Sunday, March 11, 2012

Heed the (Backup) Cries!

Dear readers, prepare yourselves for a tale of woe.

My laptop, with my photos and family tree data, is dead.

Let it sink in.

Now, fear not, but this story has a sort-of happy ending.  You probably read the posts from various bloggers to back up your data on a regular basis.  I am living proof that you should DO THAT.

I don't have a backup schedule, per se, but I am pretty conscious about doing it.  Over the winter I scanned and re-scanned dozens of old family photos.  In addition to my laptop, they are saved on a CD and an external harddrive.  My family tree data is the same way:  CD and external harddrive.  Even years ago when I used a different family tree program, I kept a final copy of the data when I transferred to a new program.  Another trick I use is to occasionally save my tree as a GEDCOM and email it to myself.

This weekend's tale of woe began when I powered up my spiffy new laptop that Santa delivered.  My old Dell was perfectly serviceable, but it was slow and 7 years old, so I figured I deserved it.  I did my comparison shopping and for the first time in my life, bought a notDell.  It was fast, well-reviewed, and in my budget.  It was running great, until yesterday.  I powered it up and had no screen.  I shut it off.  I powered it up and heard no component hum and had no screen.  I shut it off.  I powered it up again.  This time it had no hum, no lights, no nothing.

Commence freak out.

Fortunately we have several computers in our house, so I started Googling my problem.  Of course, dozens (hundreds?) of people had the same problem.  It was clearly a power issue and not a harddrive issue, which was a good thing.  I do not fear computers and have swapped out harddrives and components before.  I decided to try to salvage my data first, then worry about the laptop.  The area electronics store sells a transfer cable, so I picked that up, popped out the harddrive and copied all my files to another computer...and breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Welcome back, last week's saved family tree data!

The laptop, however, may be another story.  The customer service repair nightmares go on and on, ad infinitum, on message boards.  I may end up with a metallic paperweight.

1.  Back up your data.  In lots of formats.  Often.

2.  Don't fear your computer.  Many problems are cheap and easy to fix on your own.  I personally would never go to the big box fixit shop.  Ever.  Find a teen geek.  Use Google.

3.  Time to investigate cloud back up services.

Heed my tale of woe, dear readers!

© 2012 Sally Knudsen