Go back up your data. No, now! Seriously, I'll wait.
Ok, let me start of by saying I am a tech guy. I have worked on, in and around computers for over 20 years. I know how important it is to backup your data. So trust me, when I say I am embarrassed to have had a drive crash with no backup of the important data on it, I am truly embarrassed. I know better, yet here I am. At least I hope today that my loss can be your gain.
I cannot tell you how many hearts I have broken over the years with the news that “there is simply nothing I can do to recover your data” due to a dead hard drive. I have worked in repair shops and with student computing enough to say that more than any other problem, this is the most devastating yet the easiest to avoid. Unfortunately, in all my years of repair, I have yet to come across anyone who actually had a solid backup.
The prices of hard drive continue to fall so much that even the most frugal computer owner can add a backup drive to their system these days. To ease my pain after the tragedy, I added a pair of 1TB (yes folks, that’s 1000GB times 2) hard drives to my computer system, one to replace my fallen drive and one for the sole purpose of backup. I paid about $130 each for the pair from Buy.com around three months ago, but you can find the same drives now for around $100.
Your backup options are numerous. Depending on your needs and your system you might be able to set up your drives to mirror each other as in a “raid” configuration as I have. Your drives or system may also come with special backup software that can automate the backup task for you. Or, at the very least, you can add a new drive and just drag and drop the things you value most on to it. If you are not a techie, or don’t have a techie friend, don’t worry. You can also pick up external hard drives that need only a cable and possibly a power plug to get you up and going for only a little more.
Whatever route you choose, just do it. I promise you will not be sorry, even if you never need to use it. The alternative could be the road I am currently on. I am waiting to find out if a data recovery center will be able to retrieve the first nine months of video clips of my newborn that I had created, edited and stored on the drive. If I am lucky enough to be able to get any or all of them back, it will only cost me around $800. Now, how many backup drives would that have paid for?