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Archive for the ‘Time Machine’ tag

Start off 2018 with a new Time Machine backup system!

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The New Year is a great time to start fresh with a good backup system. Do yourself a favor and resolve to get a system to protect your data (and your family’s) installed as soon as possible. There are lots of options, and most are very inexpensive ($99.). Ask your MacMedics Engineer or Service Coordinator for help. We’ll be happy to help install a system that’s right for you.

Hard drives can fail at any time or any age, so it’s critical always to have a back up of your data. Our message must be getting out there because we see more and more clients who are in the planning stage of a backup system lose their data the day before they hooked the new back up system up. As ironic as that sounds, it happens all the time. People just put it off too long, and the risk catches up with them. With larger capacity hard drives available from Apple, that risk only increases the amount of data stored in one place. An automatic and reliable back up system should be put in place BEFORE you start generating data.

Another situation we commonly see is where a backup has been made, and the primary drive then gets erased (on purpose) in preparation for a move to a new computer or some other reason. It’s very, very important that when you make a back up with a plan to only have that data on solely the backup drive for a time, that you test to ensure your data is there. If the backup is bootable, then try booting off it to test. If it’s a Time Machine back up, then do some sample restores from a couple of different days. The rule here is if you’re going to be moving your data, it’s imperative that to check to see that data is valid before you erase your old data.

P.S. Don’t forget to backup your iPhone to iCloud or you Mac!

Written by Dana Stibolt

January 1st, 2018 at 11:11 am

A Time Machine Backup Hard Drive Makes a Great Mother’s Day Gift

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Happy Mother’s Day! Do you know what makes a great Mother’s Day gift? A Time Machine backup hard drive! If you’re the keeper of the photos, you must have them backed up at all times. The older the computer, the greater the risk of hard drive failure, but ANY hard drive (including Solid State hard drives) can and do fail no matter if they are new OR old. Plus, if you (or your mom) is a laptop user, you also need to consider laptop loss, theft, and damage.

We’ve seen moms AND dads who have experienced a hard drive failure. It’s not a good situation to be in, especially when the photos of their kids are in jeopardy or lost forever. Even if MacMedics can recover the data or it has to be sent out for “clean room” data recovery, there’s the added stress of that, plus the added expense.

A common misconception is that Time Machine requires Apple hardware like a Time Capsule. It does not. All Time Machine needs is an external hard drive that is Macintosh formatted. You might already have a Mac formatted hard drive with data on it. If you do the Time Machine backup file will co-exist with your data as long as there is enough free space. If you don’t have a drive already, MacMedics carries a nice 1TB 2.5″ portable unit with a 2-year warranty for $99.

Written by Dana Stibolt

May 14th, 2017 at 10:05 am

Step 1: Get Time Machine Working; Step 2: Monitor Time Machine Backup; Step 3: Replace Time Machine Backup After 3 Years of Use

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Replace your Time Machine hard drive after 3-years of loyal service to prevent data loss!

Apple’s Time Machine is the most powerful feature built into the OS X operating system. You can buy almost any hard drive, plug it in, and Time Machine practically configures itself. It’s pretty much set it and forget it. While that is true for the most part, you do need to keep an eye on it.

Ensure Time Machine is running. If there is an issue, or if it’s running slowly, that could be a precursor to an issue with your Mac’s hard drive, your Time Machine hard drive, or perhaps BOTH!

Hard drives don’t last forever, and your Time Machine hard drive is no exception! When you buy a new Time Machine hard drive or a Time Capsule, you should write the purchase date on a piece of masking tape and stick it to the front of the hard drive. After 3 years of loyal use (in most cases), then it’s time to retire that backup and add a new one. Hey, this is your chance to EXPAND your backup plan by reusing that aging hard drive as an off-site back up!

When a hard drive starts to fail, it can make both your main hard drive and your backup hard drive work harder to keep up. If you leave a situation like this going for too long, you can end up with more than one sick hard drive and put your valuable data at risk.

Written by Dana Stibolt

May 20th, 2014 at 9:10 am

iMac 1TB Seagate Hard Drive Replacement Program

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Update 3/8/14: MacMedics now charges $399 for our famous Data Recovery One service. However, we do now include a free 500GB USB hard drive to return your data to (if you send or bring us a bare hard drive), or it can be used as your future Time Machine backup hard drive so you NEVER have to go through the data recovery process again. See our website for more info:

Update 6/5/13: A portion of this program has ended, but if you iMac is less than three-years old, you are still eligible for this free replacement program. Use the serial number checker listed below and if you’re eligible, MacMedics can replace the hard drive for free!

