It’s April Fool’s day, and for many that means playing pranks and fooling around. My April Fool’s came early, and I wish it was a prank. Yesterday, a member of my family (I won’t name names) downloaded a malicious virus on my personal computer. We’re talking the kind of virus that reaches out and downloads dozens of other programs and in the process sends hundreds upon hundreds of pop-ups and errors flooding the screen. It even breeches barriers between user accounts, and sinks its teeth into the hard drive itself.
The problem with this type of virus is that you can never be sure that you have removed all of its components. Even when it seems the crisis is over, there might be something lurking inside waiting for you to let your guard down. We had two options, wipe the entire drive clean and start over, or buy a new hard drive and very carefully load needed programs and files on it.
We were in need of an upgrade anyway, so we chose the latter. I am now the proud owner of a solid state 260 GB hard drive. It’s fast, it’s quiet, and is now free of any irritating bugs. The kids are no longer allowed to use my personal computer, they have one of their own so it’s not like they’re missing out.
Until we had finished replacing the hard drive and reloading everything back onto it, I had no assurance that the manuscript I had worked on for the past five years was safe. My last back up was months ago, and the thought of having to re-edit all of those chapters once more makes me want to cry. Had I been more proactive in backing up my work, this wouldn’t have been an issue. I wouldn’t have had to worry as much.
I used to keep the files saved on both my hard drive and on a USB key. It was so easy to back it up this way that I didn’t forget to do it. Then, I changed my writing software. The new filing system made it more complicated to save it to the USB and I didn’t do it. Every few months my darling hubby would ask me to send him a back up copy, just in case, and I would avoid it because most of the time I couldn’t get the program to create and export a usable backup file.
That’s what I get for using free software. I have purchased new software, Scrivner, and I plan to plug my project into it as soon as I finish this draft, which I hope will be soon. With it, one of the first things I’m going to do is figure out the best way to back up my project files and save them off site.
Let this be a lesson to you! Back up your work, do it often, and do it in more than one place.
And as always,