March 9

Hard Drives Make the World Go ‘Round: Computer Update

As I mentioned a couple of weeks back, I suffered a hard drive failure on my blogging machine…. Luckily, all of my files were backed up in the cloud. The downside of having hundreds of gigabytes of files stored up there in the cloud is that you don’t get them all back instantly. No, they trickle like an early spring drizzle from the ether back into the computer from whence they came. And it takes a while.

I’m happy to report that all my files (I think they’re all here) are back. It took a couple weeks, and it’s taking me more time to reinstall all of the software (Carbonite heads up: Unless you pay for a premium account, they don’t back up your software, only your files.)

So after all of the restoring, and reinstalling, and putting thousands of files back into the right folders so that things work right, I think I’m back in business. I know quite a bit more about the inner workings of hard drives and computer code than I did last month.

When you lose a hard drive, and everything on it, you learn very quickly just how dependent we’ve become on data. So much of what we do, who we are, even, is nothing but one’s and zero’s, stored on a spinning disk inside our computers. And most of us have absolutely no idea how any of this works. It’s kind of scary. Some experts are worried that due to technological advances, the data we’re storing (and backing up) will someday be unreadable, and therefore lost to future generations. Literature, music, photographs, memories…. all of it may someday be gone unless it’s continually updated and migrated to the latest form of digital storage.

I’ve got a little bit of insight into this: How many of you have old VHS tapes from the 1980s that you’ve converted to DVD? Now we’re converting those DVDs to blu-ray, or storing the video on hard drives. We’re going to have to keep doing this FOREVER. Or it’ll be lost. I was shocked at how deteriorated my 30 year old VHS tapes had become. DVDs will break down and degrade too. Probably quicker than you’d think. We’ll always be moving our stuff from one dying format to a newer one. And backing it all up all the time so we don’t lose it. It sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? My experience (still ongoing) with restoring lost files and making them all work again proves to me that yes… it is exhausting. But important.

So once again, I can’t emphasize the importance of backing up your computer files anyway you can. My Carbonite account has proven it’s monthly $5 cost to be an incredible value for all the time and effort it’s saved me. Going forward, I’ll be keeping the Carbonite cloud backup, but I’m also going to be investing in an external hard drive that will automatically back up my computer files (via Apple’s Time Machine function). With computer files, things like precious photos, music libraries, tax information, checking account info, 4 years of website work, etc. etc., there really is no such thing as too much redundancy when it comes to backing it all up. Because it can all disappear forever in the blink of an eye.

Now that I can think about anything else other than getting my computer restored, I’ll hopefully be back soon with something that’s actually interesting. Until then, VIGILANCE !!!

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Posted March 9, 2015 by in category "Computers", "Miscellaneous


  1. By Kelly the Kitchen Kop on

    Wow Bob, I didn’t know that if your only backup was Carbonite, that you’d have to waste time not only getting everything back on your computer, but also “putting thousands of files back into the right folders so that things work right” – GADS that would STINK!

    So yes, your best move is definitely getting a hard drive for the Time Machine backup because while it did take a week or two for all my stuff to come back, once it did, everything was right where it goes. This proves once again that APPLE WINS and I’ll never go back. 🙂

    As to the constant format changes and keeping on top of it with our precious pictures and videos, I agree, it’s a HUGE PAIN, but necessary. My problem is knowing WHICH formats I should be switching to every few years. I have some old home movies from my Grandma that someone had copied onto VHS (I’d have to look to double check, but they’re from the 1940’s or 50’s I think), later I copied it onto a DVD, and recently I put those plus all our personal videos onto an Amazon cloud. I’m pretty sure no one else in my whole family has done this, so yeah, they’ll be thanking this anal freak later. 🙂


    1. By (Post author) on

      Kel, Carbonite got MOST everything in the right place, but there were lots of duplicate folders, most of which had nothing in them, that I had to deal with, then things like finding the one file that has all my iPhoto album and picture information and getting it in the right place so I could get my photo library (and iTunes) libraries back. Many little things like that to deal with. Fun!! And I’m like you….decades of photo albums to digitize and tons of VHS tapes to convert that wouldn’t ever get done if I didn’t do it. It’s worth it, but it’s a pain!!!!


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