After a particularly stressful few weeks of unexpected work travel, my hard drive decided to put the icing on the cake by dying. There was no warning or indication that something was amiss. I put my computer to sleep after finishing up notes from a 9pm conference call and went to bed. The next morning, I opened my computer and went to start 'er up like I've done hundreds of times before and I got a "Boot Error" and the BIOS Utility opened. I have no idea what any of that means so I did what any normal person would do - I texted a picture of the screen to my Brother-In-Law. He said it might be due to a corrupt file or any number of things and suggested taking it to a pro (especially since this is my work computer).
I made an appointment with GeekSquad and upon initial review, he said the computer wasn't even recognizing that it had a hard drive. I asked if there was some sort of Craigslist Missed Connections option to reintroduce my computer to its hard drive (there wasn't). My new pal at Geek Squad walked me through some options, all of which included getting a brand new hard drive.
As a result of this process, I've got some tips for you on what to do ahead of time in case you ever find yourself in my shoes, as well as tips for what to do once your hard drive is replaced and you're staring at a clean slate. Here they are!
1. Back up your files (and do so frequently!). This one's pretty obvious, and thanks to the Cloud, this is achieved pretty easily. All of my documents are saved on Dropbox or Google Drive, and I've also got everything backed up to an external hard drive. I'm a little anal, so I've also got a second external hard drive that I keep in my fireproof lockbox along with other vital documents. I highly recommend you invest in an external hard drive if you don't already have one! You can usually hook them up to your wireless router and then they work like the Cloud - you can sync files over your wifi connection. Also, don't make a habit of saving files locally to your desktop. While I know I didn't lose anything critical, it is driving me insane knowing I had files on my desktop but not knowing what they were.
2. Keep a list of all your installed programs and any license keys. You should keep this list on the Cloud, or your phone, or somewhere besides your computer. This will save you the frustration of trying to remember if you reinstalled everything correctly and digging through emails to find license keys for any paid accounts you may have.
3. Sync your browser. If you're a Chrome user, did you know you can sync your browser settings, extensions, and bookmarks to your Google Account? This saves you a LOT of time and keeps all your favorites/links organized just how you had them before.
4. GeekSquad (or something similar) can be a lifesaver. As I mentioned, this incident occurred on my work computer, and we had purchased a GeekSquad protection plan when the computer was purchased. This saved me several hundred dollars as the hew hard drive and installation fees were all covered under the plan.
Bonus: Get yourself a sweet new desktop background to make it feel less sterile. My favorites are from The Everygirl and they roll out new ones every month!
Have you ever had to replace your hard drive? Do you have any tips for surviving this process with ease? Comment below!