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Our head of IT at Kelby Media Group is a guy named Paul Wilder. He’s one of those guys who has that whole “super-giant uber brain” thing going on, but besides his immense IT skills, he’s really a terrific guy all around (We love Paul!). In fact, he’s so great that he allowed me to share a personal story and while it might be a bit embarrassing for an IT guy like Paul, he felt it was more important to share the story to help other folks avoid a similar nightmare.

Paul’s constantly hounding us all the time to make sure our computers are backed up, and he’s got all sorts of sophisticated back-up systems in place at our headquarters for our servers and such, but like the plumber whose own pipes are leaky, he didn’t have a backup for his home computer. You know what’s coming next, right? Just recently it crashed, and I mean it crashed big time! Over the years, I’ve seen Paul pull some severly crashed drives back from the grave that I would have bet money were gone for good, so the fact that Paul couldn’t repair his drive lets you know the depth of how far south this puppy had gone. It gets worse.

Paul had some absolutely critical data on that drive that could not be replaced, so he was forced to resort to every IT guy’s most dreaded act of desperation—he sent his drive to DriveSavers to see if they could bring it back to life. DriveSavers is known worldwide as the people you call when all else fails, but the reason this is an IT guy’s last resort is that DriveSavers charges a bundle. How big a bundle? $2,500! Now, you might wonder how can they get away with charging $2,500? It’s because they can. And, that’s because they are about the only people on earth who can recover the unrecoverable, and by gosh—they were able to recover his entire drive—-all it’s contents, and Paul says, “It was absolutely worth it.”

Now, if you’re thinking to yourself, “There’s no way I would pay $2,500,” that just means you can’t think of anything worth $2,500 to you on your computer. To Paul, what he lost was worth more to him, and although it was painful to pay $2,500, it would have been more painful not to. Luckily for Paul, he could afford it, but I know a woman who within the last month had her laptop die, and nobody locally could recover it. She had hundreds of absolutely irreplaceable photos on that drive, including the only photos of her grandmother’s funeral, and she was incredibly distraught, but sadly she didn’t have the $2,500 to get it restored, so those photos are simply gone forever.

It’s for stories like those, and thousands more that happen every day, when you least expect it, to regular people just like you and me, is exactly why I made today “Back Up Your Hard Drive” Friday. Stop reading this blog, take a couple of minutes, hook up an external hard drive, and back your stuff up (at the very least, back your photo folder up).

Thanks to Paul Wilder, for being willing to share his story (and please don’t post any of those “He’s an IT guy; he should have known better…” comments—-believe me. He knows.).

Another good thing that came out of this whole experience is that Larry Becker (NAPP’s Execuctive Director) was able to get DriveSavers to offer NAPP members a special discount if they ever have to use their services (and the discount alone is will save them more than double their yearly NAPP membership). Lets just hope you never have to use it (To make sure you don’t—go back up right now!).