If you have been reading this newsletter for a while, you probably know that I often publish articles advising people to make frequent backups of all important data in their computers. Yesterday, I had an “opportunity” to try my own advice.
Yesterday morning, I turned on my trusty iMac to check email messages, check the EOGN web sites, and then to create the weekly Plus Edition email message that I send to all Plus Edition subscribers. There was one problem: Once powered on, the boot process started as normal and then, about a minute later, displayed an on-screen message saying that it was unable to find the iMac’s hard drive.
To make a long story short, after troubleshooting for a while, it seems the iMac’s internal 2-terabyte hard drive was dead. Kaput.
I made arrangements to return the iMac to the local Apple store for troubleshooting and I assume it will require a replacement hard drive. That probably will require several days to wait in the queue for the repair technician’s time, to find a replacement hard drive (I suspect Apple keeps spare hard drives in stock), and to make the repair. The problem is that I don’t have several days available for waiting. I have work to do.
Even worse, my “backup” MacBook laptop has been “loaned out” and is presently about 1,200 miles from where I live.
Most of the software I use for the newsletter is cloud-based and can be accessed from any computer, even from a tablet computer, by logging online and going to the applications in the cloud. I have been trying to convert to all cloud-based applications but there are two functions I need that I have never found in a cloud application. Those two functions require software installed in my local computer.
OK, you can guess the rest of the story.
In short, I carried my broken iMac to over to the local Apple store, gave it to the Apple Genius there and, while in the store, I purchased a new Mac Mini and took it home. I have a planned future use for the Mac Mini anyway so I plan to use it only until the big iMac system gets repaired and returned. Once the iMac is back in business, I will reformat the Mac Mini’s hard drive and convert that system into a file server.
Next, I have AT LEAST TWO copies of every file that is important to me. One copy resides in a plug-in USB hard disk that sits right beside the iMac. The second copy resides in a file storage service in the cloud.
I unpacked the new Mac Mini, powered it on, went through the normal set-up procedure, and then plugged in the USB hard drive that previously was connected to the iMac. I then used Time Machine (a backup program that makes backup copies of all new and newly-modified files every few minutes and is included with every Macintosh system). I then told Time Machine to restore all my programs and data files that had been stored on the external drive to the new Mac Mini.
The restore process required a bit more than an hour to complete but the new Mac Mini now contains an exact image of all the files that I had been using the day-before-yesterday on the iMac, just a minute or two before I powered it off for the night.
By this time, it was late in the evening so I went to bed. Today, I am catching up on all the tasks I had planned to accomplish yesterday.
Question: If your hard drive crashes right now, how long will it take you to recover everything you need?
Yes, it could happen to you!
To see all my (many) previous articles about the need for making frequent backups, start at: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+backups.