It started yesterday morning, my busiest day of the week (Monday).  When I walked into my office my pc screen had a message that my computer had been restarted and was sitting in ‘Safe Mode’.  The screen was frozen.  I had no choice but to perform a Shut Down.  My computer came back up (very slowly) but to my dismay would not connect to the internet.  After 3 1/2 hours on the phone with my Premium Microsoft Account support people there was only one thing left to do.  Wipe it clean and start over.

After a recent scare a few weeks ago related to the same p.c. I got out my External Hard Drive and backed up my p.c.  Once a week I refreshed my backup so that the drive was very up-to-date.  Of course Monday was shot when I hung up with Microsoft at 3:40 p.m.

This morning (Tuesday) I sat down to my computer and proceeded to restore my data and, thank heavens, it worked!  But then there was refreshing my Office 365 account and several others.  But that was a small price to pay compared to what it would have been had I lost all my data.  So, my dear Controller friends, whether you work exclusively from the same laptop for work and personal, or you have a different p.c. in your home office let me advise you why you need a reliable backup, whether it’s in the cloud or an external hard drive:

  1. Tons of travel and family photos
  2. All my spreadsheets I keep on my home P.C. related to some complex tax returns I prepare for my husband and I as well as other family members.
  3. A CPE Log I have kept for years of all the CPE classes and credits I have obtained to comply with the requiremens of my CPA license.
  4. My Client Files with their financials (I would have hated to have to ask for them again)
  5. Writings and drafts of articles and papers I have and am submitting to various websites I provide writings for.
  6. Cost basis tracking for my husband’s stocks he buys and sells.  Finally this year brokerages are required to provide cost basis but if we were audited, I would desperately need these files.
  7. Three years of Turbo Tax programs and files
  8. Downloads of various documents related to my consulting practice

As I restored from my external hard drive my stomach was in a knot.  I was terrified that even though the drive had assured me it had completed backing up, one never knows.  The absolute relief I felt as everything restored beautifully was indescribable.

Can you imagine losing all your data at work because even though you are connected to the network, there are no authorizations installed to backup your desktop’s hard drive.  Don’t think this can’t happen because it has and it does.  Your I.T. people are concerned about backing up the servers but not necesarrily any of the desktops or laptops that might be periodically hooked up to the network in a docking station.  Do not assume you are safe.  Check in with your I.T. folks.  And as far as at home, perhaps in a home office setting, please be sure you have a way to backup by making a full backup first and then updating at least weekly.  I use an external hard drive which you can buy for probably under $100 depending on how much data you have to back up.  But it is easy to use.

While I can’t prove it, my fatal issues began after a nighttime Microsoft update.  After that installed, my computer was not able to function correctly.  Since the wipe and restore, it’s working great.  Really, I’m kind of glad I restored because it was a great opportunity for some clean up and speed up on my p.c.  But it could have been a sickening disaster!




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