By: David Zimmerman, CEO of LC Technology
If you use your laptop as a storage device, then you know the sinking feeling when you break the machine or are greeted with the “blue screen of death.” The best way to save information on a laptop is to put in place safeguards. Take some proactive steps to keep your information safe, remove certain risks surrounding your laptop, and know when it’s time for a replacement. So if your laptop falls into the ocean and doesn’t work, you simply get a new one and then reset your settings and retrieve your information from the cloud or an external hard drive.
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Sync With The Cloud
Preserving your photos, videos, and other files that are saved on your laptop can be accomplished through mirroring the information to a cloud service. It’s similar to a big company that is always syncing with a cloud service to create redundancies so they never risk critical information. Cloud services are exceedingly cheap, so creating “backups of your backups” is possible by simply choosing two providers and giving yourself an extra layer of protection. It’s easy to setup such syncing with Google, where you can also direct your Android phone to send files to the same location, so you have the convenience of multi-device redundancy.
Use a Recovery Service
If your laptop’s hard drive is inoperable, then you have limited options for retrieving information yourself. When the laptop is essentially a doorstop, then you need to seek outside help. You should then find a qualified recovery service that is experienced with opening the hard drive in a controlled setting, docking with it, and extracting the information.
Boot Your Laptop in Safe Mode
Safe mode is built into the OS as a diagnostics tool to help you identify problems with the machine. It’s a way to pull information from the laptop when it isn’t working properly, but can still be booted. If you can get into the OS through Safe Mode then you can simply plug in an external hard drive and drag the files you need over to make a copy. You should then consider what to do with the laptop, knowing that the price of replacing the drive is not likely worth the expense, unless you are using an expensive gaming laptop or similar high-powered machine.
Know when to Buy a New One
Laptops are cheap, and are essentially conduits for connecting to the internet and running programs. Consumers should largely ignore the laptop’s storage capabilities and instead focus on processing speed. They should also consider the signs the laptop is showing when it’s aging. If you hear clicking noises or are experiencing extremely slow speeds, then consider replacing any laptop that is a few years old. Especially if you use the laptop for even short-term storage or use it for a home business, think of the risk/reward of trying to squeeze an extra few months of use out of an old machine.
Handle them Carefully
Laptops are not terribly sturdy, and should be kept protected from liquids, excessive heat, and rapid changes in temperature or humidity. Use a carrying case or purpose-built backup to protect the laptop in transit and avoid placing it on the edge of a table or on a shelf to prevent falls. Even a good recovery service will have trouble pulling data from a physically damaged hard drive, so avoid dropping the machine.
Use Security Measures
You can further protect your laptop information by restricting unauthorized access. Using a simple password or PIN to open your machine is a good first step. If you use the laptop for work, then consider encrypting your data so it’s unusable for someone else without the authorized encryption key. You should also hesitate to let someone else use your laptop as they might accidentally delete or move files.