BACK IT ALL UP!

I was just reminded of something. I go long periods and don’t think about it, but I shouldn’t, and neither should you. By “you” I mean absolutely everyone. Whatever you do — write, take pictures, or whatever — if you do it on a computer, back it up. I learned the hard way.

ILOVEYOU (aka Love Letter), was a computer worm that attacked tens of millions of PCs on and shortly after May 5, 2000. It showed up as an email message with the subject “ILOVEYOU” and an attachment: “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.txt.vbs”. The  ‘VBS’ file extension was typically hidden by default on PCs back then. It wasn’t on my computer, but I worked on a development team on my computer at home — an early telecommuter — so it wasn’t unusual for me to get files full of code as part of my job.

external HD

It took a mere few seconds to destroy every single jpeg on my computer. That represented all of the photographs I had ever taken that I was storing on my hard drive, more than a decade of family and artistic pictures. It only took a few hours for a fix to be created and distributed, but it was too late for me.

I had been backing up to CDs, but I hadn’t backed up my photos, only financial records and my writing because that was work-related.

I lost hundreds, maybe thousands, of photographs.

External hard drives existed, but they were uncommon and expensive — very expensive. Now, there’s no excuse. You can get a huge external hard drive for short money. I back up intermittently to my two external drives, but a make sure to move files between my laptop and my big desktop everyday, and I save things online too

Eventually, I have 3 or 4 copies of everything, not counting whatever I store online. I don’t feel it’s too much. You can’t have too many backups of things that are important.

Even if it doesn’t seem very important. it can suddenly become very important if you have lost it forever and can never replace it. Back everything up. If it’s important enough to save it on your hard drive, it’s important enough to back up.

You can, for example, get a 3 TB external Seagate drive from Amazon for $139 including shipping. One and two terabyte drives are less expensive. If you don’t like that, there are ample choices for every budget. Don’t make excuses. One day, something bad will happen. A hard drive dies on you. It happens. It has happened to me twice. The first time, it was a secondary hard drive and I got enough warning to get my stuff off the drive. The second time, a message in a black  message box — I’ve never seen one like that before or since — appeared on my screen saying that there was a problem with my hard drive, back up now. By the time I finished reading the message, everything was gone.

But that time, everything was backed up. It was an inconvenience, not a catastrophe. I had learned my lesson.

You don’t have to learn the hard way. Back it up. All of it.



Categories: Computers, Software, Technology

Tags: , , ,

16 replies

  1. I’ve got 6 backup drives connected to my computer. I hear you loud and clear. It helps having Chris in the computer business.

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  2. It’s true, I guess “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” is very apt for the stuff on our hard drives. Can I also mention that especially for people who don’t use an online back up as one of their options having one of your back up drives stored at another location is not a bad idea either. I haven’t done this with mine yet but intend to because I know I would hate to lose all my photos.

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  3. Don’t I know it?

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  4. I can imagine the punch to the gut you felt when your pictures were wiped. Been there, on a smaller scale, but been there.
    I’ve got the external hard drive. The trick is to remember to use it. So I have a calendar item set up to notify me by email twice monthly.

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    • That’s the trick. It’s like getting expensive skin care products, but you don’t use them because … whatever so the magic just doesn’t happen. I have mine (one of mine, anyhow) on automatic. I have no idea if the actual backup it makes would actually be of any use if I needed it, though!

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  5. My desktop bid me good bye last week- the old girl just gave up- thankfully I back up everyday(pre set to do it) and did not lose a thing. Great reminder…

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  6. I am thinking of it a lot… I can’t afford those external drives right now, so I back up my photographs on CD’s and USB. I do not want to lose that!

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  7. Thanks for the reminder. I am going to do a back up to my external hard drive right now.

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