Backup worries

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.
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A month ago, my old computer broke. It was still working, kind of, but so sluggishly and reluctantly, I knew it was dying. In a panic, lest I lose all my files, I frantically started to do backup.

Before that point, I had told myself multiple times that I needed to backup my hard drive, do it regularly, do it often, but I kept procrastinating for some reason. On the day I realized my computer was busted and I needed a new one, I hadn’t done any backup for over a year.

Ouch! It was a terrible realization. And my backup proceeded so slowly, it took me 3 days to backup half the files. Imagine my frustration and anxiety during those days. My stomach was tied in knots. I couldn’t think of losing so much: all my fiction, my newspaper articles for a dozen years, and all my images – my classic art collection, lots of photographs from several free image sites, and my book covers.

I bought a new computer, of course. Fortunately, the techs at the store were able to transfer all my files to the new computer. I was giddy with relief.

Now, I made a resolution to backup all my files to flash drives often, so I won’t be in such a dire situation again. But I’m thinking that maybe I should have a second backup medium. Maybe an external hard drive or an online depository. I looked into one online cloud possibility, but it only offered a limited amount of storage for free, 1G or some such, and my art folder alone is almost 40G.

What do you know about backup options, preferably free? Any opinions? Personal experiences? What is good? What isn’t? Tell me in the comments.

 

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21 Responses to Backup worries

  1. Sorry to hear about your loss. I lost everything 2 years ago. I had to start from the beginning. Painful. Now I backup to an external drive. Blessings!

  2. spunkonastick says:

    I have an external hard drive and I back it up several times a day. Considering I have two drives on my computer and both are nearly full, they haven’t even half filled that external. Oh, and it goes everywhere with me. No good to back it up and lose it and the computer to fire or theft.

  3. What a terrifying tale, Olga! I’m glad tech is sturdier now than when, as a grad student, I lost half a project when I carelessly bent a floppy disk. These days I save often–to my hard drive, to a thumb drive, and to Google Drive. I should remember to do a total back-up to an external hard drive more often. Thanks for the reminder–worth repeating often. I’m glad you were able to recover your data.

  4. Glad they were able to save everything. I back up at least once a week on an external. I don’t have a ton of files but I don’t want to lose them.

  5. You can buy a good external hard drive that will take two minutes a day for under a hundred, in my experience. Good luck! http://www.raimeygallant.com

  6. Diane Burton says:

    You are so lucky to get all your files. Last summer, my computer quit. The Geek Squad was able to transfer everything to an external hard drive. New computer later and I could transfer my files. I still don’t back up my computer as often as I should, but I save everything important on One Drive (that comes with Windows Office). A freebie is Dropbox for backup. Good luck!

  7. emaginette says:

    Since I only backup my writing I use a flash drive regularly, and I’ve set up Dropbox to work in conjunction with Scrivener. I backup my picture and documents folders on OneDrive. Spreading it around keeps me in the free zone.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  8. rolandclarke says:

    I lost some of my files when the backup service I was using messed up. I now use Onedrive and a flash drive every writing day. I also have other files on Dropbox linked to my wife’s desktop.

  9. Erika Beebe says:

    I love my mac computer and have icloud for all my files. I don’t think it’s free but it’s definitely worth my peace of mind 🙂

  10. Widdershins says:

    I back up everything onto an external hard drive once a week, but any project that I’m working on gets the at-the-end-of-every-session backup, which is usually at the end of the day. It takes a while to get into the habit, but now it’s just part of my routine 😀 … one word of caution about using an external drive though, don’t leave it connected to your computer. Only plug it in when you’re backing up.

  11. yvettecarol says:

    Wow, your story had me on the edge of my seat, Olga. Thank goodness you managed to retain your files! Whew. My nephew took me out and made me buy a small portable harddrive. It was fairly expensive, over $100. But, it can hold everything on my computer and more. I try to remember to update every couple of months but I probably should do it more.

  12. Glad you got a new computer and saved your files. I save all my word docs on a thumb drive.

  13. cleemckenzie says:

    I’ve been using Carbonite for years–automatic backup everytime I create something. Now that iCloud’s on the scene, I guess I could depend on that, but I loved how Carbonite saved everything I needed when my old beast of a computer crashed. Just a word of caution about Flash Drives. They sometimes lie down and die without notice.

    • rolandclarke says:

      Just a word of warning – I hit a glitch with Carbonite when I used it. I lost files with them, but it might have been my fault – hence I use a flash drive and OneDrive now.

  14. J.Q. Rose says:

    Been there, done that. I back up to a flash drive, but also store things in Dropbox which I am finally getting the hang of that. I also like it since I work on 2 computers and it’s easy to find files when I’m on either laptop.Glad those techs could restore your files. I’ve had the same result and I gave a huge sigh of relief too.
    JQ Rose

  15. CV Grehan says:

    Oh the pain of losing even one day of work. I use Dropbox. All the big cloud services are good options. I like that I can access files from any location (I live in 2 cities) and from my smart phone if I need to. If you’re a Scrivener user, there could be a sync snafu when automatically backing up to a cloud service. Google will turn up the details on that, and how to avoid the problem. Also good to have a hard backup. And let’s not forget paper. When I finish a story, for good, I keep a paper copy.

  16. ChrysFey says:

    I’m so sorry!

    Dropbox is great. It’s free, you can open a document in it and it updates there immediately, allowing you to access it from any device. Many computers also come with OneDrive. That saved me earlier this year when my computer’s hard drive died after a Windows update. I also use a couple of flash drives as an extra backup. And for some of those projects on the back burner that you may not work on in a while, you can email the documents to yourself and save them in a folder.

  17. Denise Covey says:

    A lot of people don’t trust online storage as it’s easily hacked and you could lose your stories. Just sayin’. I use Dropbox for school and files I don’t care if they get stolen. I use flash drives, and this nifty little thing about as big as a wireless mouse receiver and it backs up as I work. Groovy!

  18. I’m so glad you were able to transfer your old files. I should be a lot more diligent about backing up my computer.

  19. I back-up my writing by sending an email version to myself, but for pictures, I’d suspect an external hard-drive would be the way to go.

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