Two years ago, I almost lost all my computer data. I shut down my computer on a Friday afternoon. When I turned it on again two days later, the progress bar at startup was taking longer than usual to load. Things were not looking good when the progress bar got stuck at the very end and stayed like that for hours.
I tried different things, but none of them worked. I eventually managed to create an image of the hard drive. After restoring the most recent backup, which was two months old, I brought the computer back to life. It appeared that the main issue was some software incompatibility after a major OS update.
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Up until then, I had been backing up from time to time. Thanks to the disk image that I created, I was able to recover all the new data from the last two months. That allowed me to finish on time a translation project that was due. I'd have missed the deadline if I had started translating again from scratch.
Since then, I've been working on the cloud with Memsource. Besides being the best web-based translation tool I've tried so far, Memsource saves work automatically. If my computer failed again in the future, I could retrieve my work from a different device and not risk any deadline.
I've also been backing up regularly all my computer data thanks to the 3-2-1 backup strategy. That means having at least three total copies of your data:
– Two local copies but on different media (e.g., your computer and an external drive)
– One offsite copy (e.g., the cloud)
At present, I'm using Time Machine to make copies to an external drive. Unless the computer is off, Time Machine is always working in the background. That ensures that the last backup copy is recent and not days, weeks, or months old.
Last year, I began using BackBlaze to make copies to the cloud. Like Time Machine, BackBlaze also works continuously in the background. If my external drive became damaged, I would still be able to retrieve my computer data.
I've heard people complain that backups may take forever and/or slow down computer systems. While the first backup often takes a long time, future backups are faster. That is because only the new files or those that have been modified since the last backup are backed up.
MORE: The 3-2-1 Backup Strategy
Two years after being on the verge of losing all my computer data, my computer's hard disk drive (HDD) died on December 29. However, I didn't panic this time as I had recent backup copies available thanks to Time Machine and BackBlaze. I purchased a new drive from MacSales.com and continued working from a different device until I received it.
Thanks to a video tutorial created by the manufacturer, I was able to replace quickly the disk myself. Unlike the previous drive, this new one is a solid-state drive (SSD). Although SSDs are more expensive than HDDs, SSDs are faster, more efficient, and far more durable than HDDs.
After formatting the new drive and recovering the last backup copy, I had more than all my data intact. The startup and shutdown times have never been faster, and the computer is reliable again. I feel like I have a new machine!