Archive for December, 2010

True Cost of Backup and Data Recovery

A few weeks after writing the blog post “backup options“, I ran into a situation where the operating system had to be re-installed on a laptop.

First, a little background about this unit and user. The MacBook Pro was installed with the Leopard operating system. This system was then given to a new employee in the summer of 2010. He was told he would be responsible for his backups because of his travel schedule. For those of you not familiar with the Apple world, Leopard has a built-in backup solution called Time Machine. To back up your system using Leopard, plug a USB drive in and follow the on-screen prompts.

Can you guess what happened next? The laptop was returned because the unit will not boot into the operating system. I spent several hours (6) trying different tools and utilities to retrieve the data off the hard because the unit had never been backed up. Unfortunately, the operating system had to be reinstalled resulting in the loss of 6 months’ worth of data.

Below is the cost breakdown of fixing the laptop.

For this example, I am will assume $80/hour for in IT Professional (this will vary).

  • 6 hours trying to recover data on the hard drive = $480
  • 2 hours manually re-installing the operating system and running updates = $160
  • 2-3 hours manually installing applications= $160-$240
  • Loss of 6 months’ worth of data including email and custom film clips = Insert the value your data is work to you.

Data Recovery = $40 for a simple application to $1000+ depending on the hard drive damage.

I had already spent several hours, and we felt it was not worth the additional time and expense. This would have also meant the user would continue to be without his laptop.

As you can see, it would have cost almost $800 (if I had billed $80/hour) just to get the system back to the same state as it was given to him 6 months ago. If we had decided to attempt a recovery, there would have been additional costs for time and recovery.

The cost of backing up:

  • 1 2 TB USB hard drive = $200


  • Offline Backup (Carbonite) = $60/year
  • 2 hours to restore of the operating system and data from the backup = Free, unless you pay for this be done for you.

If the user had backed up using the Time Machine, (this is part of the operating system and does not cost anything), the only cost would have been for the external USB hard drive. For less than $200 dollars, the operating system, applications, and data could have been restored with minimal time and effort.

Which is more crucial to you and your company? Saving a couple of hundred dollars thinking “it will never happen to me” or ensuring that if this DOES happen you are prepared and have a backup of your data.

Categories: Uncategorized

Fixing Corrupted File Systems

You do “Learn something new every day!” After fifteen+ years in IT, I assumed I knew just about every Windows™ utility. I had never heard of the System File Checker (SFC) utility until yesterday. This command line utility can fix corrupted file systems on XP, Vista and Windows 7.

This all started a few weeks ago when my husband started having issues with his Windows 7 HP laptop. The system was slow to start or “wake up” and the hard drive would spin endlessly. He finally had some free time to fix it yesterday. After much searching help, he came across this article, which explains how to use the command sfc/scannow. After running this utility his hard disk is now working properly.

System File Checker will check protected system files and if a file has been overwritten, the utility will replace the corrupted file with a non-corrupted file.

To use this command go to the Run Box from the Start button and enter sfc/scannow. This will start scanning the protected system files and replace any corrupted files. You must have administrative privilege to run this command.

To learn more about this utility and the additional parameters, go to or contact your IT support person.

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