[EDIT:The title of this post no longer holds good. I have since recovered my 1,396 photos by using a file undelete software on the SD card of the camera. I thoroughly recommend Glary Utilities for general computer-related housekeeping.]
Does anyone really come out of a system crash unscathed? I believe not, but there are a number of things one can do to minimize the damage.
If I had a penny for all the “My hard disk crashed; I lost all my e-mail addresses/the only copy of my bestseller-to-be/ten-year-old music collection/all my photographs” laments I have heard, I would be planning my next holiday by now! Well, my trusty old Toshiba Satellite finally got a creak too many yesterday afternoon and conked off, and the price I paid for being lax with my back-ups was: 1,396 photographs, including half a dozen videos — all of my recent holiday in England and Scotland.
(I am probably in denial right now, but I am not completely devastated. For one, those photographs were a testimony to the fact that I have not been keeping up with my photography and my composition skills are beginning to suck.)
Anyway, getting back to the subject, here’s my five-step guide to surviving a system crash. Hey, I know, because I did!
- Back up: Yes, you can do it. You know what, you don’t have a choice! Have a realistic back-up schedule; your life doesn’t have to revolve around it. (If it does, good for you!). If you really value anything, back it up whenever you make changes. I always back up my writing whenever I make even minor tweaks.
- Do not pirate your OS: This is especially for all you Indians out there! Don’t scrounge on an extra couple of thousand bucks when buying a new computer because your dealer tells you he will “install Windows for free”. For one, that is illegal. If you don’t want to shell out, use Linux! This was the first system crash I suffered in over 10 years, whereas most people I know go through them quite regularly. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I have hardly ever had any sort of pirated software on my system. But I digress — the obvious advantage of this is, you will have your original install disks, and can have your system up and running in under an hour without being at the mercy of your seedy comp shop.
- Heck, why pirate at all? No, you do not need to install that bootleg copy of MS Office 2007 unless you are willing to pay Rs 4,000-odd for a legit licence. (Yes, it is that cheap.) Try out OpenOffice.org; it won’t destroy you. In fact, if you do take the trouble to try to understand the philosophy of open source, it might actually be good for your soul — think of it as yoga for your computer!
- Security first: Once your OS is reinstalled, getting your system back in exactly the same shape can be an exercise in patience. It pays not to take shortcuts. Get your security software running and updated before you start rushing online and grabbing all your other favourite applications.
- Back up: Just in case you missed that point. The only way you lose data is by being an idiot, like I was.
So, back to my 1,396 photos… looks like I’ll just have to go back to bonnie Scotland and take some more piccies!