If you have ever had a computer die on you, you will know the feeling one gets when you realise that some of your files may not be backed up correctly, if at all. Been there, felt that and tried hard not to experience it again.

I bought my first personal computer some forty years ago, way before the term Personal Computer or PC were ever in daily use. When it died, there was no way of backing up a computer except on a tape recorder and that wasn’t really a backup, it was a way to save your entire program, written in BASIC computer language… ahh, the good old days when life was simple.

Since then, I moved onto a few other computers before I made the switch to an adult’s computer, an Amstrad PC. And then onto a few others and currently the owner of a brand-new Dell Inspiron laptop. I didn’t want a laptop; I have always been a desktop man. But as I was retiring from my design work and moving full-time into writing, it made sense to be able to sit out in the summer sun and write. Only problem is, I cannot sit out in the summer sun because I just can’t see to type because of the glare from the sun. Never mind, I can sit where I like indoors, except in the winter where a gas and electric fire is the only way to keep warm, so the lounge area is the place to be. But even so, in the summer I can sit where I want because it’s so hot.

At this point picture me at 04:09 before dawn has broken and sitting in the lounge gently perspiring because it’s so hot… anyway, I digress, dear reader. Because what this piece is about is synchronization. For a peaceful life, if you are a writer, you must organise some sort of backup for your computer, as soon as possible. But being human, I put it off, and put it off, though I did do manual backups. And now that my cataracts are done, I’m fully vaccinated and can get new spectacles within the next couple of weeks or so… except my laptop died.

Don’t ask why it died because I have no idea, but what I do know is that I’ve lost about 4,000 words of my latest WIP (Work In Progress) The Brittle Land and enumerable images used in my blog posts, though these are still online in WordPress. But I am still finding other files I need that are not saved.

What makes it more galling is that the nature of the death of this laptop, made it possible to easily resurrect it and carry on. The Hard-Drive was not the issue, it was simple the booting up of the Operating System. The automatic way Dell dealt with the death was admirable. Even to the extent the software asked me which folders on my hard-drive I wanted to backup; with the promise it would not wipe the hard-drive until these files were fully backed up. So, off we went on a magic carpet ride. Reinstalling a PC was never this simple before… and it wasn’t to be this time either. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it reinstalled without a hitch, but didn’t backup anywhere near the full selection of folders and files I had made. In other words, as a backup it was a complete failure.

So, back to Plan-A. I now have software (yes, I am that old, dear reader, I still call an app, software, coz that’s what it is) for a backup daily for both my full hard-drive and an SD card. The SD card is just for my writing, so that I can put it in my wallet and take it with me. I can’t very well do that with an external hard-drive.

Let’s hope I’ve learned my lesson… it’s only taken forty-plus years for that synching feeling to sink in.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2021

The Brittle Land, in case you’re wondering, is the 2nd book in my Brittle Saga trilogy. It’s now due for release (once I get my new spectacles after my cataract operations) in June 2021. Here’s a taster from the first book published in 2020, The Brittle Sea. Just click on Preview to read a selection.




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