“Operating System Not Found.”
This was the greeting I received from my Sony VAIO Desktop computer when we returned home from Michigan on Friday night. I quickly realized that I need not worry, as ALL of my files were backed up in one way or another. I fell asleep and on Saturday morning began troubleshooting.
The problem was thankfully solved by fixing the Master Boot Record. I won’t get all technical here but basically I checked the BIOS to make sure my hard drive was still recognized (it was) then I ran the recovery disc to fix the Windows 7 install (NOT a full recovery to factory settings).
Everything worked out for me and I had the peace of mind that all of my files were not lost. However, IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE.
This weekend’s computer troubles forced me to rethink my backup plan quite a bit. Ironically, I shared my photography client backup plans over on Light Inspired just last month, but I needed to refine my FULL computer backup plans this weekend. I was not about to put this on the back-burner just because my hard drive didn’t crash after all.
My first step was to list out the hard drives (external or HDD) I already own:
> Sony VAIO Desktop // 1 TB
> Sony VAIO Laptop // 500 GB
> WD Passport EHD // 1 TB
> Network EHD // 1 TB
I then listed the individual groups of files I absolutely need to protect:
> Documents (personal & business)
> Photos (personal & business)
My next decision was which computer should be my “primary.” After thinking hard about convenience, accessibility, functionality, and other factors, I decided to make my Sony VAIO Laptop my primary personal computer and my Sony VAIO Desktop my photo editing-only computer.
Once I made the decision on the use of each computer, I decided where each type of file will “live.” If you’re a more visual person, I’ve included a graphic to outline the process below a little more high level.
> My Laptop will hold all of my Documents (personal & business) as well as the Lightroom catalog for my personal Photos (not the actual photos). Within my Documents are my Outlook personal files and therefore my e-mail will always be accessible from my Laptop’s Outlook program.
> My Desktop will serve as my professional photo editing computer only due to the fact that the monitor is calibrated, larger than my laptop (24″ vs. 13″) and a higher resolution. All client images aka Photos (business) will stay here along with the Lightroom catalog used to process the images.
> Next, my Passport EHD. Right now all of my Music, Videos, and Photos are on my Laptop. I’ve wanted a more mobile solution that will allow me to access my files from my Desktop too. Therefore, I’m moving all Music, Videos, and Photos (personal only) to my Passport. I’ll be able to connect it to either my Laptop or Desktop for easy access!
> I have a Network EHD that serves already as a place for Archived files (mostly my photography business files) and file Backups. I’ll leave the purpose of the drive as is, so basically it’s the place where files go to retire. Ha! We’ll also use it to dump photos from our iPhones and camera cards for import into the personal photo Lightroom catalog so they corral into one place.
> The final piece to my new backup plan was the purchase of a brand new 4TB (yes, TERABYTE) EHD. Every single file across all four of the above hard drives will be backed up to this EHD. It will stay connected to my Desktop and will be backed up online/in the cloud via Backblaze.
As if you didn’t think I was covered enough, I also plan to use my Google Storage for an extra layer of photo backup just for my JPEGs. There’s also Dropbox and Evernote too that sync between all of my devices. I’d say we’re in pretty good shape!
I sure hope my Internet and hard drives can handle all of this awesomeness in the coming weeks.
So there you have it, my re-vamped backup plan. I would never wish upon anyone the loss of digital files. I’m so thankful that mine are covered at the moment…please make sure yours are too!
Disclaimer: Being the Type A-crazy that I am, I’m starting from a pretty dang organized place with my files. I highly doubt you’re as organized as me (it’s borderline obsessive) but kuddos if I’m wrong. In any case, just draw yourself an org chart just like I did above to map where you’d like your files – then get them there. Seriously just jump right in and don’t worry about how your files look at the moment, but rather than they will be protected when you’re done. Good luck!!