4.13.15 34

PSA: Back Up Your Computer

The working title of this post, albeit less unprofessional than the real one, is ‘Back Dat Sh*t Up.’ Trust me on this one—I had to wipe my hard drive clean this weekend. (Fair warning, I totally sound like a digital-native diva today.)

It all started Saturday morning when I woke up early to be productive before a day at the vineyard to celebrate my BFF’s birthday. That plan quickly died when I turned on my Macbook Pro—which is a young 18 months old—to see the dreaded “no Operating System” symbol flash up before my eyes.

55 minutes later on the phone with Will, my awesome Apple Care Support guru, and I hear the fateful question, “So tell me, do you have a Time Machine Backup Available? Because this isn’t looking good.”

No Will, no I don’t. That’s the type of thing people who never need a backup keep regularly updated. I, on the other hand, put ‘update external hard drive’ on my to-do list in December, and never quite got around to it.

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So after a day of merriment and Trader Joes hummus with some of the best people I know, I sat down and resorted my computer.

Luckily, my hard drive was not corrupt, so it is still working great. Unluckily, I hadn’t updated my external hard drive since November 2013. All my pictures, fonts, documents, software gone—you name it, I lost it.

But you know what? Sometimes aggressive mobile uploading pays off, and between Facebook and Shutterfly, I think I will be able to retrieve most of my pictures from the past year. Because I do most of schoolwork over Google Drive and work on my work computer, nothing major is lost there. And because I buy all my music through iTunes (I know, I know Spotify is rad), it was easy to get my music library back.

I did have to bid adieu to my bootlegged copy of the Adobe Creative Suite, but was able to take the opportunity to finally take the plunge and download Creative Cloud. It plays much nicer with my retina display than CS5 did, and I am excited to explore all the new features.

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So in an attempt to turn this huge time suck into a positive thing, I am trying to figure out how to make my computer more lean by only keeping the necessary files on my hard drive, and backing everything else up elsewhere—i.e. college essays, questionable photos from middle school, etc.

That’s where you come in—I’d love advice on how you back your files up. Do you use Time Machine if you’re a Mac User? Do you keep everything on an external hard drive that you manually copy over? Or, do you swear by a cloud management site like Dropbox?

I’d appreciate all the help I can get!

 ///

PS. Amidst all the file recovery, I also did some blog-keeping yesterday. Be sure to check out:

  • My updated About Me page, which includes both facts you can and cannot learn about me on LinkedIn + my disclosure policy.
  • A fresh selection of clothes and accessories for spring on Shop My Closet.
  • The new ‘Pin It’ button on all my blog images so you can easily save your favorites.
  • Easier-to-find social media handles since I am now katieurban_ on Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. (New bios, too! Anyone else find it hard to express themselves in 140 characters?)

Leave a Comment

34 Comments

  1. Ugh, the worst!! I’m glad you bounced back and got it figured out… hard drive issues are terrifying. I had an epic slew of computer issues in the fall and finally just bought a new external (the one I’d been using was disorganized and old and too full to do a Time Machine backup). Best idea ever! I do have to remember to plug it in (haven’t done it in 2 weeks oops :() but since I don’t want to pay for Dropbox annually, think this route works pretty well. Ideally I’d like to have Dropbox save my most important stuff too, so it’s doubly protected 🙂

    Published 4.13.15
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    • Katie wrote:

      Thanks Monica! It seems like everyone has a horror story or another at some point, I guess that is just the price we pay for digital living! My external hard drive is disorganized and old, so I think I need to do exactly what you do to save all your files. Thanks for the advice — it is SO appreciated.

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  2. Kate wrote:

    I do dropbox more than anything else because I’m a writer and am currently working on 2 books, so it’s super easy to update those files every time I finish working for the day. I hadn’t thought about everything like fonts and software, though – I really need to get a new external hard drive so I can back them up!

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    • Katie wrote:

      That’s so smart, Kate! What I like about Dropbox is that you can access your files from anywhere. Fonts and software will get you, especially if you have since misplaced the product keys! (Ahem, learn from my mistakes!)

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  3. Haley Vest wrote:

    Oh, no!! I am so sorry!! But great advice! Speaking of…. I should probably back my computer up….

    http://vestdressed.com

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    • Katie wrote:

      YES! Do it :] Don’t be like me!

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  4. Such great advice! I have had this problem before!

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    • Katie wrote:

      Sigh! It seems like everyone has a story.

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  5. Sara wrote:

    I had the exact same thing happen to me a few months ago – luckily I had backed it up fairly recently! My husband was able to replace my hard drive so the computer was saved!

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    • Katie wrote:

      So glad it worked out for you! What I am learning today is everyone seems to have a horror story. And so happy you didn’t have to buy a new computer!

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  6. Great pictures and I love the nail polish color. Check out the latest giveaway and thanks for sharing.

    Eye See Euphoria | http://www.eyeseeeuphoria.com/post/neo-nostalgia-giveaway

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    • Katie wrote:

      Thanks girl! xo

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  7. Maddy wrote:

    Oh no! So glad you were able to save most everything, but man is that a stress NO ONE needs on a pretty weekend. Oof.

