There are few things in life that I really, really, really, really do not want to ever see.
I don’t want to experience a hurricane. (Do you hear me, Mother Nature?)
I don’t want to experience food poisoning on an international flight.
I don’t want to ever see the Black Screen of Death.
The Black Screen of Death is an “error screen displayed by some operating systems after encountering a critical system error which can cause the system to shut down,” according to Wikipedia.
In other words, it’s my worst nightmare.
The Black Screen of Death would mean ALL the photos from our family vacation to Panama Beach would be GONE.
ALL of the articles that I wrote since 2014 would be GONE.
The video from my service member’s homecoming in 2015 would be GONE.
Here’s the thing with the Black Screen of Death – the screen never warns you before showing its blackness.
There isn’t a cautionary tweet from a digital canary reminding you to “back up those work files, Michelle” or electronic string tied around a finger alerting you that you haven’t downloaded those images from your phone to your cloud.
Those digital crashes and burns just happen.
And when your spouse drops your iPhone into the Pacific Ocean taking a selfie, you may feel like piece of you just crashed and burned along with it.
Fear not. Help is on the way.
This week is the week that you back up all your personal electronic devices and save those important images and documents as part of NextGen MilSpouse’s You Got This: 52 Challenges to Make 2016 Your Bitch.
Week 14 Challenge: Back Up That Tech
Challenge Details: Answer honestly, when was the last time that you backed up the important files on your laptop or uploaded the images from your smartphone or tablet to your digital storage cloud? Take 2 hours to back up all of your devices this week and then vow to back them up regularly.
Deadline: April 11
Bonus points if you post a photo of you backing your tech up on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #2015IsMyBitch.
Here are 3 tips to help you back up your tech.
Select your digital shortage shed. For every electronic device, there’s an accompanying back-up cloud.
If you’re an Apple/Mac family, then you are set with iCloud or iDrive.
If you are a Windows family, then you want to look into using Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive or pCloud. With each cloud, you get a certain amount of storage for free and can buy additional space if you need it. The benefit of the cloud is that your files are virtually safe from flood and fire.
Want to know the nitty gritty details on how to back up your computer? Read this article, How to back up your PC, laptop, phone and tablet for free.
Many of you will back up your tech using a cloud and do your happy dance. For others, you may feel most comfortable having a second back-up shortage shed or digital dumping ground. I’m looking at your self-employed military spouse.
In that case, you will want to consolidate the data from all your devices to one computer and then back up your important files to an external hard drive. By the way, this external hard drive is one of those items that you hand carry during your PCS pack-out. Do not rely on, allow or trust the professional movers to pack it for you.
Don’t blindly back up every file, every image. Yes, we want to save the photos from Grandma’s 80th birthday party. But do we need to save the ten thousand selfies your toddler took of her forehead? Ummm, no.
Take 10 minutes weekly to go through your images and delete the ones you don’t need. I like to do this technology chore while binge-watching my favorite shows.
Looking for a new show to binge on? Get weekly recommendations with the NextGen MilSpouse Happy Hour podcast.
Set an alarm or calendar reminder to back that tech up regularly. Apple recommends to back up every 180 days. There’s a reason. Trust their recommendation and do it. Put it on your calendar as an event. Something like“ Back up your smartphone, tablet and laptop stupid” will work, but feel free to choose your own motivating phrase.
If you want to be a back-up super star, you could back up your tech nightly. Feel like that may be overkill?
Here are the arguments in favor of a daily back-up:
- You could accidentally delete the wrong file.
- A critically important file could suddenly be damaged such that it can’t be opened.
- A cup of coffee/bottle of wine/glass of water could be spilled on your computer which could cause electrical shorts, corrosion or other problems that prevent your laptop from turning on.
- Your laptop could fall off the table and then fail to work at all.
- You could drop your laptop.
- Malicious software, known generally as malware, could delete files from your laptop or lock your computer so you can’t use it at all.
- A burglar could steal your laptop.
- You could forget your laptop at a Starbucks or airport.
All these horrible things could happen to your device. Don’t be scared, be smart. Back up that tech. Back it up today. Then sleep easy knowing that you won’t have any nightmares about the Black Screen of Death.