So to set the scene… On Thursday afternoon I wrote about 500 words for my thesis on my work computer. These words were in a file Thesis_20111103 in my AcBoWriMo folder. Because I am a good little nerd that file is kept in my Dropbox folder and backed up regularly to the cloud (and to my home computer) (see: my blog post on Dropbox: http://wp.me/p1DbR7-u).
On Friday morning I woke up nice and early read to get back into my AcBoWriMo writing. I opened up Thesis_20111103 from my dropbox account and realised that the 500 words weren’t there! After a few seconds of confusion I realised that I must not have actually SAVED the words I’d written in the Thesis_20111103 document on my work computer, meaning that the new words weren’t backed up to Dropbox and therefore weren’t on my home computer.
No worries I thought, I’ve got TeamViewer (see my blog here: http://wp.me/p1DbR7-M) for this exact reason. All I had to do was remotely log into my work computer and save the version of Thesis_20111103 that was sitting open on my work computer (changing its name to Thesis_20111104). BUT, when I logged on to my work computer I was greeted by a blank desktop, none of the files that I’d left open on Thursday night were still there. Obviously my computer had crashed and restarted some time between 5pm on Thursday and 6am on Friday (DISASTER!). I opened Word with my fingers tightly crossed that Word autorecovery would save me – but alas the only version of Thesis_20111103 that autorecovery could find was from 9am on Thursday. The precious words were gone…
So now I want to tell you guys what you can do to stop this happening to you.
1. SAVE your documents regularly, use the keyboard shortcut (Crtl+S) or the little picture of the floppy disk, it doesn’t matter just SAVE.
2. Check your autorecovery options and make sure that Word is saving an autorecovery file regularly. BEWARE, even though these options are listed under ‘save’ autorecovery is not the same as autosaving. Don’t let anyone tell you that it is. It should be something that you never want to use and one day saves your life, NOT something that you rely on.
3. Save regularly, save, save, save and save again.
4. Think about moving to a word processor that does handle autosaving. I’m told Scrivener does a good job. I’m too far into writing my thesis to feel like I can change now but some people might be willing to change.