So your computer is dying a slow death and you have scads of important documents. Unfortunately the operating system doesn’t start properly anymore and you can’t access them. This article will go over ways to retrieve what you’re looking for, and even better, to make sure documents are backed up before disaster strikes.

So you want to back up those important files – your resume, tax records, anything you may need down the road. You have a few options. First I suggest storing copies on multiple devices. Buy a flash drive and copy essential files there. Keep that flash drive under lock and key so if your hard drive or computer fails you have a backup. Your next option is Google Drive. If you have an e-mail address with Google then you already should have Google Drive. Rather than save all your important documents in the default documents folder, install the Google Drive application for your computer and save your documents in the Google Drive folder. They’ll remain there even if your hard drive fails. From any computer you can retrieve your files. I won’t get into the details here but at least in Windows you can redirect your default Documents save location to Google Drive. For more information on how to do that take a look at: Keep in mind that Google gives each account a default 30 gigabytes of space. Should you get close to exceeding the space for a nominal cost you can increase the storage space you have available.

What if your operating system has failed or your computer no longer works properly? Assuming your hard drive is still readable, the files can still be retrieved via a few options. The first and most cost efficient option is to purchase a hard drive adapter that allows you to hook it up to another computer via USB. You can find them online or locally here in Baltimore at Microcenter: If you aren’t “tech savvy” I suggest asking someone for help removing the hard drive from your computer and hooking it up to another computer to retrieve the necessary files. This will prevent any accidental damage to the hard drive. Another option if you would like to continue using the hard drive from your old computer for storage is to get an external hard drive enclosure. If for some reason your hard drive has failed and is unreadable, as a last resort I would suggest data recovery services if the information you are trying to retrieve is information you can’t do without. Data recovery services are pricey and there is no guarantee that you will be able to retrieve the required data.

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