We’ve all got one, that nerdy friend who can help you with any technology issue you can dream of. From a computer virus to your car stereo this guys seems to know it all. For oh so many people I am him. So, as that guy, let me tell you something honest, I DO NOT KNOW EVERYTHING!! Sometimes I can mess around, do a couple quick and nerdy Google searches and help you find the answer to your problems. Sometimes, I really do know, after all, technology is what I do, in general terms.
If you went to a pediatrician and asked him to take a look at your mole and he told you “I’m sorry, you’ve got cancer” you’d get a second opinion right?
So, when your nerdy friend tells you there’s nothing you can do and you’ve lost your files on your computer forever. Or that he wants to format your hard drive and re-install Windows because there isn’t anything you can do to remove that virus. Please stop, take a deep breath, don’t let your initial reaction get the better of you and go ask somebody else. I know we’re all loathe to spend money, but sometimes, even I have to call somebody else for help.
I’ll tell you a very quick story, to make my point. This very morning I get a frantic call from a consulting client. One of his employees called him in the middle of the night livid. See that employees personal laptop had been joined to the business domain at the employees request. This created a NEW user account by the same name on the laptop so all the stuff in Documents and on the desktop was “gone” (not really gone, just in another profile, but she didn’t know this). “My sensitive stuff is in there, I don’t have a backup, my most important personal info that I can’t live without is all gone!!.”
(side note: If you don’t have a backup service, as cheap as they are today, I have really little sympathy for you, it’s kind of like not having car insurance)
Here’s the best part, her; and I quote; “Lawyer, computer engineer friend” (HUGE RED FLAG: THERE ARE LIKE TWO PEOPLE ON EARTH WHO HAVE EARNED THE RIGHT TO BE CALLED BOTH LAWYER AND COMPUTER ENGINEER AND NEITHER OF THEM LIVES IN ESCONDIDO, CA) had told her that all her old information was wiped out. Why? Because he right clicked the profile folder for the old profile went to properties and the size said 0.
Can anyone take a guess as to why it said zero? Yes, you in the back with the Hack The Planet shirt on? THAT’S RIGHT!! The new account isn’t an administrator of the laptop so it can’t see the size of folders belonging to admins. That’s just Windows doing what it’s supposed to do, keep your stuff SECURE.
Three minute fix guys, no need for tears or the freak-out. I don’t mean to make light of what was obviously a very scary situation. I just want you to know that you don’t have to accept everything the next smartest guy tells you. No matter how smart he looks with that pocket protector. Even if it’s me, I promise, I’m not always right. And to be honest, I will rarely say that I’m absolutely right. I’ll admit that maybe there is another solution if I can’t find one, and take it a step further and try to help you find the person that can offer support.
But please, go get a backup service. $59 a month for Carbonite. FREE to backup 2GB worth of stuff with DropBox. Google Drive will give you 5GB for free. You’ve got options. Nothing critical should live on any one hard drive. Thanks, I’ll get off my soap box now.