Everyone and their brother will be posting Thanksgiving related blogs today, but I have something different to put forth: the importance of backing up your computer!
Husband and I have just been through the ringer trying to save our computer from obliteration after a nasty malware virus infected it. It was quite the odyssey!
First we took it to our trusty computer guru who has worked on it before, and assumed he'd just work his normal techie voodoo and all would be well in a day or so. He assumed so, too. But when the voodoo didn't work, he tried something else. Then something else. Then something else. Then.....well, you get the idea. I don't understand enough about how computers work to be able to explain what happened, but nothing he tried worked and he ended up having to store all of our personal files to an external hard drive, then wiping our computer clean and reinstalling Windows.
Windows XP: soon to be obsolete!
All of this took 6 days, during which I had his phone number memorized as I was constantly calling him for updates while I pulled my hair out, and he added me to his stalker list and contemplated going into a witness protection program to avoid me.
Six days of which I fretted and moaned and cried and dreaded the possibility that we were going to lose everything on the computer. I mean, think about it. In this day and age, who doesn't have their entire life stored on their computer? Photos. Financial records. Saved emails, scanned legal papers, documents created for stories, schoolwork assignments, diaries, downloaded music (legally, of course!).....everything! Most worrisome for me were the photos. Documents and the like can be recreated, music can be re-purchased and re-ripped, but photos....no. I mean it's not like you can resurrect the dead and restage a photo, or go back in time and retake it, right?
Digital photos are great, but no automatic hard copy or negatives to keep!
Finally, finally, all was ok and our little outdated and oh-so-ancient [insert sarcastic voice here] computer was back at home, safe and sound yesterday (I say that because it was hinted numerous times that we should think about upgrading to a new computer. I hate forced obsolescence!). The computer guru dropped it off at our house and said he never wanted to see us again and that he was changing his phone number. Not really, but I wouldn't be surprised if he had.
Anyway, now that the ordeal is over, I realized that I never want to be put in that position again....that full-of-dread, helpless feeling that your most vital and precious items stored on the computer could just be wiped out in the blink of an eye. Poof. Gone. I learned my lesson: back up, back up, back up! Oh, and invest in a good antivirus protection software - don't rely on the free stuff, which is what we had been doing. But that goes without saying. Back up, back up, back up!
I'll be spending my Thanksgiving vacation methodically going through files and saving them to outside sources: flash drives, discs, and online photo storage sites. Hard copies of your most important documents and photos inside a bank safety deposit box is a good idea too. Of course nothing is infallible, that's why it's important to back up to multiple sources so in case one fails, you still have your stuff. You could lose your computer due to theft, fire, even a bad coffee spill too, viruses aren't the only culprit!
Do you have back up sources for your most precious documents? Or is it on your to-do list?
Oh, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!