The Risk Of Not Backing Up Files

A MidWeek colleague (who shall remain nameless) recently reminded me of the importance of the simple act of backing up a hard drive. Here is the tale of the nearly lost data:

My colleague received an iPad for Christmas, but his 4-year-old Mac was not compatible with it. He thought loading Mac OS X Snow Leopard to upgrade the operating system would help. Told the upgrade would take about three hours, he saw trouble coming when it took 12.

At first he couldn’t open any of the thousands of Microsoft Word docs he saved on his computer. One of our IT guys fixed that, and it was OK at this point.

The system then wanted him to update all the things from Apple that he had been “too busy” to update over the years. That part took all night, but it was still OK at this point.

Coming back the next morning, the computer asked him to update two more things … 12 hours later the rainbow wheel of death was spinning and wouldn’t stop. He decided to reboot and saw a gray screen. It was a goner. He took it to the Apple Store Geniuses, and they could not retrieve anything. Per their recommendation, he contacted DriveSavers and sent his hard drive there.

A week later, engineers in DriveSavers’ “clean room” said they could retrieve 97-98 percent of his data, including everything he’d written in the past 17 years. Painfully, but necessarily, he dished out $2,500, and they sent back all his data on an external hard drive with a recommendation to purchase a second one for a double backup before installing it on the new Mac he needed to buy.

Luckily, he can’t find anything missing. He did have to rename some photo files and remake some music playlists, but otherwise the 13,000-plus files he had on there were intact and readable. He now keeps a backup drive at home and another at work for safekeeping in case of theft/fire or who knows what else might happen to his computer.

The big lesson learned here is back up your computer! And do it often. I usually back up my computer at least once a week.

However, if you do run into trouble, know that DriveSavers is awesome! Not only did it recover data from my colleague’s hard drive, but the newspaper has used it a few times to recover data from seemingly hopeless hard drives.

I also have to mention that DriveSavers is offering free data recovery services (including free shipping) for Japanese tsunami victims. It is partnering with PC Kids, the leading IT solutions provider in Tokyo to offer free data recovery services to the residents of the Tohoku district (the hardest hit area) until May 31. Please pass this on if you know anyone who lives in that area. Visit for more information.

Click Chick’s Mobile App of the Week: Square

Square is the simplest way to accept credit cards for both individuals and businesses. There is no monthly contract, no monthly fees or merchant account required. Each user receives a free Square credit card reader, and within minutes of downloading the app, you’re ready to go. Square lets you accept most major debit and credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. If you’re planning a garage sale soon, this is a great tool to help your payments along, but I wouldn’t use it on the 25-cent items.

There is a nominal fee of 15 cents per swipe and 2.75 percent of the purchase for using Square. If you don’t have the card reader with you, typing in the card number will cost you 15 cents and 3.5 percent of the purchase.

Visit to register and request your free card reader. Square is available on the iTunes App Store and the Android Market.