Tales of Home Online Backup: 20,000 Family Memories…Poof! – Personal Data Backup

One of my customers brought me his personal laptop the other day.  This is the laptop that sits on the kitchen counter and is used by the whole family.  It’s the oldest computer in the house, and it just sort of chugs along like the good old war-horse that it is.  The case around the display was cracked years ago, so the laptop won’t even close.  Jerry brought it in to me, propped open in its normal position.

“It wouldn’t boot up this morning.  It just gives me a flashing white line on a black screen.”  Jerry said, looking more concerned than I would have though over apparent death of a Jurassic laptop.

It didn’t take me very long to diagnose the problem.  Something happened to the hard drive.

“I think it’s time for a new laptop, Jerry.”  I said.  “Was the important stuff backed up?”

Jerry looked a little sheepish.  I had installed a slick backup system at this office the year before, with an online backup service to supplement their existing external hard drive backups.  Apparently this was a little better than the backup system he had at home.

“What’s the most important stuff on there?”  I asked.

“Family pictures.”

“No promises.”  I said, not thinking my odds were very good.

Fortunately for Jerry, the hard drive was still spinning, so it had a little life left.  I spent about three hours before I was even able to get a Windows machine to recognize that there were still files on the disk.  It found what I would estimate was about half of the files on the machine.  Jerry was lucky.  One of the folders it found was his My Pictures folder.  I don’t know how many were supposed to be in there, but I was able to recover over 20,000 pictures.

When I delivered the files to Jerry the next morning, he was pretty happy about it.  I had to give him the grief, however.  That’s my job.

“Let’s talk about backup, Jerry.”  I said.

“I know, I know, but…”

I cut him off.  “20,000 family memories, poof.”

Jerry has aligned his home and business backup strategies now.  While he has two layers of backup at the office, he’s just using online backup for home.  It provides him with a safe copy of his data, stored in the cloud.  There’s a new laptop on the kitchen counter now, with all the bells and whistles.  Jerry can rest assured that while he dodged the bullet this time, he’ll be prepared when the new one reaches its golden years.

— The Backup Master

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