In the ongoing world of computer disasters, there is one major action that many forget to do.
It’s rather simple, takes a little time, and prevents the cost of having to buy this AGAIN from the manufacturer.
Yup, the simple action of buying a few DVDs or a couple of USB sticks and running the program to create them is neglected far too often.
How do I know?
Last week a friend of mine called from Idaho and was quite upset that his hard drive had bitten the dust. It was running Windows 8.
I asked him if he had made the backup disks and he gave me that tone of voice…he had not.
I checked the serial number in with the HP site for recovery media and before shipping and tax, the set would be $45.00.
Acer wants about $19.99 for theirs. Other manufacturers have different prices.
When I get a laptop or desktop in and the hard drive has gone bad (that’s a new special, “When Hard Drives Go Bad” and will air shortly…stary tuned), I ask the client for all of the disks that came with the machine.
“It didn’t come with any disks.”
That’s when my heart starts beating fast, my palms get sweaty and I have to tell the client that they will be paying for the recovery disks and that can take almost a week to get to me just so I can put the new hard drive in and restore the operating system. Of course, they need the computer back yesterday….
So why am I harping on another topic that bores most people to tears?
The newest computers, starting with Dells and Windows 7, have the serial number embedded into the BIOS. The BIOS controls everything at boot up, communicating with the motherboard, the main chip, and checks it prior to the operating system even loading.
Ever hear a bunch of beeps on the older computers?
That indicated that something was wrong at boot up that would prevent the computer from even working.
In the old days, we got a computer and the license key was printed on a label on the side or bottom of the computer. Reinstallation was a breeze – install the new hard drive, use an operating system that matched the license number, and VOILA, you had an up and running system. Some were longer VOILAS than others…ever reload Windows 95?
The number of counterfeit stickers that were also put on the sides of computers and the bottoms of laptops also was a major issue for Microsoft and many of the computer manufacturers. Customers would turn a computer on and of course it would not activate with the Microsoft servers. The license was a fake.
In order to counteract this and exert tighter control over the counterfeits and rip-offs, Microsoft and computer manufacturers started embedding the license number of that specific unit into it’s own BIOS. The operating system is married to that BIOS.
What does that mean in English Scott?
In the past I could use a Windows DVD/CD to reinstall the operating system onto a NEW hard drive. Enter the license number at the appropriate screen, get the system online, activate with Microsoft, install the rest of the software and put the data back on.
Today, I have to have the operating system that was encoded by the manufacturer for that specific machine.
Dell started this trend during Windows 7. I could no longer just put the license code from the computer into the license key dialog box during installation. There is no license key on the computer!! I looked under the battery, in the RAM compartment and then realized what the new trend was.
I had to have the DELL SPECIFIC disks for the operating system or it would never activate correctly and over time, provide countless numbers of client-scaring warnings about counterfeit software being installed.
So, today, every single windows-based computer has a routine that must be done as soon as the machine is setup.
There will be a nag screen for some manufacturers and nothing for others – Make The Backup Recovery Disk Set or worthing to that effect.
Do not ignore this!!
This process can take a little while if you are using DVDs, IF the computer even came with a DVD drive as most are eliminating those as well; and somewhat faster with the USB flash drives.
If you are buying a new computer, buy a couple of the 16GB USB flash drives as well at the same time.
Once you finish setting it up on your desk, look for the programs the manufacturer installed that allows you to make a recovery set onto the USB flash drive. Take that flash drive (or the DVDs) and store it/them in an envelope with the date that it was made and labelling it as the recovery USB drive. SEAL THE ENVELOPE and put it in a safe spot so that no one can overwrite it.
Some manufacturers only allow you to make ONE copy and that’s it. You are paying for the recovery disks if you don’t have them.
Keep in mind that this recovery set is NOT a backup solution for your data. This is only creating a recovery set for the reinstallation of the operating system and programs that came with the computer when you bought it.
If you have not done this yet, please do it immediately. No kidding.
I am always available if you want or need the help in creating these for your computer. Scott (760) 550-9496