PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE backup your important stuff.
You know the feeling. When you go to look for something on your computer, and you cannot find it. In fact, it seems like all kinds of stuff is missing. HUUUUUUHHHHH???????
A couple days ago I was helping a customer fix some settings which required the removal and re-installation of the software. After explaining the potential for any data loss, they confirmed that there was nothing there that could be lost. Well, it didn't go like that.
After reinstalling, and the initial problem resolved, they began to look for their old files. But none of them were there. In fact, the service that was supposed to be keeping everything was not doing so, and what once was thousands of files became only a handful. They panicked. They started stressing, worrying about what they would do. This was a business and all their work files for many years were now missing. But, thankfully, they weren't missing, they just hadn't been imported yet. The removal of the software did not touch any files, and a few minutes later everything was back as it was.
I was confused. The service they were confident in wasn't working (and it was not cloud or another type of backup), and after explaining to them that the ONLY copy that existed in the universe was here, vulnerable to user error, disaster, viruses, forgetfulness, and more, I proposed cloud backup.
We offer cloud backup starting at $10/month per TB that gets monitored, tracked, tested, and more. Other companies offer similar or cheaper plans that do not include testing.
Side note: A BACKUP IS BROKEN UNLESS IT IS SUCCESSFULLY TESTED!!!!!!!!!!! YOU DO NOT HAVE A BACKUP UNTIL YOU TEST AND CONFIRM YOU HAVE A BACKUP!!!!!!!! Please test your backups.
Okay, that's out of the way. The point is, it's cheap to back your stuff up. It's cheap insurance, and when we regularly do data recovery for $2000 or more (which buys over 11 YEARS of backup) you can understand our frustration with the answers we get.
And you will never guess what they said........
ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????????????? YOU JUST HAD A PANIC ATTACK OVER MISSING FILES!!!!!!!!!!! SERIOUS?????? LIKE, FOR REAL???????????? YOUR COFFEE COSTS MORE!!!!!! AND THAT'S EVERY MORNING!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU SPEND MORE ON A MCDONALS MEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!! (this was all internal, none of this made it to the customer's ear)
I really enjoy doing data recovery. It's amazing to see the relief people experience when we are able to give them their data back. But I would love nothing more than to NEVER recover a hard drive again, and only ever help people restore backups.
This time was okay. The data was still there. But we get many calls from people asking about this or that, viruses, computer stolen, fire, etc, and it's disheartening how many people have to accept the fact that their family photos, tax documents, children's school assignments, and more are gone. And it's aggravating when businesses tank because of lack of backups.
Another side note: Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox, etc. are NOT BACKUPS. They are a storage medium just like a thumb drive, hard drive, CD, etc. Yes, they are much safer than physical devices, but they are still vulnerable to many of the most likely problems like user error.