toilet bowl 1ccesf

Back up (avoid the void)

OK, today I got that call. No, not THAT call — I mean the call that says,

‘Sorry, your hard drive is broken and we can’t retrieve any of the files.’

Any of the files? 

The hard drive on my laptop had burnt itself to a crisp and I lost EVERY file on it, every last one. Normally that would be OK, because I use an external hard drive, but in October I moved my work to my c: drive for a trip away and forgot to switch back. So where do you go when you’ve lost 3 months’ work?

In case it helps, this is how I rescued my files…


  • Email: everything on email would come back, if you didn’t do that server-cleaning time limit thing, and if some IMAP glitch hadn’t scraped out everything if if if – #technohorror
  • Submittable: pdf love.
  • Competition servers: mmmmwah, Fish Publishing, for keeping viewable copies online.



  • the pen drive I use to share things with the husband. (Pen drives are the easiest way to find a file on someone else’s pc, and they’re cheap as chips.)

These helped, but it took ages and it’s not cool to have to scrabble around, dragging snippets across time zones and file formats.

How else to back up?

  • Since I lost everything, several people have kindly recommended Dropbox. This is a free drag and drop online storage facility — you save your work, then just drag and drop a copy into the desktop icon, job done.

I’m all wrapped up now, I have everything in order, except for one piece. All I need now is to win a certain competition, or at least one of the prizes, so that I can find out what I submitted (enough already, I don’t need to admit this, do I? Seriously, though, what did I write? #blank. That can’t be a good sign.)

Watch this very literal space.


  1. claire king says:

    Oh no!
    (Sorry – but it’s just one little one)
    May your shiny new hard drive be all you wish and more.
    PS – backing up to somewhere like Dropbox is helpful too, and you can do it automatically, for that belt and braces effect. xxx

  2. TU says:

    Thanks for the heads up. I do have Dropbox, I downloaded just recently, at New Year, with a view to starting to use it once I’d figured it out (which is actually fairly simple). It would have been very useful for the fiction.

This page would look prettier with your thoughts on it: