Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Better Safe Than Sorry

A blogger's best friend is her computer. She uses it everyday, takes it everywhere; it's her connection to the blogosphere and it helps her pursue her passion for sending random, hopefully thoughtful musings out into cyberspace. Which is why when her computer almost dies, so does the blogger. No, my computer hasn't died...yet. But I did have an uncomfortably close brush with the unthinkable this week and now I'm on a mission to ensure that you never have to live through the terror that is a near hard drive meltdown.

Looking back, the warning signs that something was amiss actually appeared quite some time ago. My computer suddenly became very slow. Slow to start up, slow to shut down, and occasionally even slow to open programs. DVDs started freezing up. By the time I moved to Minneapolis my patience with my laptop was wearing thin. Then, disaster struck. Turning on the computer resulted in nothing but a sad, little flashing cursur in the upper left-hand corner. I tried to reboot. Strange noises started emanating from the speakers. Panic swept over me. Had I just lost all my writings, all the photos I'd taken during my travels, and my means managing nearly everything in my 21st century life? Finally it booted, but then I put my USB flash drive in and everything froze. I needed help.

A frantic trip to Best Buy garnered surprising news. Yes, the computer's hard drive might be on its last legs, but it would work for now. The real problem lay in the USB flash drive, which had completely crashed. Even the Geek Squad couldn't revive it. Thankfully, I did a lot of double saving, so I didn't lose too much data. In fact, the death of the flash drive turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Losing the little guy gave me a taste of what an entire hard drive crash would feel like, and I knew that the horrible, gut-wrenching realization that information is gone forever would be so much worse if it was an entire computer's worth of data. The crisis spurred me to do something I should have been doing for years: back up my work. I bought an $80 external hard drive and promptly loaded it up with all 10 gigs of my electronic life. If you can't live without your computer but are not backing up, what are you waiting for? Protect your data by investing in an external hard drive. Remember, your computer is your friend. If anything every happened to it you'd never forgive yourself.

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