Yes, it happens to everyone. One day, your computer’s working fine. The next morning, you power up and the wheels are starting to spin, but you can’t get the computer started. Or, you hear the ominous clicking noise that tells you your hard drive is unhappy. Or, you’ve been noticing over time that your computer’s acting cranky and likes to crash in the middle of a big file. You’ve tried to hide from the inevitable, but you know—the end is near.
While you can’t completely prevent a hardware malfunction—a computer’s just a machine, after all—there are many things you can do to minimize the consequences of a broken computer, and get yourself up and running quickly again.
Using a system like Egnyte or DropBox not only ensures your files are on your computer, but are synched with an outside server so that there’s always a backup of your most recent files. Best of all, it can be accessed anywhere, and by any user you’ve allowed rights to. So, while your laptop is in the shop, your files can still be worked on with no loss of time or questions of who had the latest version.
Set up a schedule of automatic backups of your files to an external drive. Don’t rely on yourself to remember to do it; programs like Time Machine for the Mac are invaluable for helping make copies of your files that you can go back to if there’s a problem. Egnyte offers this service as well.
Make sure you stay up to date on software and service updates, and repair permissions and/or defrag your computer on a regular basis so that your computer is working at optimal capacity.
Clone Your Computer
If you have any advance warning, clone your drive to another one for safekeeping. This way, when your nice healthy and happy computer comes back from the shop, you’ll be miles ahead when it’s time to reinstall all your files. It will still take some time, but you won’t have to spend ages hunting around for everything.
Your Computer’s Records
When did you buy it? What’s its serial number? What kind of warranty does it have? You may be able to get it fixed, or a replacement drive, for free if you are still under the warranty. Naturally, you want to have these files accessible somewhere not on your hard drive. Print them out and keep them handy.
Keeping these tips in mind may not help your computer from having a meltdown, but they can certainly help keep the stress to a minimum and get you back to work soon.