November is always the month where I start thinking about computers – and taking care of my computer system. Strange, I know, but I have a really good reason for it…
When I was graduating from the University of Arizona – getting my degree (with honors) in Creative Writing – I had to write and submit a thesis. 270 pages of all original writing: poems, stories, plays, and an essay. It was the culmination of a year’s worth of creative work – and was the piece of writing that had to be completed and turned in so I could graduate, and graduate with honors.
That was the semester that my computer decided to be a PITA. (Pain In The A$$). So at Thanksgiving, I asked my dad to bring me a new one. I spent nearly the entire holiday weekend setting up programs, transferring files, and working on my thesis – it was due the next week. I missed out on making tamales with my family (our Black Friday tradition), I missed out on the U of A/ASU football game, I missed out on a precious weekend with my grandparents, greats aunt and uncle, and my folks.
I had a deadline.
Then, Monday morning, when I was working on the thesis before class…
I threw myself on the floor, convinced that somebody had just done a drive by on my aunt’s house. (It wasn’t a sketchy area of Tucson AT ALL but for a country girl it sure sounded like a gunshot!)
After my heart stopped pounding and I could hear again, I heard… nothing. An eerie silence that could only mean one thing.
The computer was dead.
No, it hadn’t been a drive by. It had been my power supply EXPLODING in the computer tower. For the next few days I was FRANTIC to save it – Dad overnighted me a new power supply and I shredded my fingertips trying to change it out. (Melted plastic – yuck!) Then I put my computer on the Tucson – Phoenix shuttle where my dad picked it up at the airport to take it back to the computer shot. (This was long before the Geek Squad!)
100% dead. All files irretrievable.
All my work (and the time away from my family) gone.
Thankfully, thankfully, I had emailed my advisor a draft copy at the beginning of the weekend. I had to admit it was gone and ask her to email it back to me. Thankfully, she could! (Again, this was ALSO before a copy of emails was automatically put into a “sent” folder and saved!)
After SEVERAL long nights, I was able to re-create the thesis and get it turned in on time.
Then, just last week, Ben put his laptop on the floor next to his chair. Like he does a thousand times – like I’ve done myself with my laptop. But then, Rocky squeezed between Ben’s chair and the couch… knocking a full glass of water INTO Ben’s laptop.
My heart stopped. It was the thesis all over again.
Thankfully, computer tech has come a LONG way and nothing was fried – a week of drying out (thank you Arizona for having ZERO humidity) and the computer works again.
So here’s the moral of the story:
BACK UP YOUR WORK.
Please, whatever you do:
BACK IT UP!
(And verify that the backups WORK!)
Don’t rely on a tech guru to be able to restore a hard drive or retrieve data. Be proactive and make it happen.
I use Carbonite – and I verify weekly that the files ARE being backed up. Anything that is SUPER important – the type of stuff that would be disastrous to lose, I double back that up with an external hard drive AND the cloud-based system. (Or print it, depending on what it is!)
To make life easy – those are some affiliate links to help you get started with your own backup process!
And leave me a comment and tell me how YOU protect your work!