Apple has determined that certain Seagate 1TB hard drives used in 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac systems may fail. These systems were sold between October 2009 and July 2011.

MacMedics, an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) will replace affected hard drives free of charge. Please check your iMac’s serial number to see if you qualify.

If you need your data transferred from your old hard drive to the new one, we will perform that for only $99.

Also, if your iMac does NOT have a Time Machine back up, you can buy a new Time Machine drive from us, and we’ll go ahead and run a backup for you for $40. That way, your data will be entirely backed up BEFORE we do anything with your iMac’s old hard drive that will need to be sent back to Apple.

If your iMac’s Seagate hard drive has “failed” and you also are eligible for this Apple Service program, MacMedics can put your failing hard drive into our Data Recovery program for $399. You can opt to have that recovered and repaired data dropped into a folder on your new hard drive at not extra charge. You can also have us “migrate” the recovered and repaired data back onto your new hard drive for an additional $99.

Contact your local MacMedics office if you have questions or concerns.

Subscribe To The MacMedics Email Newsletter – Get Our Time Machine White Paper FREE!

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Update 7/20/11: Don’t miss the MacMedics newsletter that will be out tomorrow morning with info about Apple’s new version of OS X, Lion. Subscribe now and get our free Time Machine White Paper, plus our last issue free. Don’t like what you see drop off anytime!

If you’d also like to hear about the solutions and the detailed information regarding what you read about on the @MacMedics Twitter account, as well as important information and specials only for MacMedics clients, I would like to invite you to subscribe to the MacMedics email newsletter as well.

Are you working with a different Mac consultant or IT service firm? It does not hurt to have a backup plan! Keep tabs on MacMedics and what we are saying to our clients, and maybe we can help you in the future.

If you’re currently working with a different Macintosh service provider, reseller, or consultant, please consider keeping tabs on MacMedics via our newsletter. We would love to earn your future Macintosh business, and we’ll like to remind you that we’re here for you if you need us. You DO NOT have to be a MacMedics client in order to pick up the phone and get immediate Apple Authorized Service and Sales, as well as general Mac help or advice. We would be pleased to give you an idea of how we work and how passionate we are about supporting our MacMedics clients and the Apple platform.

We know subscribing to yet another email newsletter is a big commitment, but we promise not to email you too often. We use a professional email newsletter management service, which gives you the ability to opt-out at anytime. If it’s too much for you, or you just don’t think it’s right for you, just hit that “unsubscribe” button and we’re gone.

When you subscribe we’ll email you a copy of our FREE Time Machine White Paper

When you subscribe to our newsletter, you’ll get a welcome email that has a link to our most recent edition of the MacMedics newsletter as well as a secret download link to our famous 5-page Time Machine White Paper. It’s yours free, when you subscribe.

You can subscribe at the bottom of this Blog post or on our website at:

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Written by Dana Stibolt

July 20th, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Don’t Let Your Valuable Data Fall Victim To Friday The 13th

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Time Machine is an excellent way to back up your files! Its only cool and powerful if you actually turn it on and USE it!

Time Machine is an excellent way to back up your files! It's only cool and powerful if you actually turn it on and USE it!

Friday the 13th would be an excellent time to ensure that your Mac’s valuable hard drive data is fully backed up. We’ve been over this before, but here in the MacMedics Lab we see this just about everyday. We HATE to see folks in here who have lost pictures, school papers, financial, and business documents when a back up system can be had for as little as $99! In fact, we often have to perform data recovery for folks that bought a back up hard drive, but never even took it out of the box to set it up. We’ll complete a data recovery for someone, and when we get to the part where we need to have the “Backup Talk” we find out they had a back up drive, but just never used it.

Someone will get a new Mac as a present for Christmas or Hanukkah and since Apple is so well known for excellent quality, new Mac owners will delay their backup plans. We also hear about this happening because of the lack malware and virus issues on the Macintosh as well. Since these issues hardly ever impact the Macintosh platform, people are less likely to plan ahead for problems.

You need to make your back up system automatic, or use a program like Time Machine. That’s the first step. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY can keep up with a “manual” drag-n-drop back up! To boot, quite a bit of the data loss we see here at MacMedics actaully happens when someone copies over important data during a drag-n-drop Finder copy. Sometime, folks think they have the data copied, but something goes wrong and they just end up with an alias, then they go and delete the original data, because they think they just copied it.

The second step is to regularly test that back up to ensure your files are there and you’re able to grab them anytime you need them. There’s no such thing as a “Set-It-And-Forget-It” back up system. Even with Apple’s Time Machine, you should keep a close eye on it to ensure it IS backing you up and that the hard drive that Time Machine is using is healthy!

