Tag Archives: backup

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.

Gut-wrench and panic

fearI just read a nausea-inducing  horror story. No, Steven King had nothing to do with it. Nor, this time, did a plagiarist. (More on that later.) You wouldn’t pay money for this–you don’t ever want to get closer to it than these posts on the internet.

It was a day like any other, for a writer who goes by Joe Nobody, when

Yesterday, after lunch, I stopped by a local Houston Walmart to pick up a case of ice tea.

After 15 minutes in the store, I came out to find my pickup truck with a busted window.

My computer bag was gone, on it were 3 WIPs, one of which was a day or two from going to editing (a novel over 100,000 words).

The parking lot cameras weren’t working. The cop was useless, the store manager annoyed at my distraction.

On the way home, it started pouring rain. I, having no window, didn’t appreciate that.

No problem on the books – I’ve got it backed up…

Believe it or not, it gets worse. Much worse. and it wasn’t the car open to the elements or the truck’s battery running down.

Because he thought he had it covered on the backups. And he didn’t.

The system he depended on to make him whole after this sort of disaster wasn’t functioning correctly, and that one misstep took his story from a highly aggravating, horribly inconveniencing violation of personal space to all that plus outright disaster.

Joe lost three WIPS, what might have been years of work, for lack of a backup, even though he’d taken steps to prevent that. All except the last step of verifying that his backups worked before he needed them. Considering he was using what is purported to be a reliable system, it’s not hard to imagine skipping that step, fatal though it turned out to be.

I’ve just come from backing up my WIPs: everything else is on a couple different forms of media already. Media that I’ve checked for function. If I drop the laptop into a lake, my files are still accessible on a thumb drive, a couple of system external hard drives, and the cloud. I’m pretty sure Google won’t crash, but then I’m also pretty sure the house isn’t going to burn and take thumb drives and external hard drives with it either. But I’m not taking chances, and as final insurance, my betas get regular email updates, which is offsite backup as well as being very helpful to the story. (Inbox, outbox, and betas’ computers.)

Maybe you aren’t an author, but this still applies. What about your beloved collection of ebooks? Pictures? When Mat Honan of Wired Magazine got hacked,  he lost years of pictures of his growing children, his only copies.

So go, back up your data in something offsite and unattached to your main system. Because horror stories are only fun when you can close the book.