Back up, Back up!

I’m sitting in front of a time bomb. No, not a real bomb, but I can practically hear it ticking away.


I’m talking about my computer. It’s not that old, but almost from the day I purchased it, that imaginary bomb has been ticking away. I first realized there might be a problem when computerthe computer was set up in South Haven. All at once, for no discernible reason at all, colored lines would appear on my screen, sometime in horizontal bands, other times in vertical bands. The only way to get rid of them was to physically turn off the computer, either by holding the on/off button down or pulling the plug.

While in Florida last winter I bought a new, touch-screen computer (no need for a tower) and decided to take it to South Haven when we returned. We did, and in turn, we brought the computer I had in South Haven down to Florida this winter…which was probably a mistake.

Most of the time this is a wonderful computer. Lots of memory, fast, and the monitor is easy to read. Most of the time it works great. But every so often, it goes crazy, and last night was one of those times.

Which brings me to the topic of this blog.

Ever since I started using computers I’ve backed up my files. I’ve told others to do the same. “One of these days your hard drive is going to die,” I’d say. “Make sure it doesn’t take your manuscript with it.”

And I do back up as I type. Whenever I pause, I automatically hit Control S (I started with DOS, so I still use those key strokes), and I also have Word programmed to do automatic saves. But that really isn’t enough.

Sitting in front of me are three flash (Thumb) drives. I actually have four. When I reach the end of a day’s work, I save to a flash drive as well as a hard drive, and I try to rotate those flash drives. Often I have one in the purse I carry. Another one goes with me in the car. I even have an external hard drive that I take back and forth between Michigan and Florida. Am I overly obsessive about this? Maybe, but I remember a Mid-Michigan Retreat I attended several years ago when one of our members returned home after the retreat to discover her house had burned down and she lost everything, her computer and the files it held, discs, hardcopies, books, etc. Everything.

I’ve also heard too many news reports where robbers have broken into a house and stolen the computer.

So I have a flash drive in my purse, a flash drive in my car, and one in the computer, ready to use. Except, last night I wasn’t quite finished for the day, and it was when I returned to my computer, prepared to look up something and then save my day’s work, that nothing worked.


One hour and several SYSTEM RESTOREs later, my computer did come back to life and the first thing I did was make back-ups of everything I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose, cause who knows when this computer is going to do it to me.

bomb explodid

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15 Responses to Back up, Back up!

  1. kelly says:

    I’m a backup fanatic. I have an external backup drive, but I’ve had one of thosego bad, as well as thumb drives. I now back up with an external drive and two email accounts. A lot of horror stories out there about lost data and manuscripts!

    • Maris Soule says:

      I’ve also had a flash drive go bad. This was many years ago. It was after that that I started using multiple drives. I’m not ready to go back to chiseled stone, but I sometimes wonder what will happen to all of this information if we lose the ability to retrieve it. Paper may not be permanent, but it doesn’t depend on electricity to be read.

  2. Sally van Kuik says:

    Maris, you are so right. At the beginning of last year my laptop died. Fortunately, I have many back up options and use them. When I got the new laptop I could transfer the files. Nothing was lost. Thank you for reminding everyone.

  3. Melissa Keir says:

    So frustrating and worrisome! I can’t stand the thought of my computer dying. But it is a common issue. I wish you all the best!

    • Maris Soule says:

      Melissa, I’m afraid this one isn’t going to last too long, but I’m only in Florida four months of the year, so maybe I can get another winter season out of it…unless I hit it with a hammer some time before then.

  4. Cinette Santangelo says:

    I’m pretty obsessive about backing up my writing. I back up to Documents, thumb drives, and even to my hotmail account. I’m even looking into Dropbox online storage. I’m not paranoid at all!

  5. Sue Myers says:

    Thanks for the reminder to back up my work. It’s so easy to say to yourself, “I’ll do it tomorrow”.

    • Maris Soule says:

      Sue, that in a way was what I was doing yesterday. I wasn’t going to wait until tomorrow, but I was putting it off until later in the evening…and then oops. Thank goodness I was able to retrieve almost everything I’d done during the day. It could have been much worse.

  6. Annette Briggs says:

    Good girl, Maris. I thought there was no one as paranoid (in a GOOD way) as I am about loosing my work. Now, thank goodness, we also have clouds to add our projects to.

    Every little blink makes my tummy jump and my heart pound.

    Keep on saving. All the best, Annette

    • Maris Soule says:

      Annette, I’m even a little afraid of the cloud. What if it’s hacked? I keep thinking I’ll use one, then I decide to wait until I know more about them.

  7. Bonnie Alkema says:

    In the old days, i printed out anything essential. That’s crazy, but I could put my hand on it, and that was reassuring.

    Thanks for the reminder, Maris.

  8. Sue Crouse says:

    Completely off topic but just had to say “Hi” to one of my very favorite writers and even more favorite people! Hope life is treating you very well. 🙂

    • Maris Soule says:

      Thank you, Sue. Always great to hear from you. Life is treating me well (except when my computer decides to drive me crazy). Have you ever thought of self-publishing one of your stories? I’ve always loved your writing.