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Software You Can’t Live Without?

Do you have a program you simply can’t live without?  Whether it’s your consignment software, accounting software, photo editing software, etc. you probably have a few programs you utilize day in and day out.  I’m sure you’re familiar with backing up your database and important files, but what about software?  What happens if your computer dies or gets infected so badly, the system has to be reformatted?

Software is what makes your computer be more than just a pile of metal and plastic.  Without software (yes, even Windows, Mac OS, etc. are software), a computer is pretty much useless.  If you have to start over again, due to a system crash or system replacement, getting your files, database backups, etc. copied over is only half the battle.  You need the software that generated those files, in order to use them again.

When you purchased your consignment software, you should’ve received either a CD or a download link.  Also, once you started using your consignment software, chances are, new updates came out.  So if you installed “version 6” initially, but then upgraded to “version 7,” you would be faced with a challenge.  Typically, the first installer/CD you received was a “full installer” – e.g. it installed the entire program, database, additional files and Services, etc.  An “update” though, isn’t a full installation program.  It simply updates an existing software installation.  So if I had a version 6 installer and a version 7 update, the following would have to transpire in order to get the software up and running on my computer:

  1. Install version 6
  2. Restore my database backup
  3. Install the version 7 update

The reason we restore the database before the update is to ensure both our database and software are the same version.  Each time you install an update, it not only updates the software, but other files, including your database.  It’s just a safe measure to install the most-recent update last.  Now, if you kept each of the new full installers – e.g. version 6 and version 7 – you would probably be safe installing version 7, then restoring your database.  In our experience though, it is usually best to install the most-recent update last, ensuring both data and software are the same version.

What you don’t want to happen, is getting stuck with an old version.  If you only have the original software from when you first purchased and you install that on a new computer, you’re just running an old version of the software.  What about the updates?  That’s why it’s important to keep each and every update, patch, etc. from your consignment software vendor.  If you’re not on their support plan and you don’t have access to the latest downloads, you could be stuck.  The software vendor might give you the last update you were entitled too, but now you’re dealing with more time spent.  All of this can be avoided.

Here’s what The Computer Peeps recommend:

  • Keep your original installation CD or download in a safe place – e.g. a safe, at home, etc.
  • If you are sent any new updates, copy those to a CD or USB drive (or both)
  • Of course, make sure your database (or other files) are backed-up

Now you’re “protected” from getting stuck with no software or outdated software.  The key is, you need to keep your original software installation discs or downloads.  There are other technologies out there that let you make a “backup” of your entire computer or even transfer “everything” to a new computer.  Well, the former isn’t going to help you if the system backup contains damaged files.  Sometimes, you truly do just need to start from scratch – i.e. reinstall Windows.  The latter just truly doesn’t work 100%.  These “movers” that transfer information from one system to another, don’t always leave you with completely functional software on your new computer.  There truly is no comparison to having your original software installation discs or downloads.

What you don’t want to happen is, you being left with a bunch of data or files that you can’t access (because you don’t have the original software installer).  If I buy Adobe PhotoShop, I need to keep that disc or the downloaded installer.  If I have accounting software, word processing software, etc. I need to keep those original installation discs or installers.

I've been helping consignment storeowners since 2003. I started The Computer Peeps in February of 2010. After 15 years of working with consignment stores, I understand the unique challenges consignment and resale storeowners face. From electrical issues in old building or strip malls, to advocating for them when their consignment software keeps crashing. I now manage over 400 computer systems, servers, and websites for storeowners all across North America and I am the developer/programmer of our own consignment software, so we can help storeowners even more.

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