Gutwrench and panic redux

frustrated young  woman.Remember I was talking about backups last week? About how your sanity might be saved by having multiple backups in multiple locations so that you won’t lose 3 nearly completed novels like that poor author whose laptop was stolen?

There are some things that are almost as bad to lose–they can be recreated at the cost of much hairpulling and many tears, and I was ready to yank and cry.

Who here backs up their email contact list? My hand is only up because of my ghastly experience this morning. I went to check email, and of the hundreds of contacts I’d gathered over the years, some family, some friends, some business, some fans even, six remained.  Six. Cue acid reflux.

Why would I back up my email list? Windows Live Mail syncs to Hotmail, right? Yes, it does, which isn’t a good thing now–if you’re wiped on the local level, and you open the mail program, your synced list just disappeared.  But Gmail saves contacts too, right? Only if the email came in on that account. Otherwise, that contact never existed.

Synching a new phone siphons all your numbers if they don’t exist as Gmail contacts. Ask me how I know.  I synched my phone to Gmail and whoosh! All those contacts vaporized. Which I didn’t realize. And then, tra la la, I go to check my email on the laptop. And Windows Live Mail talked to the server and decided I meant  to remove elebenty-hundred names and addresses.

Before I figured this sequence out, I immediately flipped, thinking I’d been invaded by malware and disconnected the system hard drive (no sense in having this spread), threw up, ran scans, threw up again, found nothing on scan, cried on Eden Winters, and then got my act together. Restore point! I went back to a point behind the sync, and  YAY! my contacts are back.

Why this worked I am not sure: restoring doesn’t promise to affect data. But it’s back, I am happy if empty, and I am taking some of those “horse is gone, time to lock barn” precautions.

I exported my contact list from Windows Live Mail (don’t judge, it’s a program I know how to use) as a csv file, which is a handy feature. Go into Contacts, and the ribbon at the top has an Export button.  Click that, choose the fields you want to export with the ticky boxes (I chose them all, my contacts are a messy lot), and it walks you through picking where to save. I now have the file on my hard drive, my thumb drive, my external hard drive, and my cloud storage. And should I ever experience this joy again, I can suck all that info back in from whatever form is handiest, using the Import button right there at the top of the screen.

Backing up my contact list is going to have to be a regular part of my maintenance, because I just demonstrated how easily I can foul myself up.

3 responses to “Gutwrench and panic redux

  1. Scary! I have my contacts at contacts.google.com – it does synch with my Android phone, which is backed up automagically. But inspired by your story, I just exported my contacts to a spreadsheet, where they will now get backed up by Carbonite, too.

    • Chris, that’s a great idea. In all the backups I do, email contacts never once crossed my mind.

      • I used to have all my contacts on a Palm. I changed computers and ended up not being able to synch the Palm with the new computer, nor access the synched data I’d brought along from my old computer. I ended up typing my contacts on the computer from the Palm. Grrrrrr.

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