Another post about backups

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Sunday night is a good time to back up your writing before you go to bed. You’re going to be busy, tired, and distracted from work and life next week. It will take you all of what, 15 minutes? Please do it. I see way too many tweets and Facebook posts from writers who lost pages of writing, revisions, or edits of someone else’s work because Word crashed and they hadn’t hit “save” since they sat down at the computer, or because Windows 10 did some awful thing.

I have an online backup service (they back up to secure servers, not The Cloud, I don’t trust The Cloud) and have been encouraged their customer service reps to keep two “redundant” backups in addition to their service. This is to cover all the bases. Your writing . . . and your family photos and videos, and your schoolwork, and your music library . . . is worth covering all the bases. I know exactly how expensive external hard drives are and I’m NOT carrying a lot of spare cash around, but I’ve got two external hard drives and safe places to keep them that aren’t in the same place as my computer. I only use flash drives to transfer files from one computer to another. They aren’t reliable backups and they’re so easily lost. And I do not use Dropbox. Google “Dropbox security.” In my opinion, after being forced to use it at work, it’s a nightmare waiting to explode in your face. When you use Dropbox (and you may not have a choice, as I didn’t) you give other people a way into your computer. In that situation, I reformatted an old laptop and used it for nothing but work. The good thing about keeping an old but functioning laptop for work is you have nothing personal on it if you get a virus or get hacked during work-related activities, or if you lose it or it gets stolen.

The reason that you still need “redundant” backups if you have an online backup service is that it takes FOREVER to restore all your files if you have to reformat your computer or your computer dies and you buy a new one. You can reformat or buy a new computer and have it up and running with all your files before the end of the day if you have everything backed up to external hard drives. But, online backups aren’t just your backup’s backup. Once, I realized I had lost an original drawing and couldn’t locate the scan on any of my hard drives. I found it in my online backup and downloaded it to my computer. Everyone makes mistakes and misses something. I lost my drawing but I have a high-res scan (and scan all drawings and pre-digital photos at least 200 dpi so you can make a crisp copy.)

So however you back up your important files, back them up in at least two different formats, and when it comes to buying external hard drives, or flash drives, or even DVDs, remember that you absolutely get what you pay for.

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