Byte Me Article 305 – Safeguarding Data

7th January 2017

Solutions to Stop Losing Data

With the start of 2017 the first and most important article that I can write is about safeguarding your own data.  There will not be many computer users that this does not apply to except maybe kids and teenagers that do not yet regard previous photos with any sentimental value.  For all of the rest of us our computers become collection machines for a whole host of important files.

There is also a number of people that have smart phones or tablets and store their photos on iCloud or Google Drive facilities however even these facilities eventually run out of storage space, unless you are willing to pay for more.  Ever since digital cameras came of age and especially now that we take a camera with us everywhere we go in the form of a smart phone, our photographic needs have expanded.

Besides the need to store photos many have digital copies of certificates, copies of payments or Internet banking transfers, even copies of receipts for purchased goods that still have a warranty remaining.  So many retail shops now want to save a few cents and simply give you a sales receipt on thermo paper which is flat lasting a month before it is unreadable.  Then we have emails that we want to keep and a whole host of documents such as resumes.

We get new customers every week that come to us after they have already lost important data asking us to sometimes perform miracles – and sometimes we can get everything back for them.  This is a case by case job and it can range from simple procedures to extremely difficult and time consuming data recovery jobs.  In all cases they talk about the “if only”.

“If only I had done a backup last week”

We hear this so often that it prompts me to write articles like this.  We also see customers that have tried to protect themselves and have paid for backup software, only to find when they needed it that it was not working.  Such was a case this week.

I had a new customer that had paid a lot of money for a computer shop to setup a backup system on an important laptop.  They had supplied him with an external hard drive and specialised backup software.  This had happened around 3 years ago when he had purchased the laptop and unfortunately it had not been configured correctly.

For 3 years this customer had plugged in his backup for most of the time he had the laptop turned on and the software had added a little bit of new information to a starting or base image several times each day.  We found this base image as well as 5000 incremental backup files on his external drive, which had also filled up 3 months ago!

A backup system such as the above is basically useless.  Luckily we were able to recover all of his data from the original laptop drive 10 minutes at a time until it would get warm and fail.  So we had to keep switching it off and cooling it to get another 10 minutes’ worth of data recovery.  For 18 years we have been selling backup systems that work and the customer can pick the level of complexity and coverage.

Don’t just assume because you have a backup system that it will give you all of the recovery options that you need.  Test the existing backup system that you have and see if you can get your important data back and if you don’t have any backup then why not.  Data loss does not ignore anyone – it is just a matter of time. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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