My computer completely crashed. My hard drive fried and I had to start from scratch. That means I (and by I in these instances I almost always mean Bj) had to format my hard drive. You should know what formatting means if you have a digital camera because formatting is the best way to clean off a memory card after you import photos (simply deleting them leaves you with a messy card and can cause problems). When you format a hard drive on a computer you’re left with a computer like you’d get new. It’s empty, it has none of your applications, preferences, files, photos, or anything else on it. Does that sounds scary? If you don’t back up your computer it should scare you!
I’m not trying to brag here, but I’ve got a pretty good system in place for not downloading crap, keeping myself from getting viruses and generally being very responsible with my computer. Still a legit program brought my computer down because of an incompatibility that I hadn’t addressed. A tiny little over site (I have to calibrate my monitor for printing with pro labs and the software was out of date so it set off a chain of events). Really your computer could crash at any time, and statistically will crash, probably before you want it to.
So how do I have a sweet little picture of a baby up there when it should be in computer file wasteland? I BACK MY STUFF UP AND YOU SHOULD TOO! I admit that my system is maybe a bit of an over kill, but I do have other people’s memories to worry about. Here’s what I do (basically, because the technical stuff is all Bj): I have external hard drives sitting right behind my computer, plugged in and my time machine is constantly backing them up. Then they back each other up. One of the drives is extra large and has everything on it one more time (redundancy is the key, you must assume something will fail you). Once a month that extra large drive goes to a safe deposit box (really any where off site will work) and another comes back in it’s place. This is because I feel if someone came to steal my computer they’d probably take the drives, and if there was a fire, everything would be toast, so I want something off site. That’s my system. It seems crazy, and it actually took me a while to make myself put it into place. These things do take time away from taking pictures, scrapbooking, sewing, etc. Now that it is in place though it is pretty easy to keep up. Of course re-installing programs, and putting everything back onto the computer when it crashed was a lot of work (a couple long nights for Bj), but it is so awesome that everything I was working on is right at my finger tips again (the only thing I don’t back up is my desktop, because it’s a temporary holding place for me, so I do loose a few things if I have things only there, but usually they’re copies of files).
So I can not stress this enough. If you have all your photos on your computer, and mail messages, and files and applications, and heck phone back ups, you need to be backing up! There are online sites that can help (you up load your stuff to a cloud) if you have a smaller amount of data. Find something that works for you and make it a priority. Trust me, if this can happen to me, it can happen to you.