Now, this post is about a topic that many of you would probably rather skim over (or ignore) whenever you come across it.
But I implore you to read on, and make sure you do not end up in a similar situation to that which befell someone I know this week.
Three years gone in a moment
A very good friend called me this week about a family crisis. Her uni-aged son's 3-year-old MacBook Pro would not start up properly.
He had lots of uni assignment work on it - in fact several years worth of all sorts of data that was very important to him.
In particular, he desperately needed to access his almost-due assignments for his summer uni subjects.
Unfortunately, something drastic had happened and had left all the data on his hard drive 'scrambled' ...
... and he did not have a backup!
He took his Macbook to the Apple Genius Bar in the hope that at least some of his data could be rescued.
Sadly, the only thing that could be done with the MacBook was to restore it to factory settings, with the loss of everything - the worst possible outcome for him.
It is so devastating when this sort of thing happens to our kids (let alone to ourselves), potentially negatively impacting their studies and results.
I have seen similar devastation far too often, when visiting clients who have lost years worth of precious family photos and family documents due to computer/device failure or theft.
In too many cases, it takes a disastrous event like this one to highlight the value of the information and content that our computers contain, and that we perhaps have no 'insurance policy' covering our valuable and irreplaceable digital property.
For our kids, it always seem to happen at the worst time - when they were just about to submit that assignment or project that they had been working on for weeks or months; or perhaps when they are in VCE, studying for their final exams.
It has been an incredibly difficult lesson for my friend's son to have to learn: that all computers and mobile devices can fail, sustain damage, break, or be stolen. Content can even be accidentally deleted.
In our family alone, we have had three computers suffer damage or hard drive issues in the past 2 years. Additionally, mobile devices have been dropped down the toilet and on the floor, resulting in the need for replacement. Luckily for us, the data from the destroyed/malfunctioning devices was able to be restored to new replacement devices from backups.
An iTandCoffee plea to parents and students (and anyone else!)
Please pass on this story and the following advice to your school and uni-aged children, as well as heeding it yourself ...
Backups do not need to be a pain in the proverbial.
Backups can set up to occur automatically over WIFi to a backup drive (such as Apple's Time Capsule), via USB to a external hard disk drive, or even using a cloud-based service such as Dropbox, iCloud, or Google Drive (just to name a few).
All Mac computers have a Time Machine feature that allows you to easily set up a regular backup to a external device - a backup that can happen hourly, without you having to do anything.
I recommend using more than one of these backup options for the really important digital content on your computer, such as your photos. Keep in mind that, should you be robbed or suffer a fire, you may lose BOTH your computer AND any backup drive that is attached to it.
For my important digital content on my computer, I have three main backups - (1) to my Time Capsule hourly, (2) to a portable HDD monthly, which I then carry in my handbag and (3) to Dropbox for my important files (which also) then gives me access to all these file from all my computers and devices)
On iPads and iPhones, iCloud backup can be used to automatically back up these devices on a daily basis - without having to plug in to any computer. This is more effective than iTunes backups to a computer, which tend to be done less regularly.
Are you interested in attending a free session on this topic?
Depending on the level if interest, iTandCoffee will look to run a free special information session for students and their parents early in the new school/uni year, covering backup and cloud storage options and how to set them up.
Register interest by emailing email@example.com, providing a contact phone number and any preferences for day/date/time details in Feb/Mar.
Need further help or advice?
For help setting up backups or using/understanding cloud-based services, please don't hesitate to contact iTandCoffee on 1300 885 420 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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iTandCoffee is at 34 High Street Glen Iris 3146, Victoria Australia
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