Monday, February 13, 2012

Back It Up!

by Kristin Baker Przybyla

The other day my laptop told me the flash drive was going out and I'd better back up everything I wanted quick, or lose it all. And I was like, "Nooo, laptop, I thought you were my best friend!"

But I went through that nightmare a couple years ago. I'd actually had three different backups of my writing, and I thought I was safe when the motherboard overheated on my computer. To my utter horror, I found out after that I hadn't been backing everything up correctly, and I lost six chapters of rewrites in The Moongate, and most of Cobalt.

I had a tantrum of epic proportions that day. And I learned an important lesson!

This time, I got the hubby's help running a backup of everything I didn't want to lose on my hard drive, which is mainly pictures I'm saving to use on my blog, videos, and a few games. Everything else - cherished family pictures, unedited videos, and of course my writing, is already backed up to our network drive. (And for safekeeping, my husband runs a periodic backup of the network drive, because that crashed once too.)

But I didn't feel safe enough doing a regular backup of my manuscripts to the network drive, because that would actually require me remembering to do the backups! And mama's getting old, some days I forget to put my pants on before I head out the door. Someone in my writers' group suggested a company called Dropbox, and when I got home, I actually remembered to look them up.


And I love it! Basic services are free, and that provides me more than enough space for my books. You just download their program, and it puts a "Dropbox" folder in your files, and then you save the files you want to back up to that folder like you'd use any other folder. You can access files in your Dropbox folder from any computer that has Dropbox installed, so one day when one of the kids was using my laptop and I wanted to write, I just installed it on my husband's PC and happily opened up Cobalt. I use it as my default writing folder now, because it automatically backs it up and if my laptop dies, I know my stuff is safe. I still use the network drive as a secondary backup, but only when I remember!

I'm definitely not advertising for Dropbox, but throwing it out there as a super easy way to keep your writing and other files safe. What ways do you use to back up your work? And if it's not something you often do, I'm shaking my finger at you right now to get a backup system in place. You never know when your computer decides to up and die on you, and it might not give you a warning first.

5 comments:

  1. I had a blue sceen of death incident last week. Scary! And we have looked at using Dropbox for the business. Very good insight and I will put this higher on the to do list :-)

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  2. I need this myself. With me in school, I have a ton of stuff that needs back up. Thx. I'm downloading as I speak.

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  3. I keep all of my important stuff (writing) in Dropbox!

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  4. I'm still going nuts without my laptop, but every time I get a chance to log onto a different computer, I'm so grateful I have my files backed up! I'd be crying if I didn't learn my lesson the first time it happened.

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  5. I just use a flash drive, but have been thinking about using something that will automatically back my stuff up and store it out in 'the cloud.'

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