08/06/2010 • 12:28 PM 0
Sorry to scare you with that headline, but let’s face it, it’s going to happen. Your disk won’t last forever. At some point, system restore won’t work. Your motherboard will die and you’ll be faced with the blue screen of death. Hemingway’s wife lost his fiction on the train. You’ve got similar problems heading your way eventually. Entropy takes its price in our blood and—in the case of an author with a dead computer—tears.
How will you save your book? Where will your most precious files be? Have you printed everything out? Are you ready to find and retype all that? I didn’t think so. Me, neither.
SOLUTION 1: The cheapest backup is your own email. Label it well so you can find it again and store it on your email server. Just email it to yourself.Google allows you to do the same thing with a slightly fancier interface. When the end of your computer comes, your masterpiece will be somewhere that isn’t on your computer. That’s good, though slow retrieval file by file could be a real bitch.
SOLUTION 2: I’ve tried a dedicated external backup drive. I hate it. It’s cumbersome and the disk filled up too quickly. It was so frustrating to use it sits on my desk disconnected. The user interface sucked and it just couldn’t seem to do the job without confusing me. That’s $70 gone. (I got it on sale or I’d be $40 angrier.) If you’re a masochist, you could buy one, too.
SOLUTION 3: Carbonite. For about $55 bucks a year, this service will copy everything and, when the end comes, restore it quickly and easily. It will be as if your old computer’s ghost is resurrected on your new computer. Carbonite, I believe, is the best solution.* I signed up for the free trial once I heard about it from the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast. It works on the upload while you aren’t using your computer and its workings did not interfere with my work (unlike my TrendMicro security program! Grr!) Peace of mind is easily worth $55 a year.
*I’m not a shill for Carbonite. I’m just a believer.
And now my books, and all their many drafts, are safe.