If you need help getting your back up set up, our advice is free, and we have external portable and desktop hard drives in stock!

If you have data you care about it needs to be backed up! Just because your computer is new or you just replaced the hard drive offers you very little protection. Hard drives can die at any time, and in fact there’s an increased risk of that occurring in the first 30 to 60 days of a hard drives’ life.

See our website for more info on “retiring” older drives and ensuring you have a safe back up.

Also, an Off-Site back up is a nice way to double your chances for data recovery. Plus, if something terrible happens like a theft, fire, or flood, your data is still safe. See this post for more info on that.

Also, as an added tip: Don’t have iPhoto delete your pictures off your camera. Leave them in two places, in iPhoto AND on your camera until you have them BACKED UP. You ALWAYS want to have your valuable data in TWO PLACES at all times. You can manually delete them off your camera once you have them backed up on your computer.

Be sure to read “The Nine Things We Wish We Did Before Our House Burned Down“. We have the list line by line and a link to the original post, which is a “MUST READ” for anyone that has a house OR a computer

Written by Dana Stibolt

May 13th, 2011 at 8:21 am

Need Macintosh Training? MacMedics Is Ready To Help

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Setting up a new Macintosh can be overwhelming. There are often a number of new applications that need to be installed and unfamiliar tasks that need to be performed. When you combine all of these new things at once with the excitement of a new computer installation and a complex data transfer, often, crucial elements can be overlooked.

MacMedics offers One-On-One Macintosh training for our clients. We’ll consult with you at your home or office (or our office) to help you get everything you need working, without overlooking something important like your back up system.

We can help with:

• iCal Mobile Me Syncing
• iPhone, iPod, or iPad Syncing
• iPhoto photo importing and management
• Time Machine and Time Capsule set up
• Off-site back ups
• Basic Macintosh operation

Most MacMedics Technicians have more than 10-years of hands-on Macintosh experience. Our passion is the Macintosh platform, and for over 21 years, we’ve been helping new and experienced Macintosh users make their Macs perform the tasks that are crucial to their needs.

Set up your own One-On-One Macintosh training session today! Call us at 1-866-MAC-MEDICS

Protect Your Holiday Photos With These Simple Steps

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While you are enjoying AND taking pictures of your family during this holiday time, make sure you protect those precious memories.

One of the best tips is NEVER let iPhoto erase your photos off your camera or iPhone.

Here’s what you do.

1. Hook up your camera or iPhone.
2. Let iPhoto import your photos.
3. When iPhone is done, it will ask if it can erase your photos off your device. Say NO!
4. Quit iPhoto.
5. Run Time Machine to back up all of your new data.
6. Once your backup has completed, then it’s safe to erase the info off your iPhone or camera.

The trick here is to always have you data in two places as once. Most accidental data loss happens when folks are moving data around. Let your back up run automatically, and let iPhoto do its import automatically. You can also “burn” your photos right to a CD or DVD right from iPhoto. CD’s only cost about .15 cents, so this is a cost effective way to double your back up. These CD’s or DVD’s can be given to family member and/or stored off site, so that in addition to your Time Machine back up, you can also have an off-site back up as well.

Also, if you get a new Mac (or you’re giving yourself one) for the holidays, and you have plans to pass your old Mac off to someone else, pay attention to this!

During the holidays or in the New Year, people start moving their data around, so they can get rid of, sell, or give away an old Mac. DO NOT format your old hard drive UNTIL you have fully tested and check to ensure all of your data has made it to the new computer.

Don’t format your old computer until you’ve run a backup on your new computer, and have your data in TWO places. We also suggest waiting a few days, and then format your old Mac in preparation to give it away. Every year we see folks with plans like this, destroy their data too soon, and then realize too late that something terrible happened during the transfer and related re-gift.

You can read more about this topic at this previous MacMedics Blog post.

Questions? Just call us! 1-866-MAC-MEDICS

Written by Dana Stibolt

December 23rd, 2010 at 4:55 pm

Don’t Play Trick Or Treat With Your Mac’s Back Up!

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This post was updated 10/31/14

We just had full moon, and it seems like it brought a ton of new Data Recovery jobs into the MacMedics offices. Spooky!

Now that it’s Halloween, I offer you the perfect metaphor for your Mac’s (or iPhone’s) Back Up. Don’t play “Trick Or Treat” with your valuable data.

When we have clients show up at our Mac Lab with data we can’t recover it just breaks our hearts. We’ve got a great track record for Recovering AND Rescuing data for folks (Usually for just $399 w/ free 1TB Time Machine drive so you never lose your data again BTW), but there are cases we we can’t help with. We will refer these jobs off to Clean Room recovery firms, and often they can save your data in exchange for fees as high as $2500. But, not all data can be saved, and about 10% of the cases we refer, there’s not a positive result, and that data is gone forever.

