Monday, April 28, 2008

Ack, Stop Eating My Files!!

My new laptop decided to crash the other day, while I was out somewhere. When I discovered it and tried to restart it, it went into super-buzz mode, until it was vibrating like a massage machine. I had to turn it off, take the battery out, and let it sit for a bit. But when I started it up again, my computer told me it couldn't run Windows, and proceeded to start a system restore, back to two weeks ago.

I panicked of course, and asked my computer-geek older brother what to do about it. Not to worry, he said, pointing to the finer print on the dialog box. It would only backtrack on settings and maybe programs, not files. But when it finished and started up again, I got into my WIP documents and discovered that EVERYTHING I had written in the past two weeks (a good 4-5000 words) was non-existent, gone without a trace. It was only then that I realized with that horrid, sick, sinking feeling that it's been months since I last backed up my work. Needless to say, I blew up at myself and the evil computer and turned into a mess of panic and tears.

Fortunately, my computer-geek brother promptly came to the rescue and showed me that I could restore my system forward again, reverting back to that same morning. I started the process and fled, to prevent myself from harboring violent intentions toward the innocent-looking machine. When it finished, I was almost afraid to look at my writing files. Fortunately, I did, and everything was there again. Whew, talk about huge relief.

The first thing I did was to email every single writing file I've updated since last year to myself on Gmail, a long overdue step toward sane computer usage for a writer. I'd been copying the files to other computers on the family network, and making CD or DVD backups when my old computer let me, but I didn't have any email copies before now.

So the moral of the story? Anything can happen to a computer, even a shiny new one, and it tends to happen just when you can't can't CAN'T afford to lose your writing files because you haven't backed up in a while.

What do you do to backup those writing files of life-or-death importance?

1 comment:

Lottery Girl said...

VERY scary! This reminds me to hook up my laptop to the time machine (I'm on a Mac). Glad you had a happy ending.