Byte Me Article 79 – Don’t Get Confused by Data and Software

– Don’t Get Confused by Data and Software

7 July, 2012

We are often getting computers coming in which have operating systems corrupted beyond repair by either viruses or simply from conflicting software or the wrong drivers.  When this happens, either a reformat & reload of the PC or actual replacement is the only cure.  This is where a lot of customers become confused – at the difference between user data and software.

Unless the hard drive has mechanically failed we can always get a copy of all of the user data.  User data consists of the files that the customer creates and it includes documents, spread sheets, emails, photos, databases, income tax information, Internet favourite bookmarks, address books, music and even to some extent movies.  On the other hand, software are the programs used to create this data like Word, Excel, Adobe, MYOB, QuickBooks, AutoCAD, Outlook and the like.

2012-07-07 Byte Me Article 79 - Software vs Data

In this case above the software can’t be retrieved or transferred back onto a reformatted computer or a new computer – it has to be installed from an original disk or installation file and in many cases it is only unlocked by a unique serial key.  This is where it is the customers’ responsibility to keep track of these original disks and serial keys, as in most cases if they are lost then repurchase of the software is the only solution left.

While we are looking at this scenario it is interesting to note that on average a reformat and reload of an older PC (older than 3 years) including saving and reimporting all user data and reloading all software normally takes from 3 to 5 hours.  At the end of this process you have a PC that is running properly again although it is still a PC which is over 3 years of age.  Here you need to keep in mind that a modern PC is around 10 times more powerful that one from 4 years ago – such has been the pace of technology in that time!

The best advice is that if anything major goes wrong with a 3 year old PC then you are better to invest the labour of getting all of your data and software up and running again into a new PC.  Always have a list of what you deem to be your essential software and keep track of all of the original disks, upgrade disks and associated serial numbers.

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

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