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Computer woes, backup plans, and the little engine that could

Chug, chug, chug. Puff, puff, puff. Ding-dong. Ding-dong. The little train rumbled over the tracks....She puffed along merrily. Then all of a sudden she stopped with a jerk. She simply could not go another inch. She tried and she tried, but her wheels would not turn.

As I read The Little Engine That Could to my 2-year-old daughter last night, I couldn't help but see the similarity between it and my computer. Fortunately for the blue little engine it made it over the mountain. Sadly for my computer, it didn't.

Oh the woes of life when a computer kicks the bucket. Its symptoms began a couple of months ago with some odd chugging sounds. Every now and then I would hear a ding-dong (beeps) and it would not wake up at first. Yesterday, it never woke up. Rest in peace good old computer.

I guess my mourning for it would be much worse if I did not have a good backup of all my data. Thankfully, my account had a backup of my 202GB of pictures, videos, webinar recordings, etc. Then a little salt was added to my wound when I learned that Mozy's new pricing structure (emailed to me yesterday morning) would change my rates from $4.95 a month for unlimited storage to $21.99 a month for the amount of data I have. As soon as my new computer is set up, I'll check out other off-site backup services such as Carbonite, CrashPlan, or BackBlaze. Thanks Dick Eastman for these other suggestions.

Speaking of my new computer...I had it custom-built for me and in my home over a week ago in preparation for the demise of my old computer. Unfortunately, my old computer won't turn on, and my new computer won't stay on. Every few hours it freezes or crashes - not what I would expect for a computer just out of the box. The computer was built and shipped to me from Washington state so my only method of trying to figure out what's wrong is to correspond with the manufacturer via email and telephone. After too many days of this, I went to my local computer store yesterday and ordered another new custom-made computer. My welcome home party for it should be tomorrow. In the meantime, I've now got 570 unanswered emails (thanks to those who have written me for your patience!) a big webinar later today to plan for, a private webinar to set up for this Friday, and a seminar in Fresno to pack for this weekend.

I am more convinced than ever that there are only two types of computer users in the world. The first type is someone who has had their computer crash. The second type is someone who will have their computer crash. But with a good backup strategy a lot of heartache can be avoided.

I am still in the "I think I can, I think I can" chapter of the transition to my new computer. By this time next week I hope I'll be like the little blue engine who, after climbing the mountain, said "I thought I could. I thought I could."


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I couldn't agree more with your comments. FWIW, I have a removeable drive bay in the front of my computer, and two 1 TB drives to fit it. I keep one in the bank safety deposit box and one in place and swap them every week or two. Meanhwile, I use GRBackPro to ensure I have nightly backups, both full and incremental -- it's belt and suspenders, but I don't lose data! :-)

Cheers, Dallas

Don't overlook the fact that your disk drive(s) in the old computer can be removed and made available to the new computer (external USB interface, for example) .....IF the demise of your old computer was not caused by a failure of the disk drive. That still doesn't help with the week long task of reloading all your software and getting the desktop layout exactly how you'd like it, but at least you've got access to your DATA.

Checkout for a free "SyncToy" utility from Microsoft that will help with the task of synchronizing [data] folders between drives or systems.


Thanks for the advice Joe. However, one of the disks did die...

I also checked out backblaze after Mozy raised their price. I believe the restore procedure is the key and since backblaze sends the files back in a zip file (also has disk and HD option - but expensive) I found a promo code for Mozy and renewed with them. I have also tried the others but like Mozy the best. Since all of them offer 2GB or trial periods free I suggest giving them a try and doing a restore before deciding which one to use.

I forgot to mention that Mozy automatically backs up files locally to an external drive in addition to a Mozy data center for double protection. With local backup, you’ll be able to back up large amounts of data quickly—usually within minutes—ensuring your files are backed up locally while they transfer to the Mozy servers.

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