Data Doctor: Save time, money with backup operating system - East Valley Tribune: Business

Data Doctor: Save time, money with backup operating system

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Posted: Monday, November 14, 2005 11:30 am | Updated: 8:51 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Q: What manufacturers of computers will give you a copy of the Windows CD when you purchase one of their machines? — Dave

A: Anyone who has ever been in need of a Windows CD shortly after purchasing a new computer will understand why Dave is asking this question.

For various reasons, most all of the major name brand manufacturers have stopped shipping operating system CDs with their computers.

The primary reason given by the manufacturers is to save costs on their end, but the result is that many consumers get caught in a tight spot if they ever need to repair or reinstall Windows.

The solution companies provide puts the responsibility on the consumer to make copies of their operating system from their new computer as soon as they get it set up. This can take as long as an hour and several CDs and ends up being skipped by the majority of anxious users who just want to start playing with their new system.

The problem with not having a full version of Windows on a CD is that the control of what can be done in the event of a problem is lost by the consumer and totally controlled by the manufacturer. If your hard drive crashes and you have not burned your operating system CDs, you have no way to get your system running without contacting the manufacturer and having them ship you a solution. This costs the unaware consumer in both time and money.

When it comes to buying a computer, the most important thing is not what you buy, but who you buy it from and how they handle the inevitable problems that will occur. This simple issue of not shipping a CD illustrates how some companies value the tiny savings per system they achieve with no real concern about how it affects the user.

Many claim that their recovery system is better and faster than having to reload Windows from the original disk, but what they may not tell you is that this "better and faster" method also may wipe out all the data and programs that you have added since you started using the system.

We see the unfortunate results of the better/faster "recovery process" in our data recovery labs on a regular basis, so always double check about the resulting status of your data and programs before allowing any manufacturer’s "recovery" process to be invoked.

An alternative to the lowcost, low-service solutions that are being pushed by large national brands is to consider a smaller local entity that is better able to provide personalized configurations and local service after the sale (and a full Windows installation CD).

You will likely pay a little more for the local independent, but the first time

you need help and can work with a real live human being standing in front of you makes the difference in price well worth it.

There are hundreds of companies in every market that can provide this more personalized service, and you can likely get a good personal recommendation from one of your friends or family who have already used one of them.

There are only two kinds of computers: Those experiencing a problem and those that are going to experience a problem. So if you do end up with a system from one of the big national brands, be sure to read all of the "getting started" instructions and follow them so you have what you need to get back on track.

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