tears from lost workHow To Avoid Tears from Lost Work

by Marg McAlister


If you don't plan for it, you can bet it will happen: somewhere, somehow, sometime, you will experience some sort of computer disaster that means all or part of your hard work is lost. This is what can happen:

  • Software can malfunction. A program can do unexpected things and 'eat' your work (see my friend's experience above), or it can shut down without saving your work. It can be subject to a virus and stop working, or be re-programmed to do horrible things to your files.

  • Your computer can malfunction. Your hard disk can die, your disk become corrupt, or your USB stick stop working.

  • You can lose everything - computer and backup files/external hard drive - to fire, storm, floods or thieves.

  • You can lose or damage your laptop and all that is on it.

You can see the message coming through here: even if you back up your work to three different places, it is still possible to lose all of them (unless you store disks off site with a friend). However, most of us simply don't get around to keeping disks at a friend's house, or even emailing them a copy of the manuscript.

One of your best options is to use an online backup service. Essentially, you're doing the same thing that you do if you have a website - you send files to be kept on a server somewhere else, where they can be accessed remotely. I'll use MOZY Home Backup as an example, since this has achieved consistently good reviews from users. I've found this works well for me, because Mozy 'nags' me to do a backup if I haven't done one for a few days!

This is how it works. Mozy has options for home users and business, but I'll focus on the home user.

  1. You sign up for an account. Once you do that, you can download Mozy/Home software.

  2. Install the software (there are step-by-step instructions).

  3. Choose the files you want to be backed up. This can be anything from your manuscript to your photos. Note: it takes quite a long while to upload files, so start off with your most essential files and then you can work away in the background while Mozy is busily uploading the not-so-important files.

  4. You can schedule times to back up your work (e.g. every night, once a week) and Mozy does the rest.

  5. After the initial backup, Mozy only backs up files that have been added to or changed - so this makes subsequent backups very fast.

That's it. I opted to pay in full for a year (which cost me just over $50 USD) because I had too many files for the free version and I didn't want to have monthly deductions, but you can pay monthly.

The best thing of all: if you ONLY want to back up your manuscript, you can use the free version, which gives you 2 GB backup space - no setup fee, no payments, no expiration. 2 GB is plenty for text-only manuscripts; you can probably back up all your old manuscripts as well.

 Go here to find out more about Mozy:



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