What do You Mean Back up?

One of the more unpleasant tasks I have as a support specialist is breaking bad news. I recently made a young woman sob by telling her the pictures on her laptop were all gone and there was nothing I could do to retrieve them. Here are some cold facts:

1) Hardrives fail. It may be a mechanical problem or a problem caused by a virus. Sometimes we are able to retrieve information from them and sometimes we are not. It’s not personal.

2) If you are having problems with a computer that is under warranty, they are most likely going to have to run a factory restore to confirm it’s not a software issue. Factory restore means wipe it out. They may or may not warn you that you will lose all of your files. Be prepared.

3) Even new computers have hardware failures. We aren’t surprised with older computers when a part fails but a new one is supposed to be invincible. They are not. Viruses can also contribute to file failures leading to data loss.

4) Laptops are portable and therefore easy prey for theft. What would you lose if your laptop were suddenly “gone”?

Always make sure you have backups of your pictures or data. Most documents can be recreated (sometimes painfully), but that digital picture of your child’s first birthday cannot. Most computers come with cd burners installed. Cd’s are cheap. Copying your pictures to a cd periodically and putting them in a fireproof safe may save you many tears later.

Ask your support specialist for help if you are unsure how to accomplish this. If you are not comfortable with their response, find someone you are comfortable with. Sometimes support personnel talk over your head or intimidate you with their foreign language. Ask them to show you how and stop and write it down. Like a good doctor, they cannot help if you do not tell them.

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