Portland Area Real Estate Appraisal Discussion

Appraisers and Computer Owners Need This
May 28th, 2015 1:04 AM

Portland Appraiser Saved by Carbonite

I am an appraiser who embraces mobile technology to the extent that my business is completely digital; but with a paperless office comes the risk of computer failure.  Last Thursday the inevitable happened, in the midst of a job in the field, my computer crashed and refused to restart.  A hurried trip to a repair facility was not encouraging.  To my surprise, the technicians were unable to restart the computer without first resetting it and eliminating all files from the disk.  After resetting and testing, it was determined that there was nothing physically wrong with the computer hardware.  The technician speculated that a corrupted file probably caused the crash.

This misadventure represented a major setback.  Not only did I lose the time spent arranging the repair, I also had to bring a backup computer out of its mothball state.  That task was complicated by the fact that the backup had not been started in over two years.  The resulting wait seemed endless while operating, virus, and appraisal software went through innumerable updates (150 in Windows alone).  The single bit of good news in all of this is that I subscribe to Carbonite, an online backup service that only costs about $60 per year.  Every appraiser (or anyone with a computer) should subscribe to just such a service.

Carbonite normally works in the background, continuously backing up everything on your computer while you work.  It provides access to all active files, and even gives a 30-day look back at files deleted from the hard drive.  Note that backup services like Carbonite do not replace long-term storage for appraisers like a la mode’s Vault.  However, with Carbonite I was able to go online and download everything needed to get up and running again.  That included the most recently saved version of the appraisal file that I was working on, several other unfinished projects, all saved internet links, every software license, all saved software settings, everything on the desktop, and anything else that was not duplicated by the file sharing services I use (like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive).  Whew!  Thank you Carbonite.

Oh, and what is my takeaway from all of this?  I have learned that now the backup computer is coming out of the closet on the first day of each month for a little runtime and update.  That way, a future hardware or software failure will not catch me unprepared.

Did I leave anything out or do you want to join in the conversation?  Let me know in the comments below.

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Thanks for reading,

Gary F. Kristensen

Sorry for your computer problem Gary but glad you got up and running again. I use Carbonite also but thankfully have not had to test it like you did. I've always thought that having a computer on standby is the best choice (although I don't have that set up yet). Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Posted by Tom Horn on May 28th, 2015 6:57 AM
Wow, Gary. What a bummer. Yet I'm so glad you were able to recover your files AND there was nothing wrong with your computer.

Posted by Ryan Lundquist on May 28th, 2015 9:13 AM
I spent a couple of years selling mid-range data backup solutions in a prior career. It can be quite complex to develop and implement a foolproof, failsafe backup system that minimizes downtime while being as transparent and user friendly as possible. And you are right, monthly testing of your system is critical. In the data backup world we had a saying..."there are two kinds of data in the world, data you have backed up and data you are going to lose someday". True dat.

Posted by Mike Turner on May 28th, 2015 1:43 PM
Great post Gary. I've been using Carbonite for awhile now and love it. It has saved me in the past as well and is an awesome service especially for the price

Posted by Roy Meyer on May 28th, 2015 1:45 PM
I've never had a computer crash, but changing computers was a nightmare. Sounds like a lot of late nights getting back to normal. It looks like the Portland Appraisal Blog has now become a blog for online backup services.

Posted by John Tsiaousis on May 28th, 2015 5:46 PM
Tom, Ryan, Mike, Roy, and John, thank you for all the comments. I'm glad to hear so many appraisers are using Carbonite.

Posted by Gary Kristensen on May 28th, 2015 8:05 PM
That situation is a nightmare for appraisers and all professionals. Thank you for teaching me about Carbonite Gary.

Posted by Lucas on May 28th, 2015 11:54 PM
Thank you for the article. You are absolutely right saying that paperless office may face computer failure. As far as I know, cloud services for such kind of purpose may be different and if a company uses best virtual data rooms for their deals, it will the most likely have no troubles with the computer failure. The reason is multiple backing up systems used by those services.

Posted by Robert B. Paulus on May 5th, 2016 8:42 AM


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