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<p>9am - 5:30pm, M-F</p><br> Sat-Sun, spent with friends and family.

Dude, Where is my Software?

“Should I bother keeping all of these Cd’s and product keys that come with my computer?”


This part is for windows people. Mac people, I will get to you in a second.

So, at some point you bought your computer, and you are one of those people who use it beyond facebook and flash games. Maybe you keep spreadsheets for work, you are a writing a novel, or maybe even a professional video editor. The first point I want to make, is that if you are a professional, who’s job relies on your computer; you should know all the ins and outs of backups, and re-installing software. Even if you have an “IT” guy at work, he may not be able to save you after you have thrown your $200.00 Microsoft Office key in the trash.

Yes, I did say $200.00 key. Not $200.00 CD, or even $200.00 case. That little sticker with 25 numbers and letters on it is worth alot of money. Depending on the program, up to thousands! Regardless, you should keep every item that comes with the software, if not just for the convenience.

You Can’t Back Up Software

This isn’t a completely true statement. There are clones, and time machine, and windows 8 built in clean-ups. But, for our purposes, we are going to pretend that they don’t exist right now.

Why, you ask? Because, unless any of these sources are prepared and set-up before you get a virus (and you probably will at some point in your life), they may be completely useless. When you perform a clean re-install of windows to fix that virus, none of that software can be saved. The data from those programs, however, can be.

OK, if you are lost at this point, refer to our previous post

“How the Windows Reinstall works”.

Alright, so we’ve backed up our data, and wiped our computer. It has a clean install of windows and is running really well. Let’s get these employee schedules going.

I don’t understand. I have the employee schedule excel file right here and they aren’t opening.

If you saved your discs and product keys from when you first purchased Office, no problem. Just re-install the software, and you are on your way. If not, you are about to be upset.

The first thing you do is place the blame on whoever worked on your computer, right? They are the last person who touched the system, so obviously the blame belongs with them. Possibly, but probably not.

There is software out there that can retrieve your product keys before the re-install, but they ARE NOT reliable and cannot guarantee that they have pulled the correct key.

I could keep droning on about the difference between software, data, and the OS….forever. I will not do that. I have computers to work on.

Save Your Software and Product Keys

That’s it. That is all there is to it. Save the programs that you buy (cd’s and all), and you won’t have to deal with the heartaches.

Mac People

You have time machine. Use it. (Windows 8 has a similar program).

BUT, don’t get to comfortable with the thought that Apple has you covered in each and every aspect. Time Machine can fail, and OSX installs can become a pain without the original cd’s that came with your system.

So what is my suggestion to Mac people when it comes to their software? The same. Save everything. Apple is not perfect.

In conclusion, I am a user of computer software. Alot of it actually. I am responsible for that software. These are the harsh realities of life.

You don’t set your desk on fire and expect that your important documents and family pictures will be there after you hose it down. Nope, not you. You made copies of those documents (several copies), and you put one in a fire proof safe in your closet, and set another copy aside, (just in case).

Best option: Don’t set your desk on fire. That would be dumb.

Caleb Humphries
Computer Depot Inc
Store Manager

Caleb Humphries

Tech Specialist and Creative Developer. It's all about music, break/fix, network architecture, and old video games with me.