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Back up!

A quick reminder for all my followers to enter the Writerland contest to win a PERSONALIZED autographed copy of The Secret Miracle: A Novelist’s Handbook. The deadline is Thursday, April 15, at midnight.

Another reminder to back up your files. I’ve written about this before, but I think it’s important for writers to be reminded periodically of the importance of backing up your data. There are many ways to do it: an external hard drive, an online backup system like DropBox, even e-mailing your book to your Gmail account. If you don’t, and you lose all your data, it can cost you $1500+ to have a place like Drive Savers recover it, and there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to recover anything at all. If you have a Mac, Time Machine is excellent, but make sure you run it every week. My external hard drive is in my basement office, so sometimes I go a month or longer without running Time Machine. The best is to have a service that automatically backs up for you every time you’re online. For my book and most recent documents, including all of my editing projects, I use DropBox. You get 2GB for free, but if you want to back up ALL your data, there are cheaper options than DropBox. Mozy, SpiderOak and LiveDrive are but a few. I’ve been meaning to sign up for a SpiderOak account for some time, and I need to get on that before the big one hits and destroys both my laptop and external hard drive (for those not living in CA, “the big one” is the overdue earthquake whose fault I live on.) Whatever you do, do it NOW. Your computer won’t warn you before it loses all your data. One day it’ll be working fine and the next: POOF! And even if you lose just 10-20% of your files, it’s no fun.

So now here’s a question for you. How do you back up your files? Have you ever lost data due to a computer crash? Do tell!

6 comments to Back up!

  • I backup my documents, music, and some movies onto an external hard drive maybe once a month. I backup my WIP every weekday on a thumb drive that I leave at work (so that if my laptop bag disappeared or were stolen, I'd still have it). I should probably look into the DropBox thing, though. 2gb isn't bad!

  • Thanks. I am TERRIBLE about backing up data – Thanks for the post and I am going to look into your suggestions right now.

  • I lost some great pictures when a virus attacked my computer. Nothing was retrievable. Fortunately I had backed up everything. Except. Those. Photos. I hadn't gotten around to backing them up. 🙁

    Now I back up on a flash stick everytime I finish working on an important document. I also email it to myself. My photos are stored on a CD, which is kept in a firebox.

    Great post!

  • I use SmugMug for my backup photo service, but I have tons that are on some old hard drive that I haven't transferred yet. I hope I can still find them! And flash drives are a great idea, too, especially if, like Kristan, you leave it somewhere other than where your computer is.

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