You've often heard the horror
stories, perhaps from some from your friends about losing your
computer to some nasty new virus or something really important was
This is far from just being a
pain. Ask anyone that has ever gone through a computer crash
because someone changed something they should not have.
Reloading the operating system sounds like it's not a big deal, and
for the most part, it isn't. A few days at the computer store
along with a check for $100 will also get the task done for you.
The problem comes when you realize
that you don't have an up to date back up of your files, that you
bought a vital program but can no longer find the disc, or even that
you have email or email addresses on there that you won't be able to
get back again.
Even if all that is there, it can
still take even days to import all the backups and get that thing
working like it was before. Forget about it if you picked up a
new nasty virus before the virus software is updated.
I cannot tell you how many times I
have rescued my disk from some poorly written program, many times
the kids have messed the thing up by deleting things that they
didn't know anything about, lost something important to a mistaken
Despite all that, in the past 10
years, I have still had to reload my operating system (OS) several
times. A few times, it was essential. Other times I had
the opportunity to save my data, but the system was operating so
poorly that a clean start was my only real option.
Other times, I wasn't at risk of
losing the OS but I ended up deleting or changing files that I wish
I had not. The funny thing is that whether it is a lost file
or your entire OS has messed up, in most instances, you know what
you have done in seconds or minutes. I've had it happen before
I even got my finger off the delete key. Oh to be able to go
back in time.
The saving grace
Several years ago, I heard about a
new type of program that takes the worry out of those minor or major
disasters. In essence, it makes multiple copies of your hard
drive just the way it was at various moments in time and allows you
to go back to that point... in essence, a time machine for your
computer. Regardless of whose product you use, I highly
recommend the rather modest investment whether you are an expert or
I've tried several programs. They
all work about the same but having tried several, I seemed to find
the most satisfaction from a product called GoBack,
made by a company called Roxio.
Recently, Roxio announced that
they are selling GoBack to Symantec, the makers of Norton
Antivirus and other Norton products. That should say enough
about the product alone.
You may have seen Roxio products
before as they are probably best known for their CD and DVD creator
software. I'd used that before and found it to be the most
foolproof so investing $30 in GoBack and risking my computer on it
was not a concern.
In essence, this kind of software
makes a digital picture of your entire hard drive and updates it
every few minutes or so. Microsoft claims that they do the
same thing now through Windows, ever since ME. But don't
bother. The Windows system is almost useless and I have seen
it cause as many problems as it fixes.
GoBack operates outside of Windows
and launches before Windows does. Therefore, even if you lose
your OS completely, GoBack still works.
Time machine software such as
GoBack lets you go back in time minutes, hours, even days or
more. Multiple options give you quite a bit of flexibility and
help you to NOT lose tons of data. Conversely, Windows time
machine gives few options and if your problem happens late in the
day, you can lose quite a bit.
I've used the Windows system a
couple of times, both times taking hours to do the backup and one
time, the problems that it caused made me wish I had never done
it. GoBack has never taken any more than a few minutes and one
of the great features is that you can go back to a point in time and
if it isn't far enough, you can go back even further. You can
even go back, get something you lost and transfer it to another
disc, and then go back to where you started... in effect going
forward in time.
For those of you that have changed
a file and accidentally saved it thereby overwriting a previous
version, GoBack allows you to right-click on that file and go back
to an earlier version.
Time machine software is definitely
worth the few bucks. You may find other products that work
similarly and there will probably be improvements as time goes
on. But do yourself a very big favor and get it installed
before you lose your data and your temper.
Neither SeniorMag nor its writers are affiliated with any company
mentioned herein, nor are there any financial considerations
provided. Product recommendations are based on personal
experience and opinions are provided for educational and
informational purposes only. SeniorMag does not warrant any
product of any manufacturer and makes no claims. You should
investigate any product and determine its suitability for your own