PLEASE Tell Me You Back Up Regularly – Here’s Why You Can’t Afford Not To

A faint “squeak, squeak, eeerk…. donk” was all I heard, but it was enough to make me break out in sweats with shaky hands and bile rising up in my throat.

Hard Disk’s aren’t supposed to make that sound!

I had no warning whatsoever. My laptop was only 1 year and 2 days old and running like a dream. A reasonably slow dream because I didn’t fork out for the faster processor and more ram, but a good dream all the same.

There I was, innocently watching a movie on Hulu and it all came crashing down. One moment I was engrossed in an exciting action sequence and the next moment I was staring at a blank screen thinking, “Wow, they blew up the whole movie!”

Dead As A Doornail

I tried rebooting – to no avail.

I took the drive out and shook it a little, but that didn’t help.

I tried the old ‘leave it in the freezer overnight’ trick.

No joy.

I hit it with a screwdriver… and then a mojito.

Still nothing.

It was dead. Totally and utterly dead.

Every file, every email, every photo, every home movie, every tax return and every accounts data file were gone.


Well… not completely. There are data recovery specialists who are experts in these situations and after weighing my options, I picked one. Kroll Ontrack. My new best friends.

I Spent a Week in Recovery

Ontrack took care of packaging up my drive and shipping it to their lab where they discovered they had no choice but to dismantle it and physically recover the data from the platters inside.

Unfortunately, either during the brief moments as the disk failed or while I was hitting it with various cocktails, some damage had been done to the platters and so there was some data they couldn’t recover.

Ontrack were wonderful throughout the whole process, keeping me updated as we went along and giving me full details of what they could recover so I could choose whether or not to pay for it. They then sent it back to me on a beautifully packaged external hard drive with idiot proof instructions.

I lost a LOT though. Over a year’s worth of accounts data and customerĀ correspondence have gone, as have hundreds of photo’s, sermon notes, letters and other files.

And the cost?….


Yes, you read that right.

Over Fifteen Hundred Dollars.

It Could Never Happen To Me

I always thought it couldn’t happen to me. I took regular backups (onto another partition on the same drive), my laptop was fairly new (just two day out of warranty, surprise, surprise) and I know the warning signs to look out for. After all, I’ve been a computer engineer for nearly 20 years now.

Unfortuanately, my computer didn’t know that it couldn’t happen to me… and so it did.

Now, many people reading this will have nothing on their computers that they can’t afford to lose… but many, many more would be in the same boat as me. Can’t really afford to fix it but REALLY can’t afford not to!

Wherever you have data, whether it’s on your home computer or your business machine. Whether it’s online on your blog or ‘safely’ stored on thumb drives… PLEASE back it up regularly.

It could happen to you today.

Don’t be like me.

Be smart!