01 August, 2007

Back Up Your Files Day

It's the first of the month which means it's Back Up Your Files day. Since its official scribosphere inauguration last month the government emailed me and asked for permission to use it in a national campaign for non-writers. I told them to take a hike.

Those of us who have finished our Red Planet Prize scripts, or busily revising old ones or even those who haven't started yet but have a few research, character and story notes should be backing up the files. Wouldn't it be funny if there was a crash just before you were about to email your entry off? Perhaps 'funny' isn't the right word.

Potsy mentioned last month about sending an email attachment to herself which is a good short-term - or even long-term - method in this age of unlimited web email storage.

When I'm working on a script, I save every ten minutes and I back it up daily - simply by copying it across to my USB flash drive/memory stick. Actually I have two flash drives and sometimes copy it across to both, if I'm feeling especially paranoid. Takes much less time than writing it all out again from scratch. But what about finished scripts, notes, research bookmarks, articles and photos of Paris Hilton?

There is back-up software - both shareware and otherwise - which does it automatically, but just burning it all to a DVD will do. Ideally you should keep the copy in another room or at work or in the car or at a relative's or in your bank. It can save so much future hassle for so very little present-day hassle.

I think that ideally should your computer crash or be nicked, the emotional impact should be negligible as anything important should be on a CD, DVD, flash drive or external hard-drive and can be restored easily.

While I ensured I have my iTunes backed up on my computer I didn't back up my iPod and so when it died last week I had lost everything. Luckily, I had a copy of all the songs elsewhere anyway and can re-rip the CDs if necessary.

In case you don't though while Apple make it difficult to back-up iPod files (you have to burn the music to a CD and then rip the CD) there is specialist software which can do it like iPodRip.

Don't delay, do it today. It's Back Up Your Files Day, hooray!

How to decide what data to back up

Back up manually or use Windows XP Backup utility

How to choose an external storage format for backup files

Mac OS X: How to back up and restore your files

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