnt down and even the safe failed to protect the hard drive then I have a off site copy that I can go to.
    I know this may sound a bit extreme to most but I owned a computer supply business for 3 years and the amount of people I dealt with that had lost ALL of their data from theft, fire or equipment failure was far to often to ignore.
    This method of backup has saved me many times as well so if you are serious about your data then get serious with your backup systems and routine.
    Ed Keay-Smith

  5. It is worth checking out online backup services like Mozy for off site backup – far more convenient and a more frequent backup than storing a backup with relatives or friends.
    They give you a very convenient off site backup of your documents, mp3s, etc. (its unlimited storage) for $60 per year or $5 per month: very reasonable when in return I get an hourly backup (while PC is on and connected to the web), their software only uploads new and modified files that have changed. In addition the data is encrypted. They do a 2 gig free never-expiring account too if you want to try them out.
    I use Mozy along with Acronis True Image which I run about every 2 weeks to make a full backup of the hard drive.

  6. I learned that lesson a long time ago, If you are you using a MAC with Leopard go out and purchase an external drive and use Time Machine, it has save me many times before, and you don’t even know it’s running.

  7. Agree with ES here:
    Keep in mind that external drives won’t save you if they are in the same location as the computer and something (flood etc) happens to that location.
    Online storage systems work great too – my personal preference is the Amazon S3 service in conjunction with “JungleDisk”. JungleDisk will also encrypt the files.

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