6 weeks ago, on September 21st, 2011, I was only around 13 hours away from completing my epic weight loss challenge. It was already a very stressful day as I still had a couple pounds to lose, but it was about to become far more stressful.
I had woken up early that morning and went on my computer to start an early work session. Things were going fine for about an hour, and I was just in the middle of unzipping a bunch of banner creatives for a new PPC marketing campaign I was setting up, when my computer slowed down to a crawl and then just became unresponsive.
I rebooted, a bit annoyed as I had a lot of windows and projects open at the time, but quickly felt an uneasiness settle in my stomach as my computer didn’t load Windows. I rebooted a dozen times, with each subsequent reboot only making things worse, to where the computer would only POST but go no further.
With no Windows DVD (pre-install) or ghost image to work with, I Googled my city for computer repair services. Fortunately, I found a guy who only charged $60 no matter what the problem is, and he said I could come and drop my computer off at 9:30AM, which is what I did.
It turns out that his home business was only a few blocks from me – one of the houses that I regularly walked by on my daily walks for my weight loss challenge.
He said he’d take a look and would give me a call within a few hours.
And so I went home, very stressed out and worried, and also very weak and hungry due to hardly eating or drinking anything the past 48 hours due to the weight loss challenge deadline which was at 10PM that same day.
To make a long story short, the tech called me back and told me that my HD was completely wiped out. It was making these crazy scratching noises and the data on it was all gone. He said he had experience in recovering lost data on failed hard drives, and had these special software tools for it (which he ran all day and night on his powerful computer), but was unfortunately still unable to recover my data.
This was my greatest fear… obviously I could care less about having to replace a hard drive, or even an entire computer. It’s the data I wanted… and the data was gone.
But… you have backups, don’t you?
Now, obviously I’m not so stupid as to not have any backups of my data. Anyone who has anything of importance on their computer would be crazy not to.
The problem is, my back-up routine was to make back-ups about every 2 months on average.
It started out being once a month, but then the amount of data I had to download from my 3 servers started getting larger and larger, and the data on my HD was quite a lot and took a long time to RAR for encryption and space issues.
And so, the backing up process would take a good 7-8 hours, which would make it such an inconvenience.
To make matters worse, I was just about to make a new back-up when my HD crashed! I hadn’t made one in a while, and needed to transfer my data to my laptop anyway, as I was going on a trip in a week.
So, the HD failure happened at the worst possible time basically. My last back-up available was from June 24th, 2011 – 3 months of lost data!
At least you had a relatively recent backup…
Sure, I had everything from June 24th, 2011, but all the work I did in the past 3 months on my computer was gone. I cannot tell you how stressful this was.
Here is a partial sample of the more important data I lost forever due to the HD crash:
*** = Lost forever | *** = 3 Months of data lost
- All accounting Excel files ***
- The brand new source video openers for my blog videos, which took me 3 days to make ***
- Numerous photos and videos (all uploaded, but videos are at mercy of YouTube) ***
- Important gathered data such as for TubeToolbox and Rank Tracker *** / ***
- All website file changes – not all of which can simply be re-downloaded ***
- A long, detailed list of work for my programmers that needed to be done on 1upAds ***
- My ‘blog’ file, which was a very long list of blog post ideas queued up ***
- My ‘sites’ file, which was a very long list of site-specific work that needed to be done ***
- Hundreds of ad creative, including PSDs and custom-made ads, for my PPC ad campaigns ***
- Custom Photoshop actions ***
As you can see, I lost a lot of important stuff.
And don’t forget, too, that I had a brand new OS put on my computer by the tech, and so I had to spend hours customizing things the way I like it (I’m a bit of a Windows power user… like things simplified and in a certain way). Not to mention, all of the little 3rd-party tools and programs I had to reinstall and set up, such as ZScreen, Ultramon, Auto Hotkey, WinRar, SmartFTP, Windows Live Writer, and a good dozen other programs.
Don’t just back up – back up frequently!
So, while I was saved from an even worse scenario in which I had no back up’s at all, the fact that I hadn’t backed up in 3 months certainly had its impact on me.
Even backing up every 2 months is not frequent enough. After all, that’s 2 months of data gone… 2 months of work down the drain. That’s a lot of wasted time.
Learn from my mistake – back your computer up more frequently. Having a RAID set-up would have probably saved me in my situation (the tech said that even a RAID set-up can suffer catastrophic failures), but it wouldn’t protect in the case of a fire or theft, which is why I like to have an external solution.
When you make a back-up, try to to remember that this is your last date of recovery; that all the data since that time may possibly get lost forever. This may help push you into making more regular back-ups.
In my next blog post, I will share in detail how I used to back up before my HD was wiped, to how I back up now, which is far faster, cleaner, and more up-to-date.