    In terms of backing up, I don’t use Time Machine (because you need an external harddrive that will just look exactly like your computer) but I use Carbonite, which is a cloud-type-thing where it uploads an exact copy of my comp over the internet? So everytime I am on my wifi, it’s backing up a new copy (or every few days or so, I don’t know.) That makes me feel relatively secure.

    I also try once in a while, since I have FAR more pics than my comp hard drive can hold, to move pictures over to an external drive and delete them off my computer to save space/RAM/whatever computer speak. This may not be the best solution if something happens to those pics but they’re usually ones I’ve already posted and are therefore in WP/Flickr anyway.

    Just some ideas! 🙂

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    • Katie wrote:

      Maddy, I SO appreciate you taking the time to write me such fabulous advice. You truly are a life saver. And right?! At least I had wine to see me through ;]

      I LOVE the idea of Carbonite. I looked into it, and it seems like it might be the right fit for me. I also love the idea of moving older pictures you an external hard drive.

      You truly are a life saver! xo

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  8. Jamie wrote:

    Yes…been there done that! Now I keep my pictures on hard disk…backed up, uploaded, etc.! 🙂

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    • Katie wrote:

      So smart! thanks!

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  9. Louise wrote:

    The photographs in your posts are always so clean and gorgeous. Adore every shot! As to your advice. I’m actually on it as we speak. Tough it takes so long though..ughh. 🙂 x

    Louise
    http://louiseplace.com

    Published 4.13.15
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    • Katie wrote:

      Thanks Louise! I use a lot of “Death to the Stock Photo” pictures for post like this — be sure to check them out! They have a ton of free photos, meant for things like blogging!

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  10. I’m quite rubbish at backing up to be honest – I only do it when my computer gets totally full. We’ve got an external HDD where my fiance and I store lots of documents and mostly pictures.

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    • Katie wrote:

      That’s so smart! I need to get my digital life in order!

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  11. Tina wrote:

    Ohhh noooo. That sounds terrible. I’m so sorry Katie! On the bright side, at least you have SOME things that were backed-up. This is a great reminder that I need to back-up my things too since I don’t do that currently. Btw, I just read your About Me page and it’s so good!! It shows a lot of your personality. I’ve been meaning to write an About Me page but it always ends up sounding so boring hehehe

    Tina
    http://www.justatinabit.com

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    • Katie wrote:

      Thanks Tina! SO true — and I was able to recover most of what I lost. It’s a good reminder for everyone! And thanks SO much for the compliment on my ‘About Me’! I reworked it twice this weekend haha. It’s a hard page to write because everyone’s seems the same, and it’s sometimes awkward to write things that are solely about you.

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  12. Emily wrote:

    UGH. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. The same thing happened to me TWICE on my old mac laptop. That exact same thing happened to me the first time too – no back ups, so I lost everything. Not to mention they couldn’t get anything off anyway since all of my data was corrupted. I had meant to back up my new stuff, but then a year later it happened again. Procrastination at its worst.

    I finally got an external hard drive and I love it! I have a 1 TB HD Passport for Mac and it’s fantastic. I use it through Time Machine, and after the initial back up (which took a couple of hours), I update it every few months and it takes less than an hour. Much less of a headache when it doesn’t take long, I just have to schedule it on my calendar to make sure I do it!

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    • Katie wrote:

      Thanks for the support, Emily! Just not how I wanted to kick off my weekend haha! It is just so unfortunate that these things have to happen, especially on Macs! ;] SO sorry to hear you lost all of your stuff because of your corrupted hard drive, I know that must have been the WORST!

      I really appreciate your advice on the external hard drive. That was the size I was looking into buying, and it is WONDERFUL to know the time commitment involved in akin my first Time Machine Back Up. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

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  13. Bree wrote:

    Oh no! This was a great reminder. I hadn’t backed up since January so I spent most of the day today doing the same thing. I’m glad your hard drive wasn’t corrupt though, that would have been a total nightmare!

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    • Katie wrote:

      SO glad my trials could help someone else, HAHA! And yes, me too! A total nightmare, and a total budget buster. Have to look on the bright side.

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  14. Natalie wrote:

    What an awful feeling when the computer technician starts inquiring about what you’ve backed up. :/ You’ve reminded me that I need to transfer more pictures to my hard drive!

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    • Katie wrote:

      Yes, that is when you know it is bad! Good luck with your transfers :]

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  15. Indigo wrote:

    Seriously. Learned this the hard way myself. I still could stand to back up more frequently, but at least I know I wont’ lose everything if the worst happens. I’ve had to go back to a previous computer (losing over a year of work) once before– in the days before having an external hard drive.

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    • Katie wrote:

      Right? The hard way is sometimes the best way to learn. Losing a digital year of my life was rough – really proves how reliant we are on computers!

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  16. A friend of mine lost a lot of photos too – glad you were able to get some back!

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    • Katie wrote:

      Thanks girl! Me too :] Aggressive Facebook uploading paid off for once.

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  17. Emily wrote:

    & your phone!! I just had this problem 🙁 #theworst. I learned a lesson for sure!

    Published 4.14.15
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  18. kristen wrote:

    one, sooo sorry this happened to you. You don’t sound like a diva, this is horrible! I use a MAC and use the Time Machine. It’s amazing. Every time I open my comp and its connected to the internet it backs-up! I love it and highly recommend! Goood luck!! xx Kristen

    Published 4.14.15
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