IT Disaster Tales

Backing up data is easy. Not doing it can be a catastrophe.



I provide computer support and infrastructure services for small businesses in New York City and New Jersey.  I often get frantic calls from businesses begging for help because a primary computer or shared server has failed.

Data recovery has advanced so much that unless the hard drive has physically failed, I can usually recover their important data files.  When I’m successful, it’s one of the most rewarding events I experience.

Here are some true stories of amusing client situations involving inadequate backup that had happy endings.  I’m still amazed that, to this day, most businesses don’t follow adequate backup practices.

The Author
I got a call one Friday afternoon at 4:30 pm from an author in New York. She said: “David, you don’t know me.  A nearby friend who knows you referred me to you.  (Pause.)  I don’t care what you’re doing or what your plans are for the weekend.  I’ll double your fees if you’ll drop everything and drive into New York City NOW!  My laptop has seized and I have all the chapters of my new book in it and I’m two weeks away from deadline.  This book is worth thousands of dollars to me.  Can you help me?”

I told her I happened to be available (I was looking forward to unwinding with my family, but duty called).  I agreed to do the work at my regular weekend rate and I drove to her home.

I worked on the laptop for an hour, and was having some difficulty finding the process that was freezing Windows.  She stood up, handed me a blank, signed check and told me she was going for a walk.  When she returned, if I hadn’t fixed it by then, I was to go out and buy her a new laptop of my choice, add whatever fees I wanted, then get her set up so she could start  recreating the book by her deadline.

Shortly after she left, I isolated the process and fixed it.  Windows returned to normal.  I did some other maintenance, fixed a cellular adapter that had never worked, did some maintenance and backed up her files to her husband’s computer over their network. (He didn’t know I was doing it.)