I’ve been frantic with a dying laptop and five years of information not backed up. I’m over the crisis and can share a few tips for those less technical.
One – it is probably worth having to log into different websites to check email, as compared to having something like Outlook, Eudora, or Thunderbird (which I use) where emails come to you and “sit” on your computer. I was able to actually grab my Thunderbird inbox, sent, and drafts and move them to my new laptop, but had the laptop died before I could do that, I’d have lost all personal sent emails. If you only check work email from your website system, it means it’s being backed up and protected and those emails aren’t sitting on your personal computer. In my frantic fury, I knew I was 100% Ok for 5 years of work emails because they were sitting on another server, not on my physical computer.
Two – try to have as few folders as possible, or at least have them all under one BIG file. This way you have just one place to grab all your files should your computer die. It’s also easier if you have a backup program to just know everything vital is in one place. I had folders all over, enough that I got paranoid I was forgetting some. For this laptop I am finally putting things in the default folder it wants to put files in. It’s so much easier because if it’s always going to default to the same folder, I might as well have it there. I know… it only took over a decade of personal PC usage to figure that one out.
Three – it’s probably a good idea at year three or four to start considering your back up plans should your computer need help. For a few months I haven’t felt I could trust my computer and then in one fell swoop, everything vanished and I thought I’d lost it all. My laptop was five years old and had VERY heavy usage so it was time for a new one. Five years is a lifetime in technology!
Four – make sure you suck up to any techie friends in your life every few months. You want to be sure they’re around when chaos reins. Fortunately my techie friend is also my husband! I’ve also given frantic emails and calls to friends (probably 5 of them) and my father-in-law. Those who think I’m techie don’t realize that “techie” has many meanings and I rely on many people for the hard computer stuff.
Five – be in touch with your emotions. HUH? Yes, technology has a logic and rationality to it but if your anxiety is really high and you can’t handle the unknown, say of bringing in your seriously sad 5 year old computer for potentially expensive repairs that may or may not do anything… perhaps your anxiety is best served just getting a new computer and letting the old computer go. Nobody is going to “tsk, tsk” you. If you have a techie friend, maybe give them the old computer as a thank you. (Just don’t be offended if they say NO thank you!)
On the upside, I’m proud of myself for making the redo of Marriage Friendly Therapist really challenging for my IT team. It makes me feel good to know that I know what is possible, even if I can’t do the programming to make it happen!