What I Learned From The Fort McMurray Fire

fort Mac

Backing up my computer is crucial, because it represents thousands of hours of my time and life.  Time that I’ve spent doing genealogy and it’s also hundreds of photos, of my own, my parents and other family members, that I’ve scanned.

So to ask if you’re backing up your computer, well that’s the question of the day isn’t it?  We are told over and over the importance of doing this; some of us do it faithfully and some are only reminded when we have our computer crash and we end up lose important information. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get some techie type to retrieve it for you.

I live in Alberta and one of the most horrific forest fires took place this past May in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Over 88,000 people were evacuated and this represented the largest evacuation in the history of our province. It was so amazing; the evacuation took place over a very short time and not one person lost their life. Some people were able to go to their home before they had to leave but many were not allowed, so they drove away not knowing if they would ever see that home again.

Two weeks after the evacuation when I was doing a  trade show I met a lady and she told me that her home had burnt to the ground. She knew this because her son-in-law was one of the firefighters that was left to fight the fire and he had gone to check on her home. She was the keeper of all her mother’s photo albums and they were all gone with her home. The lady had a positive attitude and told me that she was lucky because her cousin had many similar family photos and she was going to share them with her.

This situation really drove home to me, that sure you should be backing up your computer,  but you need to have a complete approach. You need to ensure that you have your system backed up in the cloud as well. I wasn’t doing that.

My husband runs a computer consulting company so his assistant (my stepson; Jason) was ready to help me. First on my,  to do list, was to see if the backup drive on my computer was adequate. I had a drive which had a 1TB capacity but we decided that there were larger drives available with much slimmer profiles. Something that wouldn’t take up as much real estate on my desk as the current model.  Jason did some research and decided that I could use a Seagate Backup Plus. It has a 2TB capacity and 200GB of cloud storage.   It’s  really thin; in fact it only measures 3.5″ x 4.5″ x .5″  which is quite a bit slimmer than my previous hard drive and  2TB of backup space would cover most people needs but if you need more they do come in larger sizes. But 200GB of cloud storage wasn’t what I was looking for.

As I said it’s not just the backup on your desk; what if something unfortunate happens to your house, like what happened in Fort Mac, then what? Currently my husband and his team are using Google Drive to back up their systems. It’s also a way to access your files and sync between systems. It’s affordable, the first 15GB of storage is free and then 100GB costs just $1.99 per month. Or you can opt to get a terabyte of online storage for $9.99 a month; so $$119.88 U.S.  That sounded ok; but I again I asked for some help from Jason. I’d heard about a product called iDrive so I asked for his opinion on the product. I’d heard it talked about in the genealogy community and wondered how it would compare. As it turns out it’s a great product. Not that Google Drive isn’t a good product, but iDrive can do the same thing but at a lower price.


iDrive gives you 5 GB + 5 GB Sync space for free or if you opt to purchase iDrive Personal, you get 1 TB + 1 TB Sync space for 52.12 U.S.  If you purchase a plan for two years then you get that same price for the two years. That’s a $17.38 saving over their yearly price. If you need more than 1TB then they have a 10TB plan as well. You need to check out  the features they provide, but I was impressed that more than one computer can use the plan. I also like the fact that I can schedule when my system backs up. 

I feel much better now that I know my computer is taken care of.  I know that sometimes we don’t want to think about these things or we mean to but never get around to it. But you don’t want to keep putting it off until it’s to late and you get caught like this. It’s the end of August; have you backed up your computer this month?

Surprise 2

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