Two years ago I decided to invest in some USB external hard drives and appropriate software, and then on a routine basis, go around and make a full image backup of each workstation and laptop in the office.
[Routine defined as “whenvever I have a chance” which means “maybe twice a year!”]
My primary reason for this was for disaster recovery purposes. Here in Florida, if a hurricane is coming, I can grab the USB drives and know I could restore data or complete systems. I’ve been using both Acronis TrueImage and StorageCraft’s ShadowProtect. Both do a good job, and give me a different look on the data.
So, my boss comes in from a weekend trip and proclaims that his laptop is dead. I’m feeling pretty good because I had just ordered a USB-to-SATA/IDE cable kit last week and had just arrived. So I popout the drive from the laptop, and hook it up to the USB cable converter , and … NOTHING. He’s right, it’s not mostly dead, it’s all dead!
I overnighted a new hard drive for the laptop. After it came in and I installed it, I booted up the laptop using my Acronis Bootable CD, connected my USB backup hard drive to it, ran the restore software, and 30 minutes later the computer is ready to give to the boss.
But, I learned a long time ago that if you do something quick, people will expect that same turn around for future problems. So I let that laptop run for another two hours (burn in time for the new hard drive), and then with some accurately placed drops of water on my forehead, I brought the laptop to the boss and told him it was a tough job, but the laptop was now up and running (even though the old drive is still deader than a doornail).