Bad News, Backing Up, and More Waiting

The hard drive in our almost-new laptop crashed on Sunday night, totaling the hard drive.

Yeah, you guessed it. I had been a little too careless with backing up our files. Who would have thunk a new machine would so utterly demolish itself?

The laptop has been hospitalized for tests and observation. We hope to hear the results on Monday or Tuesday.

Speaking of waiting for results: I spoke with a nurse from Children’s Hospital on Wednesday afternoon. She said that the results of Tarica’s tests will likely not be in for another two weeks.

Back to computers, since the other subject is too gloomy to dwell on.

I spent some time this week researching (on our hideously slow old computer) various methods of backing up photos and files. I had a system originally set up after we got the new laptop, but it didn’t suit me, so I changed some settings (or something—not exactly sure what happened). I thought it was backing up after that, but it wasn’t.

Researching backup methods online is a little like looking for a particular button in a barrel of buttons when you’re not exactly sure what the button looks like.

Here’s what I think the button should look like:

1. Automatic (or nearly so)

I have a brain with holes in it, through which important stuff like church services and clean work clothes fall all the time. Don’t trust me to remember to back up the computer.

2. Non-whizzy

I’m not a computer whiz. I don’t want a complicated sixteen-step process.

3. Local

The other setup saved stuff to the cloud, but then it wasn’t on the laptop (or didn’t appear to be). Although I like a cloud-based, multi-accessible backup, I also want my files saved to the computer itself, so I’m not dependent on online access to open my files. (Perhaps I require further cloud education. If so, I’m all ears.)

4. Free or very cheap

Call me a tightwad, but I would prefer not investing a lot of money into this. Besides, what money we might have spent on a backup system will now be buying a certain computer tech a week’s groceries.

Does this button even exist?

What do you use to back up your computer?

These are not rhetorical questions. I’m hoping for real-world advice.

11 thoughts on “Bad News, Backing Up, and More Waiting

  1. A friend just told me about Google Drive. It’s free, but you have to have a google email account and I think you have be connected to internet to view your files. Looking forward to hearing others input!

    • I’m not familiar with Google Drive. I wonder if it has unlimited storage. Often the free options offer only a few GB of storage, which isn’t much in today’s photo-happy world. Thanks, Janelle. I’ll look into it.

  2. My husband takes care of the computer stuff so I’m not sure all the details. I do know that he backs everything up to an external hard drive. That way if the hard drive crashes you still have it. And I believe it backs up automatically everyday at a certain time. He has all his business stuff on the computer so it’s important to keep it backed up.

    • I know nothing about external hard drives, but I wonder if they might be handier with a desktop, compared to a laptop. I tend to haul my laptop around like a security blanket, so the external drive would have be kept somewhere–and I just KNOW I’d procrastinate with getting it out and backing up the files. Because nothing is going to happen to the computer today, of course.

      However, I do like the idea of having a physical backup that isn’t in the cloud.

  3. I have an automatic and reliable button called “The Hubby.” After giving me that cross-eyed look of disbelief when he realized I had been writing all afternoon and had yet to hit “save” even once, he encouraged me to not only hit ‘Save’ but to do regular backups onto an external hard drive. But I’m afraid I scared him. I held the back up drive and studied the side of the laptop with all those slots and holes and things while murmuring, “Now which slot does this thing plug into?” I don’t know that he knew I was joking because his eyes widened into nearly perfect circles as he slowly reached out to rescue the equipment from the hands of a woman illiterate in the world of technology. “On second thought,” he said, “I think I’ll just take care of this for you…”

    Every month or so (or after a lot of writing I don’t want to lose), he does a complete backup onto an external hard drive, ensuring that all our too-important-to-lose files -pictures included- are safely backed up. No “cloud” stuff necessary with that. And it is easy. Really. He tells me that whenever I watch him plug it in and start the process…

    • I have been thoroughly entertained, Sara. However, I suspect that your automatic and reliable button is not available on Amazon, so the rest of us illiterates shall have figure something else out. 🙂

  4. First – I am so sorry. I do hope your tech guys earns his grocery money and works some computer magic for you.

    I enjoy hearing what others do since this is a question I’ve had to – though I never had your unfortunate experience. I use Dropbox and love that it is completely goof proof for a non-techy like me. And I never have to remember to use it since it is all done automatically. But I do have wi-fi at home and decent service – and I never use the computer anywhere but home – so having it in the cloud is not a problem for me. Your circumstance may differ.
    Gina

  5. Kelvin tells me to use Google Drive, so that’s what I use. I think I may be the one who told Janelle Nolt about it. 🙂 I have 15 GB free storage and you can buy more if you need it, 100 GB is 1.99/month. I have only used 7 GB of it and have all my pictures and alot of my mom’s pictures on it and all my documents as well. You do need to have a gmail account, but if you have an android smartphone you need to have a gmail account anyway. As long as you have it saved on your computer, you can access your files. I also can access them anywhere else via Google Drive if I have internet, which as long as I have cell service I’m good. All the pics that I take on my phone automatically get backed up to google +. Also, you know if you need more storage you can just set up another account too. If/when I run out of storage space I’m gonna start stealing Kelvin’s storage!

    • That’s a decent amount of free storage. Dropbox offers 2 GB of free storage, and the upgrade costs $9.99/month. I’m going to check into Google Drive. Thanks for the real-world advice, Janelle. Glad you stopped by. 🙂

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