Everyone reading this blog do yourself a big favor and back up your computer files ASAP if you don't already do it on a regular basis!! Just a little reminder from a moron who didn't and almost lost everything two nights ago...
You would think I would know better than this. I've lost hard drives before, and it's never pretty. I've been saying for months that I need to backup my files, and when my computer started acting suspicious a week ago, I knew that I really needed to get on it. I kept having certain songs freeze up in itunes, and I suspected that the files were corrupted. I had Nate get me an external hard drive when he was in Denver on Wednesday, and planned to back everything up that night.
Unfortunately, by the time I got the drive my computer was not recognizing any of my USB ports, so I couldn't download anything to the drive. I decided to go with plan B and burn DVDs of all my data, but that didn't work either since my computer got hung up everytime it found a corrupted file, and apparently there were a lot of them! So, there I was finding photo after photo that were corrupted, and panicking because I couldn't get any of them onto another disk - not good at all.
It was at this point that I realized how dependent I, an artist, am on my computer. I have 3,000 photos from this year alone, categorized on my computer as possible reference material for paintings. I have another 2 GB of photographed paintings from this year alone, which are the only visual record I have of my paintings, other than the photos on my website. I have a database with information on every painting I've ever done, in addition to collector contact information and notes. I have multiple spreadsheets of my financials, including the one I keep up-to-date for my taxes. Some of this could be replaced, but the photos could not. And so I spent Wednesday in a state of panic - I hadn't backed up my files in over a year - eek!!
Luckily my Dad was here for Thanksgiving (yay for computer expert Dad!!), and he reminded me that I could run Windows check disk to find and mark all of the corrupted files. I bit my nails for 5 hours while it ran (and while I watched it flag photo after photo as corrupted), and said a prayer as it rebooted. Luckily, it had removed the bad files so was able to burn DVDs of everything left, and also back everything up to external drive. I spent Thanksgiving breathing a gigantic sigh of relief (and ordering a new hard drive).
So, if you don't have backup of images of your paintings, database files, contacts, or anything important, DO IT NOW!