Data Recovery Archives -

Are You Backing Up Your Data?

Posted September 3rd, 2012 by Mark with No Comments

Backup Q&A

Backup Q&A

Q:  Do you have data on your computer that you wouldn’t want to lose?

A:  Ok, that was a trick question – the answer, is of course, “Yes.”

So let’s move on.

Q:  What sort of things can happen that would cause you to lose your data?

A:  The hard disk on which your data lives can fail…sometimes without warning.  It’s a mechanical device that is very sensitive, and it can be damaged by heat, vibration, electrical surges, or it can just plain wear out.

A: Power outages common at this time of year, can damage your computer – especially if it is getting old.

A: A lightning strike on your house or close to you can cause a power surge that can take out your computer (and lots of other devices) in the blink of an eye.

A:  If you have a laptop, you might drop your computer.  A good hit in the right orientation can destroy a hard drive.

A:  You could get a virus that erases your data or encrypts all your files and then offers to sell you the decryption key at an exorbitant price.

A:  You can delete something important accidentally – I see this all the time.

A:  Someone you know and love can delete something important accidentally.

A:  Someone you used to know and love can delete something important not-so-accidentally.

You get the picture.  There are many, many ways to lose important data, but only one to save it.  BACKUP.  Then, BACKUP AGAIN.  Then, KEEP BACKING UP.

Q:  Why don’t most people backup their data?

A:  This is an easy one.  It’s too hard, and it takes too much time.

It’s human nature – even if you know a task is important, if it takes too much effort or is too time consuming, then you just never manage to find time for it.  Life intervenes and the task never seems to rise to the top of the priority list.

Q:  So – how do we fix that?

A:  Another easy one.  You make it EASY.   Even better, you AUTOMATE it so that you don’t have to do anything at all except check to make sure it’s working once in a while.

There are two main schools of backup – Online and Local.  Both have pros and cons but it is better to backup using any method than hold off because you are debating the relative merits of the available choices.

We can help you decide which method is best for you, based on your particular circumstance, then we can help you get set up so that your data is safeguarded.  The end result is that your data will be safe and you can sleep better at night.  Call us today to make an appointment!




Reinstalling Windows

Posted April 20th, 2012 by Mark with No Comments

Reinstalling Windows

If your computer’s hard drive fails, or you have a particularly nasty virus, we might have to reinstall Windows for you.  This is one of the more involved and expensive routine services we do – but it’s not obvious why.  To help illustrate, here is a quick rundown of the steps involved in this task:

Basic Steps to Reinstalling Windows

Backup the data – this includes Documents, Email, Pictures, Music, Videos and everything on the desktop.  This can take anywhere form just a few minutes to hours depending on the amount of data you have.

Scan your data – If you had a virus infection, a separate scan (or two) is run on your backed-up data to make sure it is clean.

Backup the product keys for Windows and Microsoft Office to make sure these can be reinstalled and correctly activated.

Backup all of the system’s hardware drivers.  There are drivers for the motherboard, wired and wireless network, audio, modem, video, mouse as well as several others that vary from computer to computer.

Format (completely erase and reset the file system) your existing or a new hard drive.  This process can take a couple of hours on a large hard disk.

Install Windows – Depending on your computer, we may have to order recovery disks from the manufacturer to complete this task, which can add several days to the procedure.

Reinstall all of the system drivers and troubleshoot any problems that may arise (no sound, the video isn’t right, etc.)

Load all available Windows updates so your system is “completely patched”.  This process can easily take several hours.  For Windows XP, for example, there are over 300 updates to bring a fresh install current.  For Windows Vista expecially, this is an involved process requiring many reboots and installs.  Windows 7 is the newest version, so has the fewest updates, but there are still several dozen available.

Install and update antivirus software, iTunes, Email software, various addons like Flash and Java, reinstall Microsoft Office if you had it originally.

Reinstall the backed-up data

Reconfigure email, import backed-up messages & contacts, etc.

Check to make sure everything is ok and functioning.  Typically, there are several adjustments we make to the Windows settings to make your computer more efficient.

We typically charge between 2.5 and 3 hours labor for this process, but the actual project can take several days depending on the complexity of the particular install.

As always, call us at (412) 480-9969 if you have any questions about your computer.  We can help!




Data Recovery

Posted April 18th, 2012 by Mark with No Comments

Data Recovery

Woot!!  We just successfully recovered a customer’s data from a iMac’s failing hard drive that the Geniuses at the Apple store said was unretrievable.   The computer dual-booted Windows & OSX and i guess they were scared off – or something…   :-)

They replaced the hard drive, but just handed back the bare drive that was failing and suggested the customer send it out to a data recovery company.   Sometimes the simplest tasks are the most satisfying!