I have written about computer lifecycles, external backup drives and online backup systems, destroying old hard drives for home and office users, creating restore disks for disaster recovery and a few other topics of interest; well I think it’s interesting…
Sometimes I get asked why a computer failed and have to do data recovery on the hard drive for the client.
It’s pretty heartbreaking to see a total loss of data on a drive or system and have to refer the data recovery to a more specialized service. Those are expensive.
It’s a tough question to answer as moving parts can wear out, heat can damage components, and a virus can wipe out the drive in seconds.
For the most part, many of my clients have me in for a regular checkup of their computers – anywhere from 1-12 times a year.
Depending on the usage of the computer, such as an office/business where the systems are mission critical and a crashed computer could lead to a loss of business income to a home user who uses it mostly for communication, regular checkups can help determine the state of the computer and help in disaster prevention.
What do I mean by that?
Well, when I do a preventive maintenance checkup, I look for system errors, hard drive status, I check how well the system is running – including browsers – and the most overlooked issue: dust.
No matter where you have your computers in the desert, there will be dust.
Dust can become conductive and destroy motherboards, add in cards and other components.
In the Windows XP days, a client called reporting that a computer in the office smelled like it was burning and smoke was coming out of the box.
Uh-oh…Spaghettio…that’s NOT a good sign…
The client shut the machine down quickly but it was too late. The damage to the video card and the motherboard was done and the system was toast. There were burn marks on the motherboard from the small fire. I have to find those pics one day.
During my forensics – getting the data off of the hard drive and loading it onto the new computer, I noticed the huge buildup of dust in the case.
The dust had gotten so bad that it had become conductive, forming an electrical pathway from the motherboard to the video card and ignited.
Could this have been prevented? YES.
Laptops have even smaller ports for the fans and they can become clogged, increasing the heat in the already small space of the laptop. Although most of the newer laptops have less moving parts – the internal storage is trending towards SSDs – the older ones and some of the more budget friendly choices still have a hard drive that spins.
The heat buildup will shorten the life of the machine. Hard drives fail when they are operated at a higher temperature than what it’s normal range is.
Somewhere I have a pic of a desktop that was literally FILLED with dust. Even I was shocked to see that much accumulation!
Business clients with larger installations of workstations usually have me in at least once a quarter depending on the number of computers and the amount of usage. If there are slow days or days when some of the staff might be out, we schedule the physical cleanup as this involves shutting down workstations, disconnecting them and then blowing out the the dust – it’s a bit time consuming, but worth it for ensuring that the workstations stay up and running!
What do regular checkups do for disaster avoidance? The simple answer: help diminish the loss if one occurs.
When I come to your home or office for a service call, one thing I check for the is presence of a backup routine…are they running? When was the last backup? I also check for potential hardware failure – especially hard drives. If I see that the health of drive is starting to go down, it’s time for that discussion of replacing the drive or the entire computer, depending on the age of the system.
I will suggest backup routines if they are not present – it’s saves thousands when it comes to data recovery or a virus infection.
I also check the status of the antivirus program, the state of the updates and for any of the malware that can be acquired in regular usage. Remember my posts about those “toolbars”?
Browsers are checked for the latest updates, and I can install programs to block ads that can infect computers in a click and I also check them for any redirection malware.
If a client requests, I can also check the status and firmware for routers to ensure that the latest patches are applied.
I strongly recommend that clients have their computers, routers and other devices checked out regularly. Home users with light usage of their laptops or desktops can schedule one to four appointments annually for a regular checkup. During the checkup, many factors are looked at for the health of the computer as I mentioned above. I also like to ensure that your system is being backed up to at minimum a local external hard drive that is replaced annually and a cloud backup – I personally use iDrive and can set that up during the visit.
I can’t prevent a hardware failure. I would be more than human if I could.
BUT, with regular checkups, total disasters can be mitigated.
Are you ready for your computer’s checkup? I can handle that for you!!
Give me a call as the season has started and my schedule gets booked up pretty fast! (760) 550-9496 – Scott