While I haven’t written a Mac blog for some time, here is an important “public service message” to help you avoid one of the potential calamities of the digital age…

As followers of this blog and guests at West Hill House know, Peter is a.k.a. Mr Mac, a member of the Apple Consultants Network and certified Apple Desktop Specialist. This role is very much a sideline but I do help a number of nearby customers from time to to time.

A recent service call has led to this blog. A customer with a failing hard drive and NO back-up.  I was called in “just-to-late” as it happened and as I was attempting to pull critical data from the drive it died. A data recovery specialist firm was able to find a way to recover the data in this case, but the operation was too expensive for my customer to take advantage of this remedy. So the fallback, after I replaced the drive, is for the customer to manually reinstall apps, buy replacements for ones where the source files have been lost, recreate the files that can be recreated, and live without those that can’t be.  And overall a very time consuming process.

All of this could have been avoided by using a feature built into every recent version of the Mac OS – Time Machine. Time Machine automatically does a continuous back-up of your Mac to an external hard drive.  It allows you to recover just one file that you have accidentally deleted or overwritten, or recover your entire Mac after an internal hard drive failure.  Given the incredibly low price these days of external hard drives, a Time Machine back-up is something EVERY Mac user should have.

An associated great product sold by Apple is the Time Capsule, an external hard drive that is also a WiFi hub, and it combines to allow a wireless Time Machine back-up – sounds like something out of H.G. Wells! With this arrangement, which is extremely easy to set up, your MacBooks will be seamlessly backed up whenever you are in range of your network.

There are two important axioms to remember in this age when all the data in your life depends on the health of your hard drive:

  • Your hard drive WILL fail – it is just a matter of when, not if. Back it up!
  • To paraphrase Forrest Gump “power surges happen”, and they can often be fatal.  Your computer should be protected by a good surge protector, or even better a UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply – not the courier!)

So follow these simple rules to help your data live long and help you prosper!  If you want more insights like this, chat to me on your next visit to West Hill House.