The Importance of Backing Up!




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Yesterday, fate dealt me a nasty blow, literally knocking me for six. My stomach hit the floor with such a thump, I swear they heard it miles away.

I had finished some routine paperwork and wanted to work on my current WIP, so I slid the relevant USB (I call them sticks) into the port and tried to open the file. The message was chillingly clear. “Unable to open File”.

Undeterred, I tried again, knowing these things can happen and it would be fine this time.

Only it wasn’t.

I investigated further, unable to believe what I was seeing. Of all the 30 files on this USB, the one I wanted was apparently corrupt and gone forever. Weeks of work had just gone up in a virtual puff of smoke.

I didn’t know what to do, or if there was anything I could do. I checked everywhere I could think of, but I had no other copy. I don’t usually back up a WIP, which I had just discovered was a grave mistake. There is usually a copy saved by Word, but this turned out to be corrupt too.

I was torn between wanting to howl like a dog, losing my considerable temper or just sobbing my heart out. It was only the stubborn thought that there just had to be a copy somewhere, that kept me from losing it, big time.

Then I remembered something. I had sent copies to our beta readers.  Would I be able to retrieve a copy from one of their emails? Turns out, I could, but all the work I had done since then would have to be done again. What made it worse, I think, is that I was so close to finishing.

The lesson I learned was an important one.  I think this happened because I was getting a little complacent with my USB’s. I have quite a lot of them, and they are invaluable for backing up everything we do. They are so simple to use and hold a vast amount of data.

I hadn’t been treating them with the respect they deserve. Sometimes I would just remove them without going through the procedure. Nothing bad ever happened when I did, so I assumed (wrongly) that it didn’t matter. But apparently, this is the major cause of USB failure.

I guess I won’t be doing that again!

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21 thoughts on “The Importance of Backing Up!

  1. Oh, no! I’ve had that happen, too. It’s rotten. Thank you for the reminder. I haven’t heard of Dropbox. I’ll have to look that up!

  2. I feel for you … Years and years ago I had the whole discussion for my Masters research thesis go corrupt (this was in the days of REAL floppy ‘floppies’ and there was no recourse then at all, either). It is always easier to understand the absolute need for backup, after something failed … but, yes, I hope you back up online with some online engine AS WELL AS a physical hard-drive/thumb-drive. Redundancy is a good thing … 😉 And … so so sorry that you’ve lost some of your hard work. This is always really rough. Na’ama

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