Your hard drive WILL fail...
All hard drives will fail eventually because they are machines, and sooner or later all machines break down. Trust me, there is NEVER a good time for your hard drive to fail. And, you can be certain that your hard drive failure will occur in the middle of a critical project or operation - at the most inopportune time possible.
It doesn't matter how you will lose your important files, it could be the result of an accidental deletion, a power surge, Acts of God such as fire, flood or other natural disaster, a malicious virus or machinery failure, but you will lose important data. Regardless of the reason your hard drive is the weak link between you - your data - and your peace of mind. I am intimately familiar with such a disaster as it happened to me just a few weeks ago.
How I survived a hard drive meltdown
It was a typical, uneventful work day and I was doing the same basic computer tasks I've done every day for years. Outlook, IE-7 and MS Word were seeing some action, but no unusual CPU usage or intense crunching was being done. It was time for lunch, so I shutdown my (2yr. old) XP powered Hewlett-Packard desktop for my mid-day reboot; something I always do to purge memory and cache and start fresh.
When I returned from lunch, my screen was BLUE (not a good sign) and there was an error message displayed, which I first ignored and just repeated the rebooting process. Having Windows choke from time to time is not something that surprises most MS Windows users. But, the " BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH" reappeared and this time I studied the error message and wrote down the error code number. Three more attempts to reboot using normal and 'Safe Mode' options yielded the same results... nothing.
I fired-up my laptop and researched the error message online only to discover that the hard drive failure I was experiencing was designated as an "unrecoverable error" and worse still, it could not be repaired. The only solution was to wipe the drive and reformat... in other words, send my PC's operating system back to where it was two years ago.
All of my local data was lost
I won't bore you with the technical minutiae, but this particular hard drive problem meant that my entire file system was corrupted and indecipherable. Recovering data using any method was not likely to be successful. Now, I don't keep the U.S. Defense Department's nuclear launch codes on my PC, but my files are just as important to me. I earn my living using my computer and if all of my work from past years - or even yesterday - were to disappear, I could lose everything including an incalculable amount of time and money.
Everything was backed-up
Fortunately, I learned a very costly lesson years ago when a hard drive crash caused me to lose important emails and a business proposal over which I had been slaving for many days. It cost me a fortune. After that happened I became a 'data backup devotee'; it became my new religion and I worshiped at the backup altar every day... sometimes several times each day. As a backup disciple, I made it my mission to use the best, most affordable, secure and reliable solution.
Over the years I've tried every new backup program, technique and solution that hit the market (heck, I still have some 5¼ diskettes with files I created in the late 80's). No matter what the backup method or equipment required, nothing ever gave me the feeling that my data was 100% backed-up, safe and secure, and nothing was truly automatic - until I discovered Mozy - the BEST Online Backup Solution.
Offsite, bulletproof and automatic data backup
When I first became aware of Mozy, I was researching all of the new "off premise remote backup services". You've probably heard Rush Limbaugh and other radio personalities promoting these services (i.e. Carbonite, Mozy, etc.). I signed up with a couple companies to test the waters, and I dug deeper to see what others were saying. At the end of the day I chose the same solution recommended by Consumer Reports, the Wall Street Journal, PC World and Business Week... Mozy (by Berkeley Data Systems). Today, I recommend Mozy to everyone because I know from first hand experience that it works... better than advertised. Back to my story...
My hard drive was toast, but my data was secure
Fortunately, I had been using Mozy for about 8 months by this time, so if their advertising was accurate, they had a copy of my data stored securely on their servers. It is one thing to backup your data, but it is still another thing to be able to retrieve that data and reconstruct directories and files the way you are used to seeing everything. After I reformatted my hard drive and reloaded my programs, I was ready to retrieve my backed-up data from Mozy. This would be the ultimate test.
Mozy file restore menu
Talk about painless and intuitive! I was amazed and relieved. When you login to your Mozy account and follow the easy menu selections to restore files, you see a menu that is a virtual mirror of your local hard drive.
You can select to restore an individual file, a directory or your complete file system. Better yet, you can even select your files from a previous backup. This is a HUGE safety benefit in that if you happened to catch a Trojan virus that infected your machine and caused your crash, you can restore your files to the day before you caught the virus.
In my 20+ years of business computing and backing up files, I have never experienced such an easy, user-friendly and bulletproof file backup solution as Mozy.
~ Tom Heatherington
But is offsite data backup secure?
The first concern most people have about any remote backup system is about security. Can you trust storing your files on a remote server? Again, the people at Mozy had the right answers. Mozy uses 128-bit SSL encryption during the transfer process (this is the same technology used by banks). On their servers 448-bit Blowfish encryption secures your files, meaning that your data is protected from hackers. This is backup data encryption on steroids!
Easy to use and 100% automatic
Set it and forget it! I have my files backed-up automatically every night at 2:00 a.m. Another powerful feature is that Mozy will back up your documents whether they're open or closed and it also backs-up Outlook files giving you disaster-proof email protection.
If you ever get a message like...
DISK BOOT FAILURE
NO FIXED DISK PRESENT
ERROR READING FIXED DISK
NTLDR IS MISSING
Don't just take my word for it...
Remote Data Back Q&A
- ▼ What is the best backup software?
- ▼ Why should I backup off premise?
- ▼ How do I recover a file?
- ▼ Is this a long-term contract?
- ▼ Why should I believe you?
This is like the old 'Ford or Chevy' debate in that there are a number of companies in this space and are very competitive, but two seem to have risen to the top. Mozie and Carbonite are the most well known companies and their services and pricing are competitive. After comparing products, services and pricing, I chose Mozie.
Optimum data security and peace of mind. Whether you are a small business or an individual, having a remote backup of all your office files and having those files accessible via a web based backup interface is the best possible backup solution. Offsite file backup is the only way to guarantee that a copy of all your files is available in the event of a disaster.
Click on over to your remote backup account and follow the simple steps for recovery data backup. You can choose to recover one specific file, a directory or your entire file system. Additionally, you can download the backed-up files you need immediately or have the files sent to you on a CD. This CD/shipping service will carry an additional charge.
You can cancel your account at any time. However, when you sign-up there are substantial discounts if you commit to 1 or 2 years. The point is that this service costs monthly what a breakfast at McDonalds costs and the fact that it is automatic and provides such peace of mind, makes it invaluable.
Don't! You don't have to trust me, but when heavyweights like Consumer Reports, the Wall Street Journal, PC World, Fortune and Business Week endorse a product - there just might be a reason to accept my approval also. Hey, I'm a consumer like you, and I have the same concerns as you do. I did my research and chose Mozy... I'm a customer and I recommend this product because it works.
Why you must have an automatic offsite backup plan in place - find out which solution is best!
This just might save your butt!
Read this true account and if you apply my recommendation you will never again worry about not having your data backed-up... and safe.
Best Online Backup Solution
I originally created this website to help family and friends learn how best to protect themselves from data loss and other security and efficiency matters. Now this is open to the public and I hope my suggestions will help you also.
Hard drives study
PC World - Study: Hard Drive Failure Rates Much Higher Than Makers Estimate... Several drive vendors declined to be interviewed.
Remote data backup is like fire insurance for your home. You only buy it because you're afraid not to have it, but if you ever need it, you sure hope you bought the right policy. Mozy will let you sleep better at night. Download Mozy here.