Thursday, December 12, 2013

Back Up Plan...

Back up your work!

Last February, my beloved laptop did something it had never done before. After starting it, a black block came up with white writing in English, French and Japanese, telling me to shut my computer off now. I held down the button that sent it to emergency shut down.

“What the heck was that?”

I turned on my computer and from there it was unrecognizable. The screen was flashing and there were random lines and pixels appearing and disappearing. Worst of all there was no response, I couldn’t access any files, I couldn’t see my desktop or even the friendliness of a cursor. This was bad, very bad. I had assignments to complete for my class, thousands of photographs, thousands of songs and every story I had ever written, except the drivel from my teen years that was typed or hand written, was in that computer.

You can imagine my expletives and insert them here. My husband calmed me and then took a look. He’s always solved my computer problems and introduced me to new technologies (so grateful for his knowledge and help). He took one look and shook his head, saying something about a graphics card problem. “You gotta take it in.”

= Gulp =

I took my computer to one of the big stores in town and they quoted me a significant amount to replace the logic board and then offered to sell me a new laptop.

I took up my precious computer and went to get a second opinion.

I went to one of the newer stores at the Mall, sleek, shiny, staffed with kids that look like they just got out of college, humming around the place like attentive bees. I got to the counter and warned the kids that if they had epilepsy they needed to look away now. I turned on my computer to show them what it was doing. One of the kids said, “Whoa, that looks like a Rave.”
It did look like a Rave, and if I could’ve accessed my computer I might have been able to play some Goldfrapp or the Chemical Brothers to compliment the Rave my laptop had become.

They quoted me one fourth of the cost the first store had. The kid then asked, “Hey did you back up the data. There’s a chance it could get wiped.”
I emailed the gang at Alaska Chapter of RWA to thank them that day. One chapter member had a computer malfunction about six months before and she lost some stuff. She urged us all to back up our work. This is probably one of the worst things that can happen to a writer. Years of work can disappear in the flash of a computer screen.

I back up my stuff on a Passport - which is a portable USB external hard drive. You can also back up your data online, rendering it impervious to fire or natural disaster. There are many video tutorials available on the internet on how to back up your data.
One more thing I highly recommend is a little USB flash drive. I use these to back up the WIPS I am actively working on at least once a week. As many writers know when you are actively working on something it’s dynamic, changing and morphing into the story you want it be. Back up that WIP and remember to put a date on it so you don’t confuse it with other versions.

Well now, I must go and back up my data.

--- Carmen Bydalek


Lynn Lovegreen said...

Great advice, Carmen. Now everybody go back up their computers after you read her post! :-)

DeNise said...

I'm on the way toward my back-up. Thanks for the reminder.

DeNise said...

I'm on the way toward my back-up. Thanks for the reminder.

Melissa L said...

I lost everything on my last laptop. Anything important I save to my Passport, too. I learned my lesson and won't do that again.