What is ALL your data worth?

Bu1  Bu2

Hey folks...

Did you know there are only two kinds of people? 

Those that BACKUP!... and those who have not yet lost data!

So yesterday (Nov. 10th, 2008) about 3:33:07pm the hard drive in my MacBook Air started making noises that kind of sounded like a fly caught between a window and the window screen. Kind of a random pattern of high pitched buzzing and scraping (imagine the fly with sandpaper for wings) followed by a second or two of quiet... then repeat. This was obviously followed by the Mac nemesis lovingly referred to as the spinning beach ball.

I powered down the computer hoping to reboot. This would be the last I would see of my desktop... OR ANY OF THE YEARS OF DATA on my notebook. The hard drive had died. Massive coronary with no prior symptoms and even the doctors on a TV drama series were not going to be able to revive it.

Now for the good news. 

I am running Leopard on my Mac and I have TIME MACHINE running. So I calmly grabbed an extra iMac here at the office and booted from my Leopard cd... plugged in my external Time Machine backup drive... and chose restore from backup from the CD menu. It found a full backup from around 10:00am that morning. I hit restore and went home (said it would take about 6 hrs to restore everything). 

I don't know how long it took, but EVERYTHING is back this morning and my notebook is being repaired and I will have a new BLANK hard drive at the end of the week. When I say everything, I mean everything on my computer. I have 145 applications and almost 60 utilities installed, I have almost 2,000 people in my address book, I have 20+ calendars in iCal, YEARS worth of saved email, about 5000 photos, accounting and billing software and data, almost $5,000 and a myriad of saved settings and passwords for wireless networks, web sites etc.... just to mention a few!

It is not an understatement to say that you don't know what you have till it is gone. Because I knew I run time machine (and I check it every day to make sure it is working), my only stress was finding an "extra" computer to use while mine was "in the shop". I can't imagine what I would be doing now if I did not have a backup like this. There would be no choice. I would start over? I would be frustrated for months and months as each day something new would come up and I would realize I needed to reinstall software, or that I no longer had that file, or that I had no idea what my password was to that web site.

So to answer my own question... What is my DATA worth? It is priceless! Literally. 

It is my business and it is my personal photos of my family and travels. It is my connection to my bank and the web. It is a history and and archive. It is my memories. Not just the photos, but the hundreds of bookmarks and pointers to information that I don't have to keep in my head.

But I know you. You are a realist, right? You want hard and fast numbers not theory and sentimentalism. So here is your answer.

The cost of that security for me was as follows...

1.  Leopard (if you don't already own it) = $129.00 plus tax
2. External hard drive for backup = $149.95 plus tax
(must be at least as big as your computer hard drive... I recommend 1.5x or 2x in size from your internal and recommend you use a desktop drive w/ it's own power source) 
Note... desktop drives start at $109... here is a link to drives Apple sells
3. ONE mouse click to answer YES when Leopard ask you if you want to use this drive for as your Time Machine backup!