Saturday, April 5, 2008

Automated backups saved my bacon

How Allway sync saved my bacon: Since I write at several different computers, I store my working manuscripts on a USB drive -- you know, one of those thumb drives. They are very handy. I’ve been doing this for several years and have had nary a problem. Taking my own advice since I’ve told people time and time again to back up data because, “it not if you’ll lose data, its when” I performed backups every week or so. But – it was up to me to remember to do them.

I should have smelled trouble coming last month when I opened a Word file I’d been working on and it was corrupted. Fortunately, I had a recent backup. I did lose about an hour’s work, but I took it in stride.

Something told me I ought to do a better job of backing up my files, so I searched around and found this program called Allway Sync. You load it on your USB drive and tell it what folders to backup. It came as a free evaluation version so I tested it once and thought “kind of cool.” Then I forgot about it.

The bytes hit the fan last Monday. I was in the middle of printing a copy of a manuscript to send off when an error message popped up and the printing stopped. (The Word document for the script was on the USB drive.) I cancelled the printing and tried again. No dice. I closed the document and tried to reopen it. Word said it couldn’t find it.

I tried rebooting. Now the computer saw NOTHING on the USB drive. Something must be wrong with the port, I thought. I tried another port on the same computer with no luck. I pulled the USB drive and tried it on another computer. Still no luck. Drat!

Now I began to count my costs. I hadn’t done a backup in a couple of weeks. If I’ve lost everything on the drive, I was looking at a major computer file catastrophe. I looked at all of the manual backups I’d performed and the latest one was two weeks old. Draw! Drat!

I broke out in a cold sweat – not really, but I did get mad (at myself.) Then I remembered Allway Sync. I opened it up and saw where I’d set as the backup folder. I rushed to the folder and saw that it had backed up my USB the night before -- automatically -- without me even knowing it! Eureka! My bacon was not fried!

Believe me, I quickly paid cold hard cash ($20) to make the evaluation version into a registered version.

Now, I know that there are other backup programs out there and other methods of backing up (over the Internet for example.) Choose one you like, but choose one. I say again – it's not if you’ll lose your computer files… its when. Do you have your files on automated backup?

No comments: