Thursday, 29 July 2010
Attention all computer users!
I've learned a lot about computers these last couple of days so I'd like to pass on the jewels of my crash course in our crashed disk.
Here's the story...over the last two/three years....we saved a lot of data, work and personal, to our lovable PC. We also had to download a booking package - online booking system - onto it as well. This allows our guests to book and pay (if they wish) remotely using a computer. It obviously took up more valuable space.
To cut a long story short our computer was taking longer and longer to access data, photos and the like. I now realise that this is a sign of the computer "having trouble". As our hard disk was split into two drives C&D Mr. H. thought that by freeing up one of those drives we would then have more space for the computer to do what it does more efficiently. We did try to back up (a few times) but the computer wouldn't let us. We used a third party to help remove the partition in the hard disk side of the computer. I do not want go into details but we have ended up with a major loss of data.
I've now spoken to three data retrieval firms and another computer specialist and here are some helpful hints from them:
1. Always back up your data...to an online service if possible. Also back up to other computers, pens, disks..anything which gives you other options. But beware that all of these can fail at any time. PC hard drives are very temperamental these days and can decide not to work at a moment's notice. Portable hard disk drives are frequently dropped, pushed over by cats and dogs and children and adults. Coffee, ice cream, lipstick, lightening, fire, water, power failures, tea, smoothies....you name it...can spice up the non-workings of a computer! CDs can get scratched, pens can be lost or stolen. The online data companies are supposed to take backups of backups. That's what they are there for!
2. Once your computer starts to feel like a heavy smoker panting for dear life up a steep hill...STOP USING IT! Once you start to switch it on/off, open/close files etc. etc. you are overwriting the original files. Send it off to the experts in data retrieval. I know I sound like a sales person for them but many often will give you a free estimate of what they can and can't retrieve.
3. Keep your business and your personal stuff separate on separate computers if at all possible.
4. Back up often. Ideally once a week. More often if you feel like it! If you download some precious photos or files which you really don't want to lose...back them up straightaway...prefably on the internet.
5. Erm. What else? Just keep an eye on your precious PC or laptop. Any signs of distress or failure or "hanging" - where it takes ages to open files...that's when things aren't going so well. Blog more often and/or Facebook it! Anywhere you can put your stuff. (Just remember the privacy settings if it really private.)
6. Treat your computers as you would your family, pets and friends.....with care, love and affection! (Don't take them for granted!!!) But remember that they are basically mechanical things which can and do break down frequently. (Maybe we should get them serviced annually? How about computers with MOT stickers?)
7. My fingers are crossed that I'll be able to report on a happy ending.
8. If not...I'll have learned a lot.
9. After all things could be worse...we still have a lot of photos and data. Luckily we haven't lost everything.
10. We don't do it right now but maybe I will think about it again in a fresh light: Take a selection of photos to get printed every so often! If the worst comes to the worst.....you'll have something.
11. Use the online photo companies for storage. We have used them some of the time...thank goodness!
12. Perhaps we need to be realistic about what we can and cannot keep. After all we still have the memories....
13. You know about those people (in Selfridges) who go out and choose colours/clothes for others (I know they exist but not in my little circle in good 'ol Haltwhistle).... Maybe we need personal [personal] data storage experts?
14. Have I just invented a profession?
15. And finally just to remind you of my tried and tested favourite: "Always look on the bright side of life?".................Tee hee. Can't help but seeing the funny side of everything, hinny pets...Let's face it - I do get myself into all sorts of pickles. ;)
16. If the "forensic team" over in Middlesbrough write it off I will give the hard disk a decent burial. Any one up for a pixel wake?