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When your hard drive crashes, now what?

Backing up all of the files on your computer doesn't necessarily mean that you'll have an easy time of restoring everything. If you haven't made an image backup of your hard drive, you'll still have to reinstall the operating system (Windows or Mac OS), and then reinstall each application previously installed on your computer. You'll need the original installation disks for the operating system, plus all of the installation disks (or the downloaded install files) for the applications installed on your computer. And then you'll need to configure each application so that they work as before.

If your hard drive stops working and is unrecoverable, the work to rebuild your computer (reinstalling and reconfiguring everything) is much the same work required if you were to move to a new computer. But the big difference is that you don't have the old computer available for reference. So, in order to make the task of recovering after a hard drive failure, take a little time now to document what's on your computer. A simple solution is to keep a list of the applications installed on your computer, such as: Name of Application, Date of Installation, and Installed From (disc or download). Keep the list up to date and print it out or maintain your list on a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive. Did you buy any software online? It would be good to keep track of those purchases in order to re-download the software.

Read about Using Dropbox