Help Me, Computer, For I Have Sinned…

by Jenny Hansen


The above sentence is usually followed by: “It’s been 14 months since my last backup…”

Oh sure, we knooooow we’re supposed to back up our stuff. We plan to back up our files. We think about backing up our files.

Most of the people I know don’t back up their files.

Or if they do, they don’t do it regularly. They only do it when there’s “a glitch.” Trust me, I’ve been there myself. And I had to pay the $800+ for data recovery. It hurts…bad.

Because we knoooooow we were supposed to back up…

You get the picture. I can name four writing friends off the top of my head who have lost all their work due to lack of a regular backup system. Don’t put yourself in this position.

How do we make backing up a quick, easy process?

I’ve got a few ideas for you. Just think of today’s post as a nice gift from me, to save you from losing all your data.

My recommendations are in order of price since these are challenging financial times for many. That means the free stuff comes first.

If you can’t afford to buy programs or hardware to help you back up, just email yourself important files.

  • That means that each day you work on your important file, you must email it to yourself when you’re finished.
  • I recommend deleting earlier versions so you don’t get cluttered or fill up your email.
  • Caveat: Be sure that your email program doesn’t purge by date! If you purge every 60 days, this solution won’t be helpful. Chances are, if backups are a challenge for you, you will be flaky about remembering to send these emails every time. Trust me, I’ve been there!
  • Important files are things that mean enough for you to pay to recover them.

If you can afford a little backup expense, buy an external hard drive.

Why would you do this? Because you need a backup and this is about as easy as it gets. Make a folder system on the drive and plug it into your computer. If there’s a fire, grab it and get out. If your computer dies, grab it and hook it up to the new one. Easy peasy. 🙂

To summarize:

  • External hard drives allow you to take your files anywhere, quite easily.
  • Space is cheap. Most of the time, a $5-10 thumb drive is going to be enough.
  • If you have photos, videos and such, you’ll need a bigger drive. Here is a top of the line hard drive with 2 freaking Terabytes and it’s just over $100. Space is cheap these days.
  • Caveat: Always be sure to save and close the file before disconnecting the hard drive.

If you can afford a little more backup expense, get the hard drive AND a secondary software backup option. (i.e. Dropbox, Carbonite, “the Cloud”)

Let’s face it, you can spill water on a hardware device or accidentally back your car over it. (Yes, I know a salesperson who did that.)

Hardware can fail. You need a backup to your backup! In computer terms, that’s called “fault tolerance.”

Fault tolerance is something you can buy for about $50-100 a year. Some programs are even free, but I pay for Carbonite because I want to be able to yell at someone if something goes wrong. Seriously, with a free program, if your data goes poof (or gets sold), the response is often, “Well, um…it’s free.

The main thing to remember is to schedule regular automatic backups. Trust me, if you have to remember to do it yourself, you’ll forget. At least I do.

And note from my own Computer Dude…run your system updates automatically too. 🙂

Have you ever had your hard drive crash? Were you prepared? What is your current backup system (tell the truth!). Continue the discussion at the #SocialIn hashtag on Twitter or SocialInDC on Facebook.

~ Jenny


About Jenny Hansen

By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 15 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.

When she’s not at her personal blog, More Cowbell, Jenny can be found on Twitter at JennyHansenCA or at Writers In The Storm. Jenny also writes the Risky Baby Business posts at More Cowbell, a series that focuses on babies, new parents and high-risk pregnancy.

© 2013 Jenny Hansen. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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