Are YOU Prepared For A Computer Emergency?

14 replies
Hi Folks

My main computer went Kaput! the other day, and even the restore disk wouldn't work. Ouch!

I think it's the hard drive, but fortunately, I keep all my business data on a USB drive, so I could transfer it over to my netbook. Plus, I made a "Live CD" using Ubuntu, meaning I could still use my main computer to go on the Internet, until I figure out what to do with my hard drive.

But it got me thinking... Are YOU prepared in case of a computer emergency?

I thought I'd share a few tips with you. These tips are especially useful if you've only got ONE computer:

(1) Keep your business data separate, i.e. on a separate USB drive.

That way, if your hard drive goes kaput, you still have easy access to your business data. I've learned this after using several computers!

(2) Back it up regularly.

So if anything happens to your USB drive, you still have a backup.

(3) Create an Ubuntu "Live CD".

Ubuntu is a free Linux operating system, and you can create what's called a "Live CD", which is basically a computer operating system on a CD!

You can probably boot your computer from the CD, and Ubuntu comes with Firefox, and Open Office built in, so you can still surf the Internet or continue typing up that latest hot IM report (because your data is also on a USB drive now, right?), while you're figuring what to do with your hard drive.

So if your main hard drive fails, pop in this CD and carry on working! That's what I'm using at the moment.

Just thought someone would find these tips useful... what do you think? Any other tips you think might be useful?
#computer #emergency #prepared
  • Profile picture of the author kf
    Paul - Thanks for the note on Ubuntu. Will definitely check that out.

    I back-up new docs and projects daily to a Maxtor one-touch external HD. Small, USB and highly portable.

    And weekly back-ups using Acronis True Image to a much larger HD. In case of failure, crash, virus, theft, etc - acronis will completely restore your system in a few minutes. All your settings, all your programs, software, O/S ... everything. No time-consuming re-installation of programs and digging for install CDs.

    Acronis completely clones your system. First full back-up can take some time, but incremental back-ups are quicker.

    Also useful if setting up a new computer ... a few minutes and you're back in business.

    Not an affiliate link:

    Complete hard disk recovery solution, backup, drive copy, clone and image computer software
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Alexander
    Man, sorry to hear that. But it looks like it could have been worse?

    I had it happen once. And let me tell you, it makes you paranoid and super thoughtful about what you will do to prevent it from happening again.

    I now do things that take a little more time, a little more thought and a little more preparation, but it may save me one day. Not that I hope it comes to that.

    But thanks for the link. I'm going to have to check that out.
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  • Profile picture of the author Troy Trump
    I started getting paranoid that my external backup drive would fail so I took it another step further and use a mirrored RAID drive setup
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  • Profile picture of the author marcus passey
    Hey thats some very good tips there my business is beginning to grow so I am gonna have to look at taking these steps are they all free?

    Cheers

    Marcus
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    • Profile picture of the author David McAnulty
      The easiest way I have found to back up my important information is to email it to myself as an attachment.

      Thi may not be the best way if you are using a free email service because they usually set size limits, but if you have your own domain email then you are good to go.

      I just create an archive folder and every time I create something important that I want to make sure is stored in more than one place I simply email to myself as an attachment and save it in my Archive folder. Its free and it is a life saver if you ever have any hardware failure.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
      Originally Posted by marcus passey View Post

      Hey thats some very good tips there my business is beginning to grow so I am gonna have to look at taking these steps are they all free?
      Yes, apart from investing in a USB flash drive - but you can pick one up quite cheaply.
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  • Profile picture of the author Amanda_Davis
    Also, look into using an off-site backup so you're protected in case of fire etc.

    I like mozy.com
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  • Profile picture of the author tommygadget
    Yes to off-site backup (make sure it's encrypted) and yes to Acronis True Image. I have 3 identical computers and they all have clean backup images on them. Having the same machine means I can use the same hard drive in a different computer and/or restore the image to a new machine while I fix the old one. One machine is off-site for emergencies.

    TomG.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joseph Ratliff
    After my first B.S.O.D. (Blue Screen Of Death)...I thought "Nah, won't happen to me again."...

    After my second B.S.O.D. ... I got a back up hard drive and started backing up every month at least...

    After my third "failure" (a hard drive crash)... I combined Carbonite with my back up hard drive...and had less of an inconvenience when...

    My 4th (that's right 4 in 10 years) failure happened. Since then, I just did what Paul mentioned above combined with Carbonite.

    If you think it won't happen to you...well...neither did I until I learned the hard way.
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  • Profile picture of the author ~kev~
    Originally Posted by Paul Hancox View Post

    (1) Keep your business data separate, i.e. on a separate USB drive.

    That way, if your hard drive goes kaput, you still have easy access to your business data. I've learned this after using several computers!
    Put at least 2 drives in your computer - 1 just for the operating system and programs, and the other drives for data.

    I hope you mean external USB hard drive, and not an external jump drive.

    The database backup of my forum is 2.2 - 2.5 gigs. And that is "just" the database. If I downloaded my entire site, it would be like 15 gigs + database.

    On top of that, I probably have close to 100 - 120 gigs of home videos and pictures that I use. To claim the copyright on the images and videos, I have to retain the original. Once the video has been edited and posted on the internet, I retain the edited video and the unedited raw video.

    Lets just say this, I have 5 drives in my system:

    1 - 500 gig external drive
    1 - 250 gig external drive
    2 - 160 gig internal drives
    1 - 80 gig boot drive

    And I have about 75 - 100 gigs free room.

    My next step it so buy 2 - 1 terabyte drives and put them in a mirror array - just for my website related stuff, videos, pictures, and other data. My operating system will be on a separate drive.

    This is what I hope to havae pretty soon

    boot drive
    drive for various stuff like games
    2 X 1 terabyte drives for video, pictures, and other web related things.

    --------- EDIT --------

    A couple of months ago I backed up all of the important stuff on my computer to double layer DVDs. Double layer DVDs hold something like 8 gigs of data each. I took those DVDs, put them into a cd case and sent them to my moms house. In all, there were probably about 30 DVDs in that case.
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  • Profile picture of the author mattjay
    ditto thanks on ubuntu never heard of that. but i do currently back all my business data on usb drives for safety. as well as carbonite. i really don't get carbonite all that much, it came free with virus removal though so i'm sure to back everything on that as well. i did have an old laptop crash on me once. not prepared=not pretty
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  • Profile picture of the author SKWeaver
    I'm not a fan of using USB drives for backups AT ALL. In my experience, they have a relatively short life (especially if you use them a lot), and are less reliable than an external drive. They're fine for moving data between computers, but SUCK for backups.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shaun OReilly
    I use Windows Vista Ultimate and that allows me to
    create a full back-up of my hard drive as an image
    file.

    Once a week (Sunday evenings) I back-up my entire
    hard drive to an external hard drive.

    What this means is that if I have a main hard drive
    failure, I can simply use the image file on the external
    hard drive to get up and running pretty quickly.

    Because it's an image file, it's basically a copy of the
    hard drive and so no programs need to be re-installed
    or anything.

    I also keep a back-up of essential files on a thumb
    drive too.

    And then there's offline services like Carbonite to put
    a triple lock on my business systems.

    I've had a hard drive die on me once - and never want
    to go through that again.

    Only the paranoid survive.

    Dedicated to your success,

    Shaun
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    • Profile picture of the author Joseph Ratliff
      Originally Posted by Shaun OReilly View Post

      Only the paranoid survive.

      Dedicated to your success,

      Shaun
      LOL, truer words were never spoken in this context Shaun.
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