Back it up! And don’t quit while you’re ahead

RIP laptop
I looked at my calendar today and realized that this week more or less marks the end of the first month of school. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a quarter of the first academic term already over. Congratulations if you’ve made it out somewhat alive! Many of us were thankful to be given the Thanksgiving weekend to catch up on readings and study for midterms and such. Personally, I just exited vacation mode and started kicking into gear, which led me to the library all weekend. Now whether you’re seriously behind, right on top of things or already reading ahead, I have one strong suggestion: take a couple minutes and BACK IT UP. That’s right, I said back it up! And I’m not saying this because I want you all to slack off so I can feel a little bit better about myself being so behind. What I really mean is you should take some time to back up your second brain (i.e. computer or laptop). This is something that is often overlooked but extremely important. Trust me. I definitely learned the hard way... Just last week, my dad warned me and told me to back up all of my files when I had a chance. Unfortunately, I was way too stubborn and told myself I was way too busy. I figured when midterm season calmed down I would have the chance. Little did I know, this was a critical moment and all those files of notes and essay outlines I had been working on earlier this weekend were soon to disappear and it would be back to square one. On top of that, listening to my dad say, "I told you so" over and over in his smug voice was another reminder to not let this one happen again. Better now than down the road during finals week! So if you are already into the habit of saving files you are working on every now and then by simply hitting “ctrl + s”, you’re halfway there. Backing up your computer files basically means taking a copy of your original files and storing them away from the harm of deletion, viruses or hard drive failure. There are several ways to do this and on most laptops it is a built-in feature. Check out the control panel settings for your PC or Mac. The best way to get started is to take all of the important files, folders and media (notes, essays, photos, etc.) on your computer and put them in one zipped folder you can label “Back up”. Then from there, you can choose to transfer this on to a CD-R, DVD, USB flash drive or an internal/external hard drive. You can even choose to back up files on an online server. In fact, apart from backing up all my files, I often upload files to Google Documents so I can quickly refer to them from any computer anywhere. Wherever you decide to store your back-up files, make sure they are away from their original location and somewhere you can easily turn to if your computer crashes. Depending on the amount of data you are backing up, the time the backup transfer takes will vary. So make sure you find a time when your computer can be on and you won’t be using the files. I like to label my back up folders with the date of the last time I transferred updates. Get into the habit of regularly backing up your files – whether it’s weekly or monthly. So don’t delay, do it today! Seriously. You’d rather lose it now before you REALLY lose it farther into the school year (and by losing it, I’m not only referring to computer files). I sense an early grave is in my laptop’s future but thankfully, its spirit can live on with what backup files I was able to salvage. Unfortunately, besides being put behind in my studies, I had a really exciting post in the works that is now lost to cyberspace. But maybe I’ll save it and rewrite it for a rainy day – because on a side note, the weather this Thanksgiving weekend was absolutely fantastic! At least I have something else besides those back up files to be thankful for. Danielle

3 comments on “Back it up! And don’t quit while you’re ahead

  1. i learned this the hard way. upload all your important files (to gmail, hotmail, etc…), or use microsoft’s SyncToy 2.0 to easily sync your important folders to a usb drive.

  2. I recommend saving yourself the money you would spend on an external hard drive if you’re so inclined and trying Dropbox! It works with PCs or Macs from what I’m told (I only have a PC) and this handy website/download has saved me more than once. You can backup your files and access them on your computer or one around campus. Yay for technology!

  3. “Yesterday,
    All those backups seemed a waste of pay,
    Now my database has gone away,
    Oh I believe in yesterday.
    There´s not half the files there used to be,
    And there’s a millstone hanging over me
    The system crashed so suddenly.
    I pushed something wrong
    What it was I could not say.
    Now all my data’s gone
    And I long for yesterday-ay-ay-ay.
    The need for backups seemed so far away,
    I knew my data was all here to stay,
    Now I believe in yesterday.”

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