Although computers today are very reliable, there are still a ton of bugs and human errors that can directly affect the functioning of a computer. While working with Windows on my MacBook, one bug and one mistake caused me to format my whole Mac hard-drive.
Here’s what happened in short:
I created a (third) partition to share files between Windows on Bootcamp and Mac OSX. Due to a bug on OSX, I couldn’t boot into Windows. Windows startup repair fiddled with my Mac’s partition mapping scheme (converted GUID to Master Boot Record), and afterwards I couldn’t boot into OSX. I was compelled to use Mac Recovery to format my drive entirely, including Windows, and used a 38 day old Time Machine backup to restore my Mac.
It might not look as horrific right now, but I got quiet a shock when I couldn’t boot into my own Mac OSX! Anyways, my Time Machine backup saved me from losing all my data forever.
Now, I’ll tell you the secrets to never losing data on any computer ever.
BACKUPS ARE IMPORTANT: I was lucky to have a Time Machine backup to restore my Mac from, otherwise I would have to start afresh. A lot of people don’t understand the importance of a backup. Computers are vulnerable machines. What if your hard drive crashed? What if you had a boot-up error? Event the best computers aren’t perfectly safe from bugs or errors. So this is what I recommend you do:
- If you own a Windows computer, pick up a hard drive and use ‘Backup and Restore’ in your Control Panel to set up automatic backups. Follow this guide.
- If you are on OSX, use Time Machine to back-up your entire system on an external hard drive. Here are the steps.
USE THE CLOUD: One of Internet’s biggest boons is cloud based services. Here is what I recommend doing:
- Use Evernote (or other notes apps) for managing text, rather than creating new word/notepad files every time you write something. Evernote is free to use (if you require premium features, you’ll require to pay, although for beginners it is completely unnecessary). I write and store all my blog posts on Evernote so that I can access them anywhere and never lose any of the content that goes on this website.
- Google Photos provides free unlimited storage for high quality 8 MP photos and videos without consuming your Google Drive space. Using the mobile apps and the desktop tool, you can sync all your pictures to the cloud for free! However, since I've invested into to the Apple ecosystem, I’m paying Rs. 65 ($1) per month to store all my pictures and videos in full resolutions in 50 gigs of iCloud storage.
- Use Google Drive/OneDrive/iCloud/Dropbox to store your most important files - the ones that are you should never lose. This may also apply to confidential data that you don’t want anyone else to access. Scan and store copies of your Passports and other official documents so that there is always an electronic copy available even in worst case situations.
- Subscribe to a music subscription service! As odd as that may sound, you’ll never regret losing your music. Spotify is a great option if it is available in your country, but I personally use Apple Music here in India and it is (almost) perfect, thanks to the huge iTunes music database Apple has. Plus, at Rs. 120 a month (aka. a McDonalds meal), I can access the whole world’s music (and download for office use) on my Mac, Windows, Android (yes!) and iPhone. Give it a 3 month try, and you’ll be proud of paying for your music! I’ve reviewed my Apple Music experience here.
There you go, you’ve protected yourself from a scary computer crash or a drive format.
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