Don't you just hate these sort of problems? Everything's going fine when all of a sudden the computer... crashes... freezes... explodes, sending shards all over your room. Take a pick of word.
My computer is acting like a toddler at the moment and continually chucks temper tantrums. Ever since I removed the Blue Screen of Death from the computer, it has now decided that it LOVES shutting down at irregular intervals, especially when I'm working hard on something. I'm pretty sure it also turns on whenever it wants because I come down in the morning and it's on... go figure.
With this "problem" it is reminding me of how valuable backing up work regularly... I'm so glad Blogger saves draft posts or it would take me forever to get one post done.
So, what are some ways to back up files your working on?
This may be the easies way to save, but it also puts your files at risk if it's the only place you save it to. If the computer crashes and you can't access the files, then how are you going to retrieve all your hard work. So, the secret here is to save to the computer, but also have a second, third or forth place which have duplicates just in case this way fails.
USB Thumb drives/external hard drives:
Another quick way is to carry a USB drive around (you can get pretty big sizes now) and the thumb drives are portable enough to carry in your pocket or wallet so you have it wherever you go. Just plug it into the computer and transfer the files with a simple click, drag and drop... that simple.
The external hard drive is a good alternative if you have large files or videos that you need to back up.
Just like The USB, it's another good source to have a backup. It's not as simple as the USB and requires burning software to copy the files, but most computers come with some form of burning software as long as you have a CD burner on the computer.
I use this a lot, especially when I'm not working on my files on my computer or am too lazy to track down one of my USB sticks that I know are floating around the house somewhere (yeah, I'm very organised). The trick is to regularly e-mail yourself the versions of your work and save them in a particular folder that's easily accessible, that way if you ever lose the original file, you'll always have the back up in the email program, you'll just have to track down the e-mail you want when you need it.
Online Backup (Drop boxes):
Just like a USB or hard drive, but instead of saving it to a physical means, you're actually saving it on the internet so that it's easy to access from any computer with internet connection. One example is http://www.dropbox.com/.
These are just like the online drop boxes, but they also bring together a community of people from across the globe with a common hobby/aim. These places are not just good for uploading your work, but you can also choose to allow other people to see it and accept reviews. These communities are also a great way to find beta readers/critique groups or practice your craft because a lot of people host contests or lessons to help other members.
One community I have been an active member of is Writing.com. This website is committed to helping other writers improve. There are a range of activities that one can join that ranges from contests to classes to review/critique groups. I have met so many good writers there through the YA critique group I am a member of.
So, here is a list of possible options available to protect a piece of work that you spend hours/days/months/even years in some cases perfecting. The secret with backing up a file is to make sure it's saved to two or more places (just think, the more places it's saved, the least likely it is going to be lost if technology is out to get you one day... and it does happen).
How do you back up your files? Do you constantly save, or am one (like me) who constantly forgets to save their work until the worst-case scenario hits?