Saturday, January 2, 2010

Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone

I apologize for using Cinderella lyrics as a title post, but hear me out:

Remember that little computer problem I had? Well, I sent my laptop into HP and they replaced the broken part. They also gave me new hinges, a new screen and a new EMPTY hard drive. Yeah, they took mine out and put in a new one. And the small print says they can do that.

So I've got that going for me.

The past few weeks, I've been piecing together everything and trying to make my computer whole again. I lost a lot, but not everything. My genealogy is on a private tree at Many of my old pictures are saved in the Ancestry tree or on My dad also has copies.

RootsMagic was easy to re-install, so I'm back in business there, but I lost the art file for my business card so I'll have to try to re-create that.

I lost some more recent family photos and all my quirky cemetery photos. That just means I need to go on more road trips to build up another collection.

What kills me the most is that I lost my ProGen assignment I worked so hard on in November. A fifteen-page business plan that's just gone and I have to start all over. By the way, because I did this assignment in two weeks, it fell through the monthly back up schedule. Something to think about with your important projects.

I do a lot of note taking in Microsoft Word. Because they are "just notes" I never took them seriously in my back-ups. Now I wish I had.

So why am I telling you this? Because I'm entering the Geneabloggers Data Backup Weekend Contest. If anyone is a candidate for a new backup system for my EMPTY computer, it's me. My old system had me storing stuff all over the place. Now I'm trying to hunt it all down again. It's time I streamline the backup process, and this is my next step.

So let this be a lesson to you. Make like a delivery truck and BACK IT UP, kids.


  1. Amy,
    I for one will vote for you to receive the backup, but I don't have a say, do I? What an awful experience you've gone through. I only have one tiny suggestion, use Google docs for your documents. It works like Word, is free and you can look at your files at any computer. You can still do notes in Word, just copy and paste to G. Docs. I doubt if Google will lose it. My heart goes out to you. I would be super upset if it happened to me.

  2. OMG how frustrating to lose all of that! That completely sucks.

    But at least you are warning people to back up their data.

  3. I'm sorry you lost so much "stuff" Amy. I take your advice and do a full backup to an external hard drive once a week. But I only started doing that when I got my new laptop. It's really hard to start new habits...even good ones!

  4. Barbara, I do a lot of lazy backups via Google tools and gmail. I've been able to recover much that way. I like your suggestions and will consider Google Docs for my notes. Thanks!

    Elyse, yeah, this was a tough one to write. It's hard to admit my backup system sucked, but it did. Lesson learned.

    Becky,thanks. I already am starting to create a new system. Heck, it's easy now that there's nothing on my computer.

  5. But Cinderella rocks! (Really enjoyed their concert with Dokken, Slaughter, and Poison!)

    Oh my gosh, I can relate to the computer issues, and have nothing but the utmost sympathy for you.

    I try to remember to back up my data (genealogy and word files) at least every other month to CD, or when I make huge new discoveries. I'm not perfect about it, but I'm proud to say that I backed up on January 1 - a good start to a new year.

    I hope you can get everything re-installed and/or recreated quickly and easily.

  6. That is awful. I back up my Rootsmagic every day and sometimes more than once a day. Images are also stored on a backup drive and updated regularly. I really feel for you.

  7. I agree with Wendy--Cinderella rocks!

    But on the subject of sending off the computer for repairs: nobody makes it clear that you can take out your hard drive BEFORE you send the computer away! I somehow managed to ask the right questions a few months ago when I had to send mine to Dell, and was told they didn't need the hard drive to do the repair work. Over the phone, they told me how to remove it. Sorry this is no help to you now, Amy, but it's good for you and others to know that you can ask whether that's an option if there's a next-time.

  8. oh Amy, that Sucks rocks! I have been lucky (sort of) in that each time I have had to reformat my hard drive on the desktop computer, I had managed to back up my GED com files to a CD rom, etc...I am hoping to get an external hard drive soon, to have a back up, especially since I have been focusing more on my research and have been taking pics at the local cemeteries...I hope you win the copy of Handy Backup....

  9. I got lucky and bought an external hard drive last fall. Still I procrastinated in getting everything on it, and one day the computer went blank. Yikes! Idiot I thought...then the computer eventually started up-BACKED UP IMMEDIATELY! Then computer finally died, new hard drive bought....lesson learned don't procrastinate! and just keep backing up!!!