As soon as you buy a new Mac, or get an old Mac’s hard drive repaired, you need to have a back up program running. On any Mac that is running Leopard (10.5) or Snow leopard (10.6), Lion (10.7), Mountain Lion (10.8), Mavericks (10.9), or Yosemite (10.10) use the built-in Time Machine! It’s very, VERY powerful, and has been used to save lots of our client’s data. Plus it’s the MOST POWERFUL feature that is BUILT IN to the Mac’s modern OS!

The important thing is to PLAN AHEAD. Your back up is not complete if it’s not:

1. Automatic (Use Time Machine and this point is covered)
2. Redundant (Double your back up with a clone of your data and this point is covered)
3. Off-Site (Take your double back up off-site or get Mozy and this point is covered)

See how easy it is to be 100% covered! Now think of how much better you’ll feel knowing this little project has been taken care of and that your back up has been certified! If you need help getting a back up in place, we can help. On-site, In-lab, or even Remote Desktop Support, we’re there, and we’ll help get your back up configured and tested!

While all of us at MacMedics are HUGE fans of Time Machine, it’s not 100% infallible. MacMedics recommends that you ALSO back up your hard drive via a “clone” use Super Duper or Carbon Copy Cloner, as that way you can “test” your back up to insure you have a good, bootable copy. With a “clone” back up AND a Time Machine back up, you’re covered for TWO types of back ups, and you’re DOUBLING your chances for a successful recovery.

This might also be a good time to enhance your back up plan by adding an off-site back up. MacMedics hosts our own in-house CrashPlan backup server for your important data! So, if you want to expand into a cloud backup, we can help!

We had a client in with a bad MacBook hard drive just a few days ago, and she was mostly backed up, but she was working a major project for her employer that had huge amount of Excel data in it. All she wanted was that one folder. Sadly we could not get it for her. If she had set up Mozy, even if she did not have a back up drive *a common problem for portable computers), her data would have been “automatically” backed up AND “off-site” thus completing two points of the golden triangle of data protection. Best of all, it would have been 100% free!

We have tons of posts on Time Machine and we even have a free White Paper on it If you’d like a copy, let us know. If you’re not using an automatic backup, your data is at risk!

Also, don’t forget that hard drives don’t last forever. Our rule of thumb for hard drive retirement is as follows. In Apple laptops the hard drive should be proactively replaced after 2 to 3 years years. In Apple desktops the hard drive should be proactive replaced after 3 years. You can find out more about this on our website

There’s one more thing I would like to mention here. iPhones and iPod touch models also need to be backed up. All you have to do is to sync with you Mac from time to time. People are starting to treat these portable Apple products as stand alone devices, and when you think about it, many people are generating data on their iPhones and iPods just like they do on a computer.

You’ve got photos, e-mails, text documents, bookmarks, files, contacts, calendars, and videos that all can be generated or sent to your mobile device. All you have to do is connect to iTunes, and it will back up your device. Apple also has iCloud, which offers a PAID service that will allow you backup your entire iOS device to the cloud. This is however not automatic, and it IS something you have to pay for. Photos in My Photo Stream are saved on the iCloud server for 30 days. To save or back up these photos, you must copy them from My Photo Stream to your Camera Roll on your iOS device. You can then back up your Camera Roll using iCloud or iTunes.

There are not too many ways to get mission critical data off a dead iPhone. We can often do it, but the data is all stored on the logic board of your iPhone or iPod touch. If it gets wet, gets dropped, or gets lost or stolen, then there goes your data. If we can’t get your logic board to fire up, then we don’t have access to your data.

Be sure to read “The Nine Things We Wish We Did Before Our House Burned Down“. We have the list line by line and a link to the original post, which is a “MUST READ” for anyone that has a house OR a computer

Snowed In Today? This Would Be An Excellent Time To Check Your Time Machine Or Other Macintosh Backup System

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Are You Snowed In Baltimore Or Washington DC Today? This Would Be An Excellent Time To Check Your Time Machine Or Other Macintosh Backup System.

Are you snowed in the Baltimore-Washington area? A snow day is an excellent time to review your Mac’s back up plan, add an extra layer of protection, or test the back up you already have running! Don’t forget, there’s no such thing a set-it-and-forget it backup plan! (This post has links to all my other posts on this topic. Read, learn, and protect your data.)

We also see a rise in data loss that can be attributed to folks moving data or computers around during bad weather. If you are moving your data, switching back ups, or upgrading to a new computer, or doing ANY type of data housekeeping, please read this Blog post first.