Friday, July 29, 2011

Protecting Your Files

A few weeks ago I had the scare of my life... Okay, that's a little dramatic. But, it was a huge scare. I was working on my computer, putting together some trivia posts for a blog I manage, when out of nowhere a window pops up. My computer asks if I want to download whatever it is and I say no. But the window won't go away. So I say no no no no no no no. Nothing. It won't leave. So I try the task manager to get rid of it. I can't do that either. So, desperate, I finally say yes. That was a stupid move. About a minute later everything on my computer was gone. Everything. I couldn't access anything on my hard drive. My pictures, the novel that I'm writing, a sort of journal I've started, files for my blog. All of it. Gone.

I was devastated! Lucky for me, I'd backed up almost all of my pictures about two weeks before. But, there was one file that I hadn't backed up. My baby's six month pictures, pictures that I could never get back. And apparently I had backed up my novel but I couldn't remember doing it, so I was thinking that I had lost ninety pages. Ninety pages! May not sound like a lot but that's a lot of work. Thirty or forty thousand words. Seriously, DEVASTATED. I cried. I was sick. It was awful!

I learned then the value of backing up your files. I always think they're fine because my computer is working great, but I've never considered what happens if I get a virus, like I did that night. I got the files back, but it cost me a couple hundred. Lucky for me I was able to get the money. Not everybody can.

If you're going to store files on your computer, make sure you have them backed up somewhere off your computer. Honestly, it's best to have two copies in two different places, or do online storage, or both. I have an external hard drive that has all my files, and all of my pictures I burn to CD's. I'm seriously considering online storage now because then I can't lose them even if my house burns down.

What it boils down to is basically that we live in a digital world and everything is digitally stored; all of our pictures, files,and  memories are in digital format, and digital files are easily lost. I think what I'm going to do now is get another hard drive and share it with a friend. We'll switch every month or so. That way, both hard drives have all of our files. By doing that I'm storing my files on two different devices and storing them in two different locations. If my device gets damaged or ruined, then I have another copy on a device that's working. If my house burns down, I have another copy in a house that is still standing.

I think I have a bit of OCD to my digital files though, especially my pictures. So I'll prettty much do anything to keep the files safe. My ultimate goal is to print a physical copy of all my pictures, but when you have at least eight thousand, that can be an expensive route. For now, I'm backing everything up. Pictures don't leave my camera unless I can get them on my hard drive and preferrably a CD. My writing files I'm going to try to update every week or two, maybe even every time I write. I know the feeling of losing files that are important. Let me tell you, it is not a good one! My advice: Back up your files!

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