ALWAYS have a back-up

My computer has been on the fritz for several days now (probably about two weeks). I set it down non-too gently upon our floor and it didn’t like that very much. However, I thought that by closing out of all of the windows that I always keep open and restarting it would let it rest and reboot, and be a bit happier with me again. Boy, was I wrong.

Quite the opposite thing happened, it wouldn’t turn on at all! I was absolutely horrified. I kept EVERYTHING on my computer: my patterns, measurements, future ideas for crafting, photos of my little family, videos that I was in the process of putting together about my little family…probably my entire life was on that computer. I seriously believe that macbooks are far superior in every way to PC’s, and didn’t think that I would ever have to deal with a full-blown crash. I still believe that apple computers are far better than PC’s, but now I know that they can also crash just as hard and with no previous warning.

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Thankfully, I am married to a computer genius (especially when it comes to apple products), and he was able to retrieve all of the data that had been stored on my computer. Upsettingly, the fairly new terabyte hard drive of my computer is no longer in working order. I am currently working from an ipad, which is quite a bit different and is going to take some getting used to indeed.

Anyways, how about a couple of lists for you guys? Some things that you *need* to have a hard copy of, some reasons why to always have a back-up, and some tips on keeping track of everything digital.

Let’s start with what needs to be on paper.  Yes, I know that the world is becoming more and more digital as the years go by, but there really are a few things that are best kept written down, on paper, in a fire-proof box.

  • Legal documentation.  Tax numbers/information.
  • Receipts of previous sales.  Or just any records thereof.
  • Paperworks.  If you have a website, go ahead and print off all the forms that go with that.
  • Your own policies.  Digital copies can easily be manipulated, so make sure that all of your policies are printed off, dated and signed.
  • The budget.  How much money did you make versus how much you spent.  What did you spend it on?

The big “IF” question that lingers in the back of everyone’s mind will thank you tremendously for having hard copies of all these files.  Oh, you know the question: “What if _________?”  Well, if you have all of the documentation, paperwork, and everything on paper, then that “IF” question will become a lot more quiet and tolerable.  And then there is always the “Better safe than sorry” phrase that needs to be considered here.

See title
See title (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, on to the obvious list of “Why to have a back-up in the first place”?

  • Better safe than sorry.
  • Accidents happen.
  • Computers aren’t always predictable and may crash without any warning or sign thereof.
  • How far will you be set back in your business if you lose everything digital?

In school, while typing up research papers, you hear the phrase “Save often”, and the same can be applied here.  It’s easy to become too reliant on computers and the ease of this digital world.  However, don’t forget that paper is *much* more reliable.  And, if you put those papers in a fire proof safe, you can rest easy knowing that all of the important stuff is being kept safe and easily accessible when you need it.

Now, I am sure that you are probably asking, “if I back-up everything, where do I put it all, and how do I keep track of what goes where?”  That’s a very fair question, and this brings us to our last and final list which is more of an “idea generator”.

  • A fire-resistant home safe
    A fire-resistant home safe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Use a thumb drive.  Or a jump drive.  Whatever you call it, you can get a cheap little memory stick from almost any convenient store that should be plenty big enough to hold all of the important documentation.

  • You’ve got the organization that you use on your main computer, right?  Well, just copy and paste that organization right onto the memory drive.  Piece of cake.
  • Using a bunch of small storage devices?  LABEL them, and keep them all located in one safe spot.  Maybe you use one for the photos of your products, another for the word documentation, another for patterns and tutorials.  I think that this is a great idea, because now, when one of your devices crashes, you aren’t left with nothing to work with.

It can be easy to lose track of everything when they are all on one computer.  Organization is going to be even more important when you have these documents in multiples in different locations.  Try to keep everything as neatly coordinated as possible.

This is one of those “Learn from my mistakes” sort of blog posts.  I now have to go and locate all of the files that I had on my computer, cross my fingers that everything really was retrievable, print off what should have been printed off MONTHS ago, and do a lot of re-organizing.  I got off really blessed this time, but next time things might not go so well for me.

What about you?  Do you have any “My computer just crashed and I lost everything” sort of story?  What did you learn from your experience, and did those lessons stick for very long?  I know that I would certainly love to hear about it and I’m sure my other readers would too!!!

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