By Andrew Hockings
I remember the first time I suffered a fatal Hard Drive failure. It was 1999. The first family PC we bought.
Oh yes I remember it well. Pentium Processor, not Pentium Dual Core or P4 or P3 or for that matter P2. No, just Pentium. Ran at 133Mhz on a 66Mhz FSB. 16 Meg of RAM (yes, huge I know) and a simply massive 1.2GB Fujitsu hard disk. Ah, those were the days, when building your own PC was cool and Windows 95 looked so much better than 3.11 that we were all tricked into thinking that it was better!
After 2 years of faithful service I came down one morning, pressed the PC's power button and went to make Coffee. It was strange, I thought the Coffee machine had issues. There were funny clicking and clinking sounds emanating around the room. Because of other Kitcheny (I don't think that's a word) noises it sounded for all the world like the Coffee machine. I tapped it, bashed it, switched it off then on again initially not noticing the sound continued when it was off. It was then out of the corner of my eye I could see the hard disk LED really wasn't doing what it should and almost quicker than a Core i7 could do it my brain flipped from the prospect of no Coffee to Data loss... Arrrggghhhhh!!!
I repair and service computers for a living and I now make a point of asking each customer I visit if they've backed up recently and recommending how to do it if they haven't. Back then it wasn't that bad. The data on there wasn't too important although it was a real pain for a few weeks. But now I have about 10 years of family photos that are simply irreplaceable on a single hard disk. Frankly If I tried to explain to you how modern hard drives actually save your data (and I don't really understand it myself!) you would freak out, run to your nearest computer store, buy an external hard drive then run home and backup your PC.
The worst part of my job is having to tell a customer that all their data is gone and the only way they are going to get it back is to send the hard disk to a professional data recovery company. About £500 if they're lucky.
Please people, make sure you keep regularly backing up your important data. You can use CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, USB stick or external hard drives. Just as long as you have a second copy somewhere. There are also a myriad of online solutions available most of which get on with the job automatically taking all the hassle and worry away. These also protect against fire and theft since the information is stored offsite in a secure data center.
So, remember those 3 rules...
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