Well the “Beta Bug” just bit me. Over the weekend I updated my beloved Apple MacBook Air laptop to the latest Beta of Apple’s OS X 10.11 “El Capitan” system software. Confident that, according to other beta testers, this version was more bug free.
It is very easy to update Apple Mac software. The system can do it automatically, or semi-automatically. I’m a semi-auto guy. I like to read about the new and improved this and that before installing an upgrade – especially for system software.
USUALLY things go swiftly and easily and within a few moments the Mac reboots and you then can use the new and improved software. Not this time.
Things were going a little “wonky” right from the beginning. During the update I got a message on my screen that said that “updates have changed since your last download” (or something close to that). After the first set of software had downloaded and installed, and the computer rebooted I checked for software updates. Indeed the main beta update looked like it had gone to the next version – so of course I just-had-to-update-to-the-latest-version. Just like Paplov’s dog!
The bad news:
After updating for the second time I could not connect to the internet from my Mac! Yikes!!! Everything I do is on the internet. All my files are in “the cloud.” I can’t live without knowing the latest news, sports, weather, etc – all on the internet. Of course email, text, Facebook, YouTube and on and on are on the internet. I did check for internet connection on my iPhone and iPad – yup it was working on them – but not my Mac.
The good news:
Every modern (newer) Apple Mac desktop and laptop comes with a built in “app” (Application) called Time Machine. When you set up a new Mac the computer asks (begs) you to use Time Machine which makes backups of your computer at least once a day. You can have the Time Machine backups go to an attached external hard drive or a networked external hard drive. Hard drives are “almost” free today. A 2TB (terabyte) external hard drive is about $75. Cheap, when you consider the time and effort to reconstruct all your files on your computer. With Time Machine I can restore a single file, or my entire computer from an earlier backup.
Since Time Machine works in the background, I never think about it. It’s just there – doing its thing 24x7x365.
This morning I simply restarted my Mac (while holding down on the “Apple” and “R” keys), and the Mac had Time Machine ask me what I wanted to restore. It started the restore process and gave me a time indicator bar on how long it would take (several hours).
The bottom line:
No matter what kind of device you own – Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Nook, Kindle or Android – there is software available for reliable backups and restores. As Nike would say… “Just Do it!” In a computer crisis or meltdown, you will be glad you did.