Failure Status: Pending – One Reason Why You Need to Backup

Software updates are time consuming but they have to be done at some point.  The most recent updates to my primary office computer include:

  • Visual Studio 2017:  Updated
  • IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate:  Updated (2017.1)

This time around things got a little more chaotic than usual considering that one of my main machines decided to take itself out of active service … permanently.

Read on to learn why you need to back up your machines.

System Crash

On Sunday 26-Mar-2017, I needed to restart one of my main machines after installing several software updates.  Unfortunately the machine failed to reboot and I attempted every course of action I thought possible to get the machine up and running.

I thought it was strange that my monitor wasn’t showing any messages during the boot process and the hard drive didn’t seem to engage either.  The whirring of the fans inside the box and a brief flash of the DVD drive light indicated that power was not a concern and at least some of the components were working.

No BIOS output and possibly no video at power up leading to an incomplete reboot are signs of more serious problems and hopefully not linked to any of the updates I just finished installing.  I’m quite confident that timing of the hardware failure was a mere coincidence.

As an interim measure, I installed the hard drive from my now defunct computer into another machine.  The machine booted from my hard drive and the software updates I performed were in tact.  It seems the mother board of my main machine decided to end it’s life.

Failure Status:  Pending

In retrospect, this failure – although still somewhat of a surprise – should’ve been expected.  A week or so earlier, I arrived at the office and found my machine was “off”.  This happens on occasion where a reboot is required to complete the installation of a software update or upgrade.

On this particular morning, more than a few attempts were required to power up the machine before it finally decided to boot.  This event was a precursor to the final hardware crash that took the life of my motherboard.  As the machine was relatively new, I didn’t expect or suspect that a failure of this magnitude could occur.

Habitual backups

As happy as I was to see that my drive was alive and well, I wasn’t worried.  This isn’t the first time I’ve been subjected to a catastrophic machine failure.  I keep regular backups of all of my work in three independent media formats:  network server, USB, and Microsoft OneDrive.  The network server also has it’s own automated backup utility for extreme system crashes.

Although creating backups can be a little tedious and requires a rigorous discipline, it’s times like this that make the extra effort worthwhile.  As for the computer, it’s covered under warranty and easily replaced.

If there was ever a single reason for regular back ups of your system this is it:

When you least expect it, your computer will fail.  Like a thief in the night, no one knows the day or the hour …

Update – the Lenovo technician arrived today 29-Mar-2017 and confirmed the mother board was defective.  A new motherboard was installed and my machine is working just like new!

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