Back Up Now or Pay Up Later

As everyone’s midterm hell weeks continue, I’m going to warn you now that you better back up your files or pay up. Because these days, losing everything on your hard drive will not only break your heart and piggy bank — it will also make you lose your mind.

Considering that I’m closer to my MacBook Pro than I am to most of my best friends and family, I felt betrayed when its hard drive randomly died during Week 3. I was so depressed that no amount of red velvet Sprinkles cupcakes would have made me feel better.

According to Dave from the Fashion Valley Apple Store, a hard drive failure could have been caused by anything; moving my laptop while it was powered on, putting my laptop in a backpack or basically everything that you’re supposed to be able to do with a laptop, can kill a hard drive.

The shitty piece of metal that stores basically everything in your life rely on two highly sensitive, constantly spinning little “heads” that read and write data onto the drive. If these heads become misaligned or dislodged from any heat or tiny vibration at any point while using your laptop, it’s pretty much time to cry.

I don’t know what I raged about more: The fact that I lost all the photos and documents from the past two years of my life or the fact that after only two years of use, I had to pay big money to fix it. The Genius Bar charges a ridiculous $180 for replacement and installation of the same type of mediocre hard drive. Even the Geek Squad counter at Best Buy charges $50 just for installing a replacement (which you still need to buy yourself), a job that requires not much more than 10 minutes and access to a screwdriver.

Dave recommended a more reliable replacement in the form of a solid-state drive that performs faster and is less susceptible to damage or failure, but costs around five times the price per gigabyte of storage. Since I was desperate and definitely could not handle the stress from another crappy hard drive failure, I reluctantly agreed, bought that ridiculously expensive little box and bullied my boyfriend into installing it for me.

I’m happy that I’m no longer watching a sad screen of “dead-hard-drive” gray, but if I had put my thousands of photos and important documents on my computer onto an external drive, or even my DropBox account, the disaster would have felt less intense. In that situation, I’d still have to pay for a replacement, but I would have been less overwhelmed about completing upcoming assignments and happily accepted pity chocolate from my friends.

Computer companies probably should just use better hard drives to begin with, but take it from me: Instead of crying the night before your next paper is due, make it a point to back up your files. Save yourself the unnecessary stress, have a happy Valentine’s Day and don’t ruin good chocolate with wasted tears.

One thought on “Back Up Now or Pay Up Later

  1. You make some good points, well, one to be specific: back up your data, especially if you cant afford to lose it. But then you make some errors.

    “Computer companies probably should just use better hard drives to begin with…” They do. They use industry standard 2.5″ drives that have been tested to withstand heat, drops, vibration, and are an engineering marvel with all the moving parts. The modern accelerometer detection that parks the hard drive head in your macbook work instance that a drop is detected also works very well to protect your data as best it can. In the end, all products have a useful life span, hard drives included. Even the best, enterprise grade units designed for 24×7 operation in data centers will eventually die. But I think you were referring to…

    “solid-state drive that performs faster and is less susceptible to damage or failure” Yes, they are many times faster than traditional spinning hard drives, with lower access times, less power consumption, and are resistant to heat, shock, and drops more so than the mechanical hard drive. But, they still have a useful life span, and its much shorter than you think. Also, unlike mechanical drives, there usually is no warning signs of failure (no noise so to speak), so they can die instantly leaving you with the grey screen again.

    In the end, you summed it up. Backup and do so regularly.

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