A couple of weeks ago I went to Orlando for a conference. When I got back to my office my computer was rebooting.
I think it had been rebooting for days.
In fact, it was stuck… and each time I tried to restart it I either almost got it to start (in Safe Mode) or it would remain hung in the rebooting process.
Finally, I took it back to the place I got it and they replaced the hard drive. Diagnosis? Unfixable, hard-drive failure…
Cool – I got a new hard drive – probably faster and better!
Uncool: I had to reinstall EVERYTHING on it.
I loaded Camtasia (for webcast recordings) and Snagit (for screenshots) and Skype (for my phone system) and Windows Live (for chatting) and Dymo Labels and Dymo Stamps (to ship my LinkedIn DVDs) and my printer driver (took way longer than it should have) and Adobe Acrobat (which should come with the OS installation) and GoToWebinar (for my webinars that I do at least twice a week) and GOM Player (to view videos from my video editor).
So far I’ve loaded all of the mission critical stuff.
So far I haven’t had to load Microsoft Outlook, Word, or Excel.
If I were to have had all of my contact information in Outlook, including names, phone numbers, email addresses (I use Gmail and Google Apps so I have this anywhere I have an Internet connection) then I would have already loaded Microsoft Office. And then I would have to go to my backup and retrieve the backup.
If you are using a desktop application to manage your professional relationships, I sincerely hope you have the disks for the application so you can easily reload it on your machine.
I also hope you are somehow backing up YOUR DATA so that if something happens, after you reload it, you can get your contact information back.
Managing your career is hard enough without worrying about being your own IT Manager.
That’s why I’ll not use Outlook beyond what it was designed for.
Obviously I use JibberJobber for my Personal Relationship Manager (PRM) and Customer Relationship Manager (CRM). During the time my PC was down (about a week) I could still access all of that critical information from my laptop, just by logging into JibberJobber.com.
I still have important information in my Outlook, but it hasn’t been important enough for me to load outlook and then figure out how to restore my files. So far JibberJobber has carried me through the mess of a failed PC.
By the way, I have used and strongly encourage a third party backup system… the one I’ve used is Mozy.com, which is owned by EMC. It costs $5/month and runs backups when I’m not using the PC.
Use Outlook for what it was intended … and if you use it for more, or don’t have proper measures in place in case it goes down, you are risking sanity and productivity.