Friday, March 26, 2010

Backup Plan

If you're in the area on Sunday, March 28, come join me at the Niles Public Library, 6960 W. Oakton, Niles,Illinois at 1:30, when I'll discuss Social Networking for Fun and/or Promotion.

Your computer is infected. You stand the chance of losing everything you spent so long to put on there. That's not the time to be considering a backup plan, but I confess to being guilty.

About three weeks ago, the DH clicked on a link on our home computer resulting in havoc. All kinds of messages popped up about spyware on the computer. We knew better than to click on them and instead kept shutting the machine down. Those insistent messages still popped up, so we had to call McAfee to get the situation resolved.

We were lucky. The technician knew what to do, removed the offending program and the computer, with all our precious information stored on it, was saved.

Unfortunately, it's not always that simple. Years ago, when we had our first computer, we ran into a nasty virus. The only way to use the computer again was to wipe everything off and start fresh.

I keep meaning to implement a backup plan and really need to do so. I've paid for Flickr and have some photos stored on there. I also have an account at where I can store photos. I just haven't gotten around to doing so. I do have almost every photo I've ever taken still on memory cards, plus many are accessible on the Net, still I really need to get more organized in the event of catastrophe.

I send my works in progress to my alter-email almost every day just in case, so I don't lose them. Still, I've got lots of other documents stored in my computers which I'd hate to lose, yet I've not bothered to protect them. I need to get a system going and do that before it's too late. I have an external hard drive. I just need to bother and get it done, although to be really safe I should probably also send my documents off online to somewhere like DataSafe, which Dell recommends. Even that isn't foolproof. What if the company went out of business? Still, it would be better than not taking any action.

What about you? Do you have a Backup Plan? Do you use it?


  1. I keep all of my manuscripts, both complete and WIP on my home computer, a memory stick, and my lap top. So those are pretty safe.

    I have the PDF copies of my books in an e-mail file, so I'd be able to retrieve those as well.

    But, I need to get and use a backup plan for my pictures, though. If my computer crashed, I'd lose all of them...and be very sad.

  2. I, too, tend to focus on backups of my writing (I make sure I have copies on a different computer - my daughter's in Ireland!) But I forget about things like financial records, and all those pictures.

    We do have an external hard drive that can handle everything; it's a matter of remembering to put stuff on it.

  3. Anonymous10:41 AM

    We've had the same problem regarding messages popping up about spyware. We took in the PC but in order to get rid of the virus the hard drive had to be swept clean.

    Good thing I backed up all importnat files with flash drives and pictures with CDs. We have an iMac and will soon replace the second PC and laptop with Apple products. Life is good once again.

    Stephen Tremp

  4. I've started using a memory card, including all photos on my computer. I'd hate to lose any of it.

  5. I've been through the horrors of losing data through computer issues, but I've also had loss through physically losing everything. That's while I think external backups, whether it's CDs, memory sticks, DVDs or external hard drives, it's not enough. A fire, flood or anyone of a dozen natural and unnatural disasters can occur. In my case I went in to the hospital for 6 months in another country where there were no members of family or friends who could retrieve my stuff. I lost everything I owned at the time. Including all my backups. Now I use off site backups that run automatically. The 2 I'm most familiar with are Mozy and Dropbox. Both give you 2 GB free and you can buy more for a small fee. With them I not only never have to worry about hard drive failures, disasters or memory lapses. My stuff is backed up automatically. Redundant backups are a good thing, but I would suggest everyone do some kind of offsite backup because you can't predict everything.

  6. I try to use my USB pen drive regularly, but I tend to forget. BAD Dana. I have gotten in the habit of emailing my current WIP to myself every night and I have all of my old documents on disks, pen drives, hard drives, and on several different computers, including all of them in a folder on my work computer.

  7. Morgan, I specifically bought an external hard drive to back everything up on. I've had the drive for months now and am certainly guilty of never using it! Perhaps now I'll get off my duff and do something about it! Thanks for the reminder.

  8. I have multiple backup systems in place and at least 4 home computers that can be used if one goes down.

  9. I used to store important data on an external hard drive until that hard drive crashed.

    There are so many external storage sites, it's a shame not to use them. My Norton anti-virus program automatically backs up my files, which is important, because I am not good about making individual backups. You can also store documents out on Google Documents, photos on Flickr, and so on. Sure, nothing is completely foolproof, but any kind of external backup is an excellent and necessary task. Morgan, I suggest you just force yourself to do it.

  10. This is definitely timely for me. I had a scare today. My security software alerted me to an intrusion, but it didn't take care of it and gave me no clue how to. The alert just kept popping up, then finally wouldn't go away and began to mess up everything I was doing. I rebooted three times. I very quickly did a backup to a portable hard drive I have (I hadn't backed up in two months!) I was about to shut down for the day because everything was screwing up so bad. Then my son walked by and i asked him what to do. In a few clicks, he got rid of it.

    My backup plan is a portable backup drive and a son who knows computers.

    Straight From Hel

  11. Living with a computer nerd has its advantages. When we built the house, we had every room wired--which of course has become almost useless now with all the wireless stuff--and we have a network. No data is stored on individual computers. It is stored on the server, which we backup every night, and once a week he backs up to Mozy, which someone else already mentioned.

    I've lost part of a WIP before, and I don't want it to ever happen again.


  12. My son is a whiz. In all the years I've had viruses hit this computer and the one before this one, I've never lost a thing. I don't know what he does but he manages to save my butt, but...there's always that first time. Thank you for this reminder, Morgan!

  13. Being a bit of a computer nerd myself -- 15 years in the field -- I have had a network set up where I had a server where everything was backed up. But even with that you're not safe. Not as long as all your backups are stored in your home. I used to work for a huge insurance company. Every night backups were run, every day those backups were taken offsite for storage. They could always restore everything, except for perhaps that days transactions if there was a massive failure.

    These days with cheap offsite storage sites and automated backup systems like Mozy, you can keep your data safe no matter what. Automating it also safeguards you against the inevitable event that you forget to run a backup. Which will always happen at a critical time.

    I've lost entire works because I forgot to mail it to myself or forgot to backup my latest work on whatever local storage media I have. For anyone with a bad memory for doing these things, do yourself a favor, get an online backup at least for your critical stuff.

  14. Like you, I need to be more consistent in backing up. I backup on CD's, but should try one of those Online backup services. If we had a fire, my CD's would be lost because I'd rather save my cats than my CDs.

  15. I use Mozy for back-up, it sneaks in everynight and backs up everything.

    Well worth the fee.


  16. Two laptops, two external hard drives, numerous flash drives and I email the WIPs to myself after each writing session. Yes, just a tad paranoid!


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