If it’s not backed up, it wasn’t important

Minor tech annoyance this morning as I discovered that one of my external hard drives had died. The minor annoyance being that it’ll cost a few quid to replace it, and thankfully not the loss of anything on it. It was only a backup drive, and a secondary back up at that.  By secondary I mean the second backup of the data, so there is still the original data on disk, plus an external drive backup. Oh, and for important photos etc two DVD backups too.

Think that sounds a bit excessive? I guess you’ve never lost any important data then. Trust me, having worked with computers for years it’s never a case of ‘if’ they’ll fail, eventually ALL hard drives fail, it’s only a case of ‘when’.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had people ask me things like the classic I heard last week:

“I can’t find my pictures anymore, what do I do?”.

“My computer was playing up so my friend had a look and said we need to reinstall ‘Microsoft’ so that’s what he did”.  When I asked what they meant they’ve got no clue but it seems they weren’t just upgrading office. Their ‘friend’ had reinstalled Windows, fresh, and most likely reformatted the drive for good measure too.

My usual answer in these situations is simple.  “Not a problem, just restore from your last backup and you’ll be fine”.

Of course, as usual, they didn’t have one.

“But what about all the pictures, how do we get them back?  There’s everything on there from when the children were born, it’s really important we don’t lose those ones!”

Err, sorry love, they’re gone. Forever.  They obviously weren’t that important to you were they or you would have taken a little more care with them.

Sorry to be hard nosed about this, but computers break. Hard drives crash.  Sometimes (heaven forbid) humans make mistakes and accidentally hit delete.

Repeat after me: “If it’s not backed up, it wasn’t important”