Is My Machine Dead?

One of our clients called in a panic recently, fearing that her laptop had died. No matter what buttons she pushed, the screen would not come up. As I tried to ask a few questions, I heard some phrases that people have said many times previously: 

  • I’ve just been so busy, I didn’t have time to setup the backup.
  • I can’t believe I’m going to lose all that data!
  • This is terrible, please tell me we can recover my files.


In this case, I am glad to report that her hard drive had not failed, and we didn’t need any forensic effort to retrieve her files. The laptop battery had died, and the operating system had gone into hibernation mode. We were able to get the machine up and running quickly and easily but this was definitely a wakeup call to the user!

After expressing her gratitude, our friend began commenting how she really needed to move these business files to her server or at least setup OneDrive. She was most concerned about fitting that effort into her schedule and was shocked when I said we could get things done in the next 5-10 minutes. Really? Yes, it’s an awesome capability and can be setup for your laptop or desktop very quickly.

If you’re running Windows 10 (and I’m sure you are), then OneDrive comes automatically installed on your computer. Go to the Start menu, type in OneDrive and the application will launch. Nearly all our Howard Tech clients are using Office 365, so you already have a Microsoft account. If you don’t have a OneDrive account (or the only one is from your work), you can sign up for a free one here which will store up to 5GB of data. This link includes options to purchase larger storage and/or to include the Office suite.

Once you have an account, you simply open OneDrive on your PC and login with your username and password.

Assuming you’re connected to the Internet, you’ll see a blue cloud icon in your system tray (lower right corner, next to the clock).

Click on that cloud and choose Help & Settings (lower right) and then Settings (left menu).

On the top tabs, choose Backup and then click Manage Backup.

In this section, you can choose to back up your Desktop, Documents and Pictures within seconds! Everything stored within these three areas will automatically be backed up to OneDrive and there is no need to do anything else. The only issue to consider is if you are saving files outside of your Desktop or Documents areas. If this is the case, then you’d just need to move those files to one of these folders.

You will have the peace of mind that the files stored on your local PC are safely backed up, and you can access them from any web browser via Office 365. Our friend in this case study was so relieved her files weren’t gone and then reassured with these backup adjustments that were quickly applied. Hopefully you’ll be able to sleep better knowing that your personal files are backed up!

If you have questions or get stuck following these steps, please reach out to us at Howard Tech. We’d be glad to help you.