Back Up to Stay Ahead!Posted 7/15/2005
By Denny Kahler, AAM
If you think you don't need to back up the data on all of your computers, think again! In the past few weeks, I have lost countless hours, files, folders and settings that I will not be able to recover. My laptop had a fatal crash.
It started cutting in and out on a recent trip. A few days after I returned home, it crashed. This was my fourth or fifth laptop - its predecessors were replaced one at a time as they became too slow or ran low on hard drive storage. This is the first one that died and left me out cold. After many attempts, my computer guru was able to back up a few files before it left us cold again. His prognosis: no amount of additional effort, tapping or banging - kind or unkind words - will revive the patient. It has been shipped to the manufacturer for repairs.
Hopefully, if the hard drive is still functional, it can repair the controller and save my data. Estimated return time is three weeks. The demise of this 3-year-old unit is the first I've had to endure. Previous replacements were simply upgrades to outdated but properly running laptops. Perhaps it was this good fortune that led me to become secure and complacent - running for years without backing up my laptops. With more than a dozen computers in use at the business, the only one I had been backing up regularly was the main shop management system. I was overly confident the other computers were reliable and my data was safe. I gambled and lost.
When I computerized my business in the '80s, software was housed on floppy discs, not hard drives. Software and hardware in those days were not nearly as reliable as today's products. Back then, crashes occurred often, and backups were done at least a few times a day for protection - it was a habit, a good habit. The early hard drive machines were no better. We were lucky if a drive lasted six months. I also remember that every time a software update became available, days or weeks would be spent debugging the updates. The backups we made in those days we used often. Times have changed, and the newer systems are incredibly reliable and stable.
But just like the cars we repair, things can still go wrong. It's easy to become too comfortable and fail to do some of the tasks we should. Just like wearing a seat belt is a good habit that increases our safety while driving, backing up our computers protects the information needed to run our businesses. In today's world, it would be impossible to run a successful shop without computers and the information they contain. Backing up and knowing how to restore that information is critical to our success. Please learn from my mistake and review your processes today. (And for your shop management software needs, be sure to check out the shop management software coverage in this special issue of AutoInc.)
For more information on computer backup strategies, see the May issue of ASA's Division Dispatch. The newsletter can be found online at www.asashop.org; click on "Division Newsletters."
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