Sometime Wednesday my laptop booted up making a baaaad sound — 1 long beep, followed by 2 short beeps and no video. A failed POST. Not the best thing at any time, but especially not when you’re travelling.
The laptop was bought last September, with a 3 year warranty. Yesterday I dropped by Futureshop, to drop it off and pick up a loaner while they send it out to HP for repair. The Futureshop techs asked me if I wanted them to back up the PC first, and I confidently said “No”.
Now, I’m not a user of Google applications, nor do I store everything I do in the cloud. I find the applications themselves dramatically underpowered, work too often without connectivity, and have hundreds of gigs of data that I’ve accumulated over the years. Maybe if you’re a college student, Google applications would work for you, but for me it would be grossly impractical. What I have done is the following:
- I use Exchange for email. It allows me to keep local and server based copies of all my email.
- All of my other data is replicated, using Foldershare, on my home PC as well as my laptop. That gives me two benefits: it makes it really easy to work from my home office, and it makes a constant incremental backup of everything I do. For example, while I was in Toronto the files I created on Wednesday afternoon were real time replicated on my PC at home. When the laptop died, it didn’t matter.
- All of the data on my home PC gets a daily backup via the Windows Home Server. Sometime in the night, the PCs just wake themselves up and make backups. I never even think about it. That way, in the unlikely event that both of my work PC’s die, I’ve got a copy.
So yesterday when I got the loaner from Futureshop I:
- Visited the Microsoft Canada Web Site and downloaded the trial version of Office Professional. It’s good for 60 days, so plenty of time for Futureshop to finish my repairs and give me back my own laptop.
- Once installed, I connected Outlook to my Exchange Server. All of my email was replicated automatically on the new laptop.
- I installed Foldershare on the new laptop and connected my synched folders back up to the hard disk on the new laptop.
Then I went out to the symphony while the laptop rebuilt my data. A couple of hours later when I returned home, it was all done.
While it’s never pleasant to have a computer go down, it’s at least reasonably painless to get a replacement running if you think through a data backup strategy in advance.
Note to HP: you folks make great PC’s, but I have to say that the experience of getting that new PC was marred by this (click on the image to see it in full size glory):
That’s IE opening with the Yahoo! toolbar, the myAOL home page and great big honking Google Search box. Yuck! Why do you do this to your customers? Nobody uses this crap anyway and it really does take away from the experience for the customer.