How a computer stopped an embroidery business ..

Computer repair can be costly, I don't just mean out of pocket cash .. but, cash that doesn't reach your pocket because your computer issues are halting business.  As you can probably tell, I have been MIA for the last 2-3 weeks.  Blame the computer .. I spent hours of my time trying to rig the problem myself before I broke down and approached a computer tech.  All that resonates in my mind is, "Out of warranty."  But, it wasn't my fault, "I'm sorry sir, but for $69/year .. " 

I'm here to tell you, warn you, beg you .. take care of your computer if you rely on it every day like I do.  Let me cut to the chase and fill you in on the end story:  Computer and it's owner are all fine and resting well!  I had to "scrub" my hard drive .. that means cleaned fresh, like wiping a blackboard .. all information GONE and irretrievable.  Then, I had to reload the Operating System (Win XP Professional), all the drivers, and all my programs.  Luckily, I was taught well by a computer tech 10 years ago and have all files and data stored on an external hard drive.  I owe that man a steak dinner.

MOST problems we have with our computers can be avoided through proper maintenance.  Please review the 5 tips that I TRY to practice:

1. MOST IMPORTANT:  SAVE all the CD's that came with your new computer purchase.  Sure, I had to delete my hard drive by wiping it clean, but I have the original Operating System disks and all the disks of the software that came loaded on my computer.  The manufacturers site is also a great tool.  I was able to download new and updated drivers from their site.  I won't mention the brand name, but, it rhymes with BELL.  I know of people that have had issues with them, but, I NEVER HAVE.  Even with out of warranty issues, they have been helpful.  So, if you need to wipe your hard drive, make sure all your program CD's are available with your driver CD's as well.  OH, and don't forget to file away the product keys !!  Those are very important also.

2. Back up your important data NOW.  Finish reading this post, then collect all your important files, dump them into My Documents, purchase an external hard drive and move them all there.  I use my external hard drive as my drive of choice.  All customer art, digitized files and emails are saved on this hard drive.  Luckily, embroidery files are very small, so I don't need a huge external, but space and ram are extremely inexpensive today.  You can probably recover data from dead hard drives, but it is expensive.  Very expensive.  And, to let you know, my external hard drive is backed up online, it's worth the money ..

3. Anti-Virus software needs to be loaded and can be running all the time.  If by running all the time interferes with your downloads, reconsider whether you really want it running all the time.  Some softwares have the ability to program times to run the anti-virus software.  All anti-virus software doesn't need to be purchased.  There are a few good free softwares that I know of, but, I choose to purchase mine.

4. Often, either at the store, office or trade show, my friends, guests and customers simply ask, "Can I use your computer for a moment?" or, "If I can just jump on your comptuer for a moment .."  Nonsense.  If you share your main profile or allow people to use your computer, be ready to face the consequences.  What can you do?  Create a limited access account on your computer that you can sign into and that guests can use.  And, this is for my mom .. keep liquids away from your computer !!

5. Lastly, don't be afraid to ask for help, even if your help is from Google.  I spent hours, and hours turned into days, on trying to fix what I thought was a simple fix.  It was simple, after I asked someone to help who knew what they were doing.  It was humorous, he asked me, "Rick, do I try to embroider my own shirts?!"  Point taken.

Coming next week:  Embroider and applique fish bowls on childrens clothing.

Thanks for worrying about me !!


Rick Macali \ 407 509-2400 <-- Opens July 3, 2009 / your spot for embroidery resources

Comments (5) -

Sorry to hear about your troubles, and glad you are back up and running.

I feel your pain.  As a retired computer professional,  I cannot stress hard enough, the importance of a good backup system.  That being said, did I backup my files at home?  No, and I lost a lot of good stuff.  Now, I back up at home as well.  Lesson learned.  Your advice is priceless, I hope everyone listens.  Glad you are back in business and the computer is back in good health.  

I too know the frustration of loosing data.  I had a backup, but the computer I got failed AND the backup was 'sacrificial' (does not copy, it downloads and was gone) so I lost it again.  

I am nearly finished my latest 'minibook' which is called PC's for Embroiderers (and we are not dummies!)  

Watch for it coming soon.


karenseviour 6/22/2009 1:58:08 AM

Good advice Rick but the problem here in Oz is that we no longer get CDs with the purchase of a new Desk/Laptop, just the security codes.

But I did scamper out and purchase an external hard drive so thanks for that info.



Halls Head.W.A.

I bought my new computer with Vista. Put in all my programmes and found that two would not be accepted by Vista. after looking for drivers to run them. Got one working.The other was a no go.

Some how I lost the lot of them. Woe is me. My daughter is a bit of a whiz and got me up and running again. I have great fun with my machine and recently bought an embroidery only machine second hand. It is only 12 months old. It is great what a bargain. I use a computer stick for all my work it works well.

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