Tech Tip: File Management and Backups

RF_file_managementI’m participating in the 20-day Blogging Challenge from Jennifer Brower over at Where Books and Technology Meet. She has posted 20 days of blogging challenges for librarians. I’m modifying and responding to one prompt each week. By the time I get to Day 20 it will be April or May and that’s kind of crazy, but I’m doing what works for me!

Challenge: Share a tech tip for your fellow teachers or librarians. How do you use this tech tip? How does it simplify your life?

Right now, my external harddrive is in Ohio.

I’m not in Ohio.

I experienced a very sad harddrive crash. Someone said to me, “have you just been crazy? crying a lot?” and another person said to me, “out of everyone I know, I can’t imagine what kind of files you have on there.”

To be honest, I’m trying not to think too much about it. I’m being optimistic. The basic scans I did showed signs of life so I’m hoping a full recovery of my files is possible.

I’m trying not to think about the fact that my life is on that harddrive. In Ohio. Without me.

Don’t let it happen to you. You’ve heard it before. Back up your files. When people say that, they’re really not kidding. They’re speaking from experience.

My issue was my files were a complete mess. Trying to transport files from work (no Dropbox access) to home and keep up with organizing files from an old job, a new job, and a personal life. It was getting to me. I like my files organized and mine were getting messy. So I started transferring them all to this great external drive so they would be in ONE PLACE and I could weed out duplicates and old versions and merge together folders.

And then the drive crashed.

And I lost unique files that were not backed up because this was my backup.

Back up your backup.

But that’s not my real tech tip. My real tip is to generally figure out what your file system IS and stick to it. There’s a great podcast out there in the Quick and Dirty Tips Family called Get-It-Done Guy. He has a wonderful episode about file management and one about management of online and offline files. You might not need to do it exactly the way he does it, but you should think about it.

If you’re not very techy, I imagine your files are in a few folders. If you are techy, you might have the problem I do of having too many folders on too many drives and keeping track of them is a bear. As we more farther and farther away from using our physical filing cabinet to hold on to Blackline Masters, you need to have a system in place for keeping track of your digital files.

And once you have them all organized please back them up. And then get a 2nd external harddrive and back everything up there at least once a month.

January 8, 2014
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  • Reply Jenn Brower (@CybrarianJenn)

    Great start! I am sad to say that I trusted (and still do) completely in my school’s back up system. (recently learned it wasn’t actually working for months!!! but thanks to me losing a rather important file, asking for them to retrieve it, they discover the problem….and now they have fixed the problem. Which is too late for that really important file. drat!!)

    At home we back up my laptop every few months. Again, a really sucky plan. My new laptop does offer the SkyDrive feature. This might be how I handle my “important’ files from now on…but I am definitely going to check out the episode you mentioned.

    This Techy Librarian isn’t nearly techy enough!!

    January 8, 2014 at 11:22 pm
    • Reply Carolyn

      If my school had a backup system I might be a little less paranoid, but we have little network storage. It’s all on our individual harddrives. It makes trying to keep track of files between home, an office computer and an instructional laptop a nightmare. I love Get it Done Guy! So funny and always a gem of an idea no matter what the topic is!

      January 10, 2014 at 7:46 pm

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