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As we all know computers don’t always do what we want them to do. It has been said “to error is human to really foul things up requires a computer”. Recently Tom’s main computer started to run slow and give him other problems it was determined that his main hard drive was in the process of failing. A new hard drive was ordered and with Ed’s help installed in Tom’s computer. It was only after they had switched out the drive that Tom realized his “error”though he had backed up his old drive a few vital yet elisive files were missing. Thankfully his Wife Kris had bought him a USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE Hard Drive Adapter that allowed him to connect his old drive via a free USB port to his computer and back up the missing files. The day was saved. Ed promptly went on line as soon as they were done and ordered himself a USB to SATA/IDE adaptor of his own. This wonderful tool sure made life easier. Many times in the past Ed has taken drives out of old dead computers to temporarily install them in a new computer so that he could rescue the data on the drive. This of course is a lot of work and puts the new computer at risk.
As a computer tech, Ed has restored files from dozens of computers. When he worked at a Retail computer store they charged $70.00 an hour with a minimum of 2 hours to back up and restore files from your old computer or drive to your new one. This you paid at least $140 for something you could do yourself. Ed has two external 1 Terabyte drives plus a USB adapter for a 2.5” IDE drive found in most notebooks. There are tools out there that will allow you to perform a full system transfer from one drive to another. Ed seldom uses these he prefers to perform a clean install of the operating system, ideally from original system restore disks and reinstallation of all programs. Then coping over any user files from the old drive/system but only after a full virus scan. If possible Ed likes to place a full backup of the old drive/system on the new one. Often Ed will do this by backing up the old drive to one of his external storage drives then back to the new system. This of course assumes the old system still works. However, by using this adapter Ed is able to save a step transferring the data directly from one drive to the new computer.
Keep in mind a data backup of this kind is only good if the drive itself is still good. In the event the drive fails odds are all is lost. For this reason Ed recommends always keeping current backups of vital data as well as all original program disks. If possible these should be kept in a fire proof box or at an offsite location. For Ed’s most vital information he keeps a copy on “DropBox” an on-line storage service. Ed has multiple computers all connected to DropBox and each time they are turned on they update themselves to the newest information from DropBox. By doing this all of Ed’s computers maintain a current copy of this vital information. In the event of a fire or other disaster that destroys everything locally Ed rests easy as his vital files are saved online. However Ed has several hundred gigabytes of files for All Things DOS which is too much to store online with Ed’s free DropBox account. Ed maintains copies of these files not only on his “working” desktop computer he routinely backs them up to one of his external drives as well as onto his “backup” laptop computer. Ed has a fire proof document safe where he keeps all his important documents. It’s not big enough for much but will hold a small external storage device. Last week Ed ordered a 512 Gigabyte thumb drive just for this purpose. He will back up these vital records for All Things DOS to his new thumb drive then store it in the fire proof box. Ed hopes he will never need it but only a fool tempts fate.
While Ed uses external media Rom has extra drives installed in his computer he use for backing up critical data. Tom’s way is less messy, and external drives like the ones Ed uses are more susceptible to damage than internal drives. Both ways have pros and cons. The important thing is to back up often.