Monday, November 21, 2011

A Public Service Announcement

Last Thursday, I was trolling the interwebs in my usual morning routine and gearing up to transcribe some interviews I had done for my regular freelance gig.

Then a gray curtain dropped from the top of my screen to the bottom, and a box popped up in the center, telling me that I needed to hard-reset my laptop by holding down the power button until it turned off.

It was a kernel panic.

What on earth does that mean? Well, my friendly neighborhood Apple Genius (I live on a 15” MacBook Pro) explained to me that it was probably some sort of a hardware failure. Sure enough, a diagnostic was run and my hard drive was failing.

So why am I telling you about this?

A week ago today, I turned in a big story. Roughly double my usual word count. I emailed it off, got confirmation from my editor, then I plugged my laptop into my external hard drive for a Time Machine backup and headed for the gym.

I had no way of knowing that my hard drive would die four days later. But when I walked into the Apple Store, I was not in a panic. I had backed up on Monday and even if my laptop was dead, I wasn’t going to lose any work. I knew I hadn’t lost anything that would be difficult to replace.

After a shockingly inexpensive hard drive replacement, I brought my laptop home Friday night and was able to restore everything from my Time Machine backup. I honestly can’t tell that there’s a shiny new hard drive on the inside of my laptop.

Which means that the moral of the story is that I hope you are backing up your computers on a regular basis. It’s a pain in the neck. It makes my laptop run really slowly for a few minutes, which drives me bonkers.

But if I hadn’t been backing up regularly, I would have spent most of Thursday with my heart in my throat and all of the weekend scrambling to figure out what I had lost when my hard drive failed. No fun.

Back up your computers. You will never regret backing up, but you will eventually regret it in spades if you don’t.


Jenn said...

So glad your PSA is based in a relatively happy story. Hard drive failures never are fun, but to have had the foresight to back it up was great. I learned the hard way.

SJ said...

Gulp. That was a close one. I really must do regular backups. Thanks for the reminder!