Lessons Learned From the Girl Who Never Backed Up Her Computer

For a long time, I thought computer backup was for tech geeks with lots of fancy code and precious data to protect. After all, my laptop is mainly a repository for vacation pics, favorite tunes, and a log of my copious online search history.

Then it happened. I got the screen of death and my laptop was no more. I desperately reached out to every IT professional I had even the slightest relationship with in hopes they could perform a miracle and save me. They all told me the same thing, “You should ALWAYS back up your computer.”

And now I’m telling you the same thing. To help you avoid the same tragic fate, here are the lessons I learned from not backing up my computer, plus some tips to help you overcome your backup phobia and get started saving your data right away.

Memories Last Forever But Photos Don’t

Computers replaced traditional photo albums. Every photo we take, whether it’s on a trip to Hawaii or a family reunion, ends up stored on our computer. When a computer crashes or the hard drive fails, photos are usually the most terrible loss that ensues.

If you use your computer as your backup for photo storage, but don’t ever backup your computer, you may as well have deleted your precious pics as soon as you took them. You’d better hope your memory lasts because in most cases, there will be no way to restore all those snapshots if your computer goes kaput.

There’s a Reason That Big Project Took Months to Prepare

Even though you may mourn the loss of your photos first, losing valuable work is just as devastating. Most companies automatically backup all computers on their network, but if you’re doing extra work from home or if you’re self-employed, you need to handle that part yourself. Nothing’s worse than getting ready to put the finishing touches on a big presentation only to discover all your work is gone. (Yes, that also happened.)

Starting from scratch with less than 24 hours to the big meeting is something you don’t ever want to experience. (Trust me.)

It’s Nearly Impossible to Replace All Your Music

It’s difficult to comprehend the black hole left behind when all your favorite albums vanish from your life. Not only is it expensive to replace them, but it’s really hard to remember all the music you stored on your computer. If you transferred all your CDs to your laptop, you’ll find rebuilding your collection to be a daunting task.

Writing a New Resume Is No Fun

You finally got your resume exactly how you want it and now your faulty computer swallowed it up along with everything else. If nothing else on this list convinces you to start backing up your computer, the prospect of having to cobble together a new resume should be the impetus you need. This is something we often don’t think about until we need it, but it’s a special kind of torture to have to create a brand new one because your computer died.

Backing Up Your Computer Is Easier Than You Think

The silver lining to a terrible computer annihilation is that you become highly motivated to figure out this whole backup thing. And it turns out that backing up your computer isn’t as complicated as you feared. There are several simple options to protect your photos, music, resume, and work projects.

  • External Backup — Storing files on a device other than your computer is a smart, easy way to back up your information. You can use a common thumb drive or an external hard drive. A thumb drive is easy but has limited capacity, so if you have a large amount of data you want to keep safe, you might need multiple drives to do it. Thumb drives are also small, and therefore can be easily misplaced. An external hard drive can store more data and, because it doesn’t fit easily in your purse, is a lot more difficult to accidentally lose.
  • Cloud Backup — Backing up your data online is a great option because it allows you to store (and access) data from multiple devices. It also keeps your information safe even if disaster strikes; a fire or flood won’t touch the Cloud, but they could destroy any physical backup device you store in your home.

Concern about security and hackers is the only drawback to Cloud storage. However, there are ways to keep your data safe. Look for plans with double authentication protocols and be sure to make your passwords as difficult to hack as possible.

Avoid the headaches and heartache that come with a devastating computer crash by making backup a regular part of your routine. And you don’t have to choose just one backup method. When it comes to keeping your data and information intact, the more methods you use the merrier. Find a reliable Cloud storage system and use an external hard drive — then you’re doubly protected in the event that something happens.

Sarah Pike

Sarah Pike has her BA in Communication and her MA in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Communication. She has experience in teaching, PR, marketing, and politics. When she's not teaching or writing, she's probably binge-watching RomComs, volunteering, or planning her next vacation. She also enjoys following far too many celebrities than she should on Instagram.

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