Friday, April 22, 2011
Backing Up Your Files
I have a question for you. Do you back-up your files offsite? The other day a writer on one of my loops posted that she had typed eight chapters of her new book when she hit something on her keyboard and the entire manuscript disappeared. Bless her heart she posted on the loop desperately asking if anyone knew how to retrieve her lost material. She received several different suggestions, but to no avail. All that work she’d put into typing the chapters had disappeared.
So, I’ll ask again, how diligent are you about backing up your files? If you’re like me, your intentions are good, but like most writers, I don’t pay enough attention to this vital task.
Although I have my computer programmed to auto-save every five minutes, this isn’t what I’m talking about. It isn’t good enough to back-up files on CDs, DVDs, a flash-drive, or on your server. Sometimes those files become corrupted. What if a thief broke into your house and stole your computer and accessories? What if you dropped your laptop? (Don’t scoff. It happens.) If you live in a hurricane or tornado prone state, what if your house is blown away? Or like a friend whose house burned down while she was attending a writers’ conference?
My point is: you must back-up offsite. The best scenario would be to back-up your files everyday.
There are several ways to do this:
1. If you have a website, most servers give you enough space so you can upload important files to a private section. But you have to do it manually using a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) program.
2. Carbonite Online Backup, Norton Online Backup and Mozy Pro are examples of websites that offer storage for important files. However, keep in mind these are not free sites. All charge a nominal fee. If you pay the fee, you can set up the transfers to take place automatically every day. I’m not sure if you have the option to manually upload your files. A problem with some of these backup services is what happens to your files if they go out of business?
3. With the economy the way it is, I’m all for cutting corners. This is why I’ve opted to set up a gmail account that I use strictly for emailing files to myself. Besides being able to access my files from any location, it’s also free. The thing is to REMEMBER to send the files to myself. And I’m not talking about just my novels or works in progress, but family photos, and legal documents, too. There is a new site called ‘Dropbox.’ It’s free. Check it out at: www.Dropbox.com There’s a video you can watch that explains how the program works.
4. Another option is to purchase a portable external hard drive. MyExternalHarddrive.com offers a variety of selections at a variety of prices.
In this way, if your computer crashes, is infected with a virus that results in a loss of files, or your house is destroyed, you will still have access to your files on backup disks or whatever other backup program you choose to use. You can then restore your files to your computer properly from these backup sources. Now that you have a good idea of how to backup files on you computer, you be the judge on which the best safeguarding alternatives are. Then breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Loretta C. Rogers also writes as L. W. Rogers