The most stressful moment in my career thus far had nothing to do with a presentation or a particularly challenging project. No, the most stressful moment came after I’d finished a project…and my computer crashed. How can you avoid the same fate? Read on…
Today’s question is from Brent A. who asks, “Now that I’m freelancing, my life is on my computer. I’m paranoid that it will be stolen or something will happen. Do you have any tips for protecting what’s on it?”
Here’s a simple (if unpleasant) fact of life: At some point, your computer will die. You’ll go to turn it on, the screen will turn a weird color and everything that you’ve been saving on that computer will be lost to the world.
It gets me stressed out just thinking about it.
And because this a fact of life, there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. That is, you can’t prevent your computer from dying—but you can prevent your information from being lost. And, quite probably, you from disappointing your clients.
If you are not using an automatic backup program on your computer, you must start using one. Now. (Well, finish the article—then get to it!)
An automatic backup program will run in the background and save any changes that you make to documents. Why is this so important? Well, chances are, if you’re manually backing up the files on your computer to an external hard drive or cloud or something like that, you only do it once in a while. Or less frequently, if you’re kind of lazy about that stuff like I am.
But automatic software is backing up your files regularly and then dumping the old versions to save space. So, say, you wrote the most genius copy of your life one night and the next morning your computer is dead. You can visit the software company’s site and retrieve the last saved version of your copy. Now, depending on when the back-up ran, it might not be the absolute last version of your work—but it’s certainly better than nothing, isn’t it?
You have a couple of different options for software, but the most important thing to be sure of is that the software runs automatic backups, even while you’re working. I use Mozy, but I’ve also heard good things about Carbonite, NovaBackup and Rebit. They all cost a bit, but it’s certainly better than the price you’d pay when you don’t have copy to deliver to your client.
So, go now. Set up automatic backup and protect yourself from the inevitable!
Your turn! Has your computer ever died in the middle of a big project? Tell us about it in the comments below!