Back That Drive Up (and Never Lose Your Data Again)

By April 26th in Blog, Clients, News

Back That Drive Up

Why You Need Back Up Your Data

Don't wait until something happens to your computer to worry about the safety of your data

Don’t wait until something happens to your computer to worry about the safety of your data

Did you know that every time you enjoy an unsweetened oat milk double mocha in the general vicinity of your beloved computer, you also swing a glittering red cape in front of the Grim Data Reaper? And it’s not just sweet, delicious liquid that poses a threat to your irreplaceable data–drives fail, machines get dropped and jostled, scammers encrypt and hold your data ransom (see: Atlanta, city of), the power goes out, natural disasters wreak havoc, exes get vengeful…The list goes on, but since you’re an intelligent human being who’s already interested in backing up your data, we’ll get to the point: data loss isn’t a question of if, but when.

At this point, you might be saying to yourself, “Why are these data recovery experts advising me to back up my data? Wouldn’t it be easier for them to shoot themselves in the foot while hurling stacks of Benjamins at passersby?” And while it’s true that our customers DO pay us to recover the data they lost after a wild night of hot tea consumption, we’d much rather they not lose that data in the first place because – here’s the kicker – are you ready? – data recovery is never a guarantee. Sometimes the physical parts are beyond repair; sometimes the chips that control your data get corrupted; sometimes, sometimes, sometimes. And why put something so vital at the mercy of sometimes?

So, because we know that you don’t actually want to re-inflate your resume, attempt to fill the void of missing family photos with stick figure drawings and/or extensive therapy, or rewrite your bildungsroman, we’d like to offer some free advice, though we do accept Baked Goods of Gratitude and Bitcoin.

The Different Heads of the Backup Hydra

First (and second) things first: there are two types of backup. The first is a local backup, which is an external hard drive that you connect to your computer. While these backups can be convenient and cost-effective, they are vulnerable to the same vagaries that threaten your source data, even if you take the extra precaution of running programs to ensure regular backups. Theft, natural disasters, hardware failure, inadvertent unplugging and the like can damage or even nullify a local backup, leaving you bereft of those precious pictures from Fluffy’s puppy years.

The second type of backup is an online, or cloud-based, backup. “But what about my privacy?” you exclaim. “Facebook already exploits my proclivity for Precious Moments dolls repainted to look like Lord of the Rings characters. I don’t want them to go digging around my family reunion album and start marketing Kentucky-made BBQ sauce to me during times of emotional crisis.” We understand! We do. Most of us in this crowded humanity clown car would love to pump the brakes on our way down to People as Productville. However, any cloud-based backup service worth its weight in cryptocurrency…converted to gold… will encrypt your data in transit and during storage; some even integrate the same blockchain technology used by Bitcoin, thereby securing it further.

But which of these two options is best for you? How best to protect your files, your memories, your life as stored in 0s and 1s? We say “why choose?” The most hardened data loss survivors would even go a backup farther and recommend the 3-2-1 rule: 3 copies of anything you care about, 2 different formats, and 1 off-site backup. You know the saying: There are 2 kinds of people–people who backup their computers, and people who have never lost everything. We’re here to ensure a third kind of person: she who has never known the pain of irretrievable data, and never will.

How We Can Help

And now that you’ve had a crash course – pun intended – on the near-inevitability of loss, what can you do to protect your data and, by extension, your heart? Well, you certainly can Google around for a cloud-based back-up service that sounds amenable, and set up a local backup as well. But if you’d feel more comfortable leaving the sanctity of your data to experts, give us a call at (805) 564-3273 or e-mail us here. We’re offering a discount on comprehensive back-up services through the end of May, and we’d love to save you untold thousands in future data recovery costs (say it with me: data recovery is never a guarantee!) and Jungian Analysis wherein your lost data recurs as an unslayable dragon and you, a swordless knight.

Free Data Recovery Service for Mudslide Victims Aids Non-Profit Rebuilding Efforts

By March 15th in Blog, Clients, Community, News

Free Data Recovery Service for Mudslide Victims Aids Non-Profit Rebuilding Efforts

Hard drive found in the Santa Barbara Montecito debris flow

Hard drive found in the Santa Barbara Montecito debris flow

While there are no words for the devastation experienced by our community as a result of the Thomas Fire and subsequent mudslide, here at TechEase we’re both heartened by the ongoing relief efforts and proud to play our part by offering free data recovery to those affected.

After La Casa de Maria lost their entire administrative building in the mudslide, they brought us six computers that they found buried under fifteen feet of mud and debris. We were able to recover 100% of the data from these computers, including important fundraising and customer database information that will make their rebuilding efforts that much easier. Two of the computers were even able to be repaired, saving this local non-profit the expense of buying new equipment!

La Casa has been a sanctuary for the Santa Barbara community since 1955, offering retreats and programs to 10,000+ people a year. Their stated mission of promoting the common good of our communities “through art, education, health and healing” has become even more vital in these difficult times – may the recovered data bring them this much closer to continuing their incredible work.

We’ll continue to offer free data recovery here and at MacMechanic for as long as necessary, so please spread the word to anyone who might benefit from this service.

Should you upgrade to Windows 10?

By November 6th in Blog

Microsoft is constantly pushing the free upgrade to Windows 10 to any Windows 7 and Windows 8 users, so naturally clients want to know if they should click on the update and install it. We have maintained that upgrading is a very bad idea, and we have several clients every week bringing in their computers which are no longer functioning because they upgraded to Windows 10. Now a report confirms that our advice is echoed industry-wide.

This report from Engadget shows that at least Dell and HP are advising clients not to upgrade to Windows 10, and are advising those who have upgraded to revert the changes. Each week we have to reverse Windows 10 upgrades to undo the errors that result from the process.

This doesn’t mean that Windows 10 is an awful operating system. To the contrary we actually like Windows 10 better than Windows 8.0 (8.1 resolved many of the issues we had with Windows 8.0). If you get a brand new computer with Windows 10 installed on it, that’s normally fine. It’s the upgrade process that brings along so many issues.

If you absolutely must upgrade to Windows 10, do not simply run the update. We strongly advise that you backup all your data and install Windows 10 from scratch. This requires that you install all your programs again, like Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook), Quickbooks, and any other programs you might use. But a clean install will avoid major headaches from the upgrade path.

SSD Hard Drives: Lower prices, Faster Performance

By July 15th in Uncategorized

One of the best ways to speed up your computer is by adding an SSD hard drive. Traditional computer hard drives have spinning platters which are slow to access, plus moving parts means more parts to break, and more computer repair costs. SSD drives are similar to the Flash Memory cards you use in cameras, phones and MP3 players. With no moving parts, they provide almost instant access to your computer’s files, meaning startup times can be a matter of seconds, as demonstrated in this video which compares the time it takes to bootup and open 50 applications:

While the storage capacity is smaller on SSD drives, the addition of a second drive or an external hard drive to your PC can help alleviate storage concerns. Pick up an SSD Drive at Amazon now and get in touch with us if you have questions about adding one to your system.

Santa Barbara Computer E-Waste Collection 5/2 & 5/3

By February 28th in Blog

On May 2nd & 3rd from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, Santa Barbara residents can bring laptop and desktop computers, LCD and CRT monitors, printers and any other electronic devices to the Sears parking lot for proper E-Waste recycling. They will accept any electronic device that has a power cord or runs on batteries, with the exception of large appliances. Please make sure you remove all light bulbs, batteries and ink cartridges from your items before you drop them off.  These items are not safe for regular disposal, so please bring them for proper recycling for free!

 

Santa Barbara Computer E-Waste Collection 4/26-4/27

By April 16th in Blog

On April 26th & 27th from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm, Santa Barbara residents can bring laptop and desktop computers, LCD and CRT monitors, printers and any other electronic devices to the Sears parking lot for proper E-Waste recycling. They will accept any electronic device that has a power cord or runs on batteries, with the exception of large appliances. Please make sure you remove all light bulbs, batteries and ink cartridges from your items before you drop them off.  These items are not safe for regular disposal, so please bring them for proper recycling for free!