Hard drive

Tips & Tricks: The Data Edition

Data. It's one thing you don't want to mess around with. It's as unpredictable as the weather. One minute, your hard drive indicates it's on its way to failing, but your information will still show it up... and then... BOOM, a second later, it's gone. It went from a couple hundred dollar fix to over a thousand. Just don't put yourself in that situation. We will tell you minimize your risk of this happening. 

Losing your data and needing to send it to a clean room is fairly preventable. Sometimes, your luck just completely runs out and that's the only option. (Picture this: the backup of your backup of your backup fails, and then the backup of your backup fails, and then your backup fails, and then your hard drive dies. That's pretty bad luck).

But, if you do a regular backup of your machine, and possibly even another backup of your most precious data, if your hard drive ever fails, you can just restore from your backup. How can you start backing up, you ask? Apple makes it easy with Time Machine. Here's how to set it up:

  1. Connect the external hard drive you're planning on using.
  2. Go to the Apple menu at the top left and click on System Preferences
  3. Click the Time Machine icon
  4. Click the Select Backup Disk button
  5. Choose the external hard drive from the menu to set it up. If you click Show Time Machine in menu bar, simply
  6. Go to the icon in the menu bar, and select Back Up Now
  7. Let it run its course, and voilà. You have your data backed up. (Don't forget to eject your hard drive before you unplug it)

We'll keep talking to you until we're blue in the face on the importance of backing up. We don't want to see your precious memories lost, but data is its own animal. And sometimes it's a wild animal backed up into a corner. Don't let yourself be in this situation. We always breathe a sigh of relief when we hear customers are backing up.

Do yourself a favor, come to MacExperience, and we can either sell you an external hard drive and help you set up Time Machine, or schedule a training session and we will share with you the ins and outs of how to be the safest with your data. Help us help you! 

Extending the Life of your External Hard Drive

Click … click … click ... That’s the horrible sounds of a hard drive that has failed, and you start to panic because your music, files, movies and more were all on that external drive.

Should such an unfortunate occurrence happen, you need to call The MacExperience to talk data recovery options (we also do data recovery for iPhones, digital cameras and removable media).

But what could you have done to help prolong the life of your external hard drive? Here are a few quick tips to maximize its life.

Keep Dust Out Most people know that dust is bad for electronics, but do you know why? Dust, as it turns out, is a fantastic insulator of heat, and heat will wear down your external hard drive, causing it to work harder to stay cool and aging the mechanisms at a faster rate.

Eject Properly That warning that pops up when you don’t properly eject a drive before unplugging it from your MacBook … that isn’t a joke. Every time you don’t properly eject a drive, be it an external hard drive or your camera’s SD card or whatever, you run the risk of losing the files on that drive because the card needs to be prepared to shut down. Sometimes it feels like it’s taking too long, but trust us, when it’s ready to be ejected, it will let you know.

Don’t Unnecessarily Turn Off Your Hard Drive Most external hard drives made today will run in a “spin down” mode when not in use, meaning that the drive will remain on but the disk will slow or stop. So turning off your hard drive to reduce wear and tear isn’t a complete necessity.

We mentioned before that too much heat is bad for electronics, which is true, but so is repeated heating and cooling (the kind that happens when you turn on and off constantly). So a good practice is to turn on your external hard drives when your computer is on and turn them off when your computer is off. Since most people leave their computers on for days at a time, this should be a good way to keep your hard drives running.

Think Outside The Box Then again, there’s always the cloud. If you’re very worried about your data, consider an online backup system for your files. It’s a monthly cost, but it’s a safe way to protect your important information.

Have more questions? Stop in to one of our MacExperience locations and talk to one of our certified Apple specialists.