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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Computer Problems

I am trying to find volunteers to help me spread the word about my novella, 30 Seconds. The blog tour will run from September 10th - 30th, but you can request a later date. If you would like to sign up, GO HERE. THANK YOU!

Now onto today's post . . .

Computer viruses and crashes have caused me a lot of head and heart ache. They have no doubt caused countless other writers the same.

Many, many years ago, I encountered my first computer virus. When my computer wouldn’t turn on, my heart didn’t beat for several seconds. I spent days in a panic, afraid I’d lost nearly a third of my book. After paying a technician to fix the problem, I was relieved to have my computer in working order and my entire book. I was lucky then.

Even the time when my computer was not repairable due to a vicious Trojan, I was lucky because I had saved all of my work on floppy disks. Do you remember those?


But once I was far from lucky and lost two whole books. The tragic thing was it wasn’t due to a virus, but someone’s error that erased my recent (unsaved) documents. I was devastated. I cried and raged for days. I never worked on the stories again. But I do have the ideas stored away in my brain for the day when I have the energy to rewrite them.

Throughout the years, I’ve had countless close calls. So many that I’ve learned my lesson. Now I take precautions, which I’ll share to prevent you from going through what I have:
1.    Use a Sans Disk Flash Drive every time you update a document. I can’t praise this device enough. It’s small and can easily be slipped into your pocket. You can find them at Wal-Mart.
2.    Run software that can find and destroy harmful viruses. I use the free edition of Super Anti Spyware. 
3.    Create two separate accounts on your computer, just as you would if you shared your computer and had separate profiles for each person. In this case, you’ll have one account for Internet use and one solely for writing. I do this, so if need to delete the affected account, my books will be safe.

SHARE: Your techniques to protecting your computer and documents.


QUESTIONS: Have you ever lost your work due to a virus or another computer glitch? How did you deal with it?


45 comments:

  1. I just upload email my books to myself, and back up everything else every now and again. I also use Dropbox. :D

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    1. I've never used Dropbox, but I have emailed myself my manuscripts. Except now-a-days with so many hackers that scares me, too.

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  2. I back them up on multiple places at least once a month, any books I write daily I back up on a usb easy enough after I'm done just in case. My computer has gone kaput many times, but thankfully I've never lost a ton thanks to my ocd backing everything up haha

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    1. That's good that you've never lost a lot. I'm OCD about it now, too.

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  3. Fortunately I've not lost anything.
    I back up my files on two thumb disks, two external hard drives, and my laptop.
    I also am careful what sites I visit and never open an email with an attachment if I don't know who sent it.
    I've also worked on computers for the past twenty plus years - that helps!
    Sorry about your two lost stories.

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    1. That's good! You're lucky!! And it's great that you have knowledge about computers, too.

      I don't have a laptop, but I would back up my work there.

      Being careful about websites and emails is important. I'm very cautious now. You can't trust anything on the internet!

      Thanks. They aren't priorities anymore, but I hope to write them again.

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  4. I remember those floppy disks.
    I have a habit of printing out my work and filing it. But at the moment my printer is kaput! I need a new one.
    Quite a bit of my stuff is written long hand in hardcover notebooks.
    I need to down load a writing programme but not sure which is the best. I've heard about Y-writer, but haven't used it.
    What is Dropbox? Is it easy to use?

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    1. I would print out all my work, but I would never have enough ink for that! haha I also write a lot in notebooks, and I keep all of those, too. :)

      I've never used Dropbox and wouldn't be able to explain it to you. Hopefully someone else can answer that.

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  5. I lost an entire flash drive last fall. I cried for days. It was awful.

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    1. Oh, and I signed up for your tour. :)

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    2. I remember reading about that incident on your blog. That was terrible!

      THANK YOU SO MUCH! :D

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  6. Recently the USB ports on one of our home computers stopped working (yes, both of them!). I freaked out. I save everything to a flashdrive and the thought of not being able to save my work had me panicking. But luckily for me we have a backup computer. Thank God! What I typically do, though, is email drafts and outlines to myself. That way if something ever happens, I always have it. And sending it to Dropbox or an external hardrive might not be such a bad idea either.

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    1. Oh, jeez! I would've been so upset, too. That was very lucky that you had a backup computer. I am definitely going to look into Dropbox!

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  7. I use trend micro titanium and am really careful about where I go. Most of my stuff is also on a flash drive, although I should back it up more frequently.

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    1. Sounds like you have the right idea, Andrew. And yes, back things up more frequently. You never know what'll happen.

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  8. It is a worry isn't it? I've emailed manuscripts to my Kindle and back up on flash drives, but I probably should do that more often than I do!

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    1. It sure is a worry! I don't have a Kindle, but I would email manuscripts to it if I did. :)

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  9. I'm so paranoid. I back up daily. I lost half a chapter once. That was enough to teach me.

    And I did download a virus once. My husband fixed everything, but I was thoroughly chastised for clicking on something I shouldn't.

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    1. I'm paranoid, too. Our work is precious to us, it's hard not to be paranoid.

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  10. Luckily, I haven't lost anything... YET! Knock on wood! Ever since I saw that episode of Sex and the City when Carrie lost all of her work after her computer crashed, I have backed up all of my writing files. So basically, I have about five USB drives for all of my work. Not that there is any order to them, although this is something I am working on! But at least my work is there waiting for the day when my computer fails on me due to a virus.
    I signed up for your blog tour and hope I did it correctly! This will be the first time I am featuring a book on my blog. I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with my website and where the future is taking it off to=) All good things! But I'm looking forward to your blog tour for 30 Seconds!!

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    1. That episode of Sex and the City is a classic, but it's surprising that she didn't know better to back up her work with her being a writer and all.

      Thank you so much for signing up, Gina! I know that you don't usually feature books, so I am honored to be your first. :D

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  11. Awesome that you have a plan Chrys and like you I have learned via personal experience. We had so many probs with viruses and such with our old PCs that I switched over to a Mac. It has helped immensely. Knocking on wood now, but no issues in 2 years.

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    1. That's good. I only have a PC, but one day maybe I'dd have a Mac. :)

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  12. Those are great ideas, Chrys. Last night I had shut my laptop down and was ready to head to bed, but at the last minute I decided to turn the laptop back on and back up the music files I've been working on, that I haven't yet sent to my bandmate. I felt a lot better having done that.

    When I'm writing or editing a novel, I generally tend to overwrite my cloud-stored version at the end of each night. I admit I haven't done that lately though with my current revision project. I need to get back into the habit, for sure!!

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    1. I'm glad you went back on to back up your music files. I would hate for you to lose those!

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  13. I lost some writing once though not a lot. I always save my work to a thumb drive and now on google drive also.

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  14. I still have a lot of original drafts on disks! It took a long time, but three years ago I finally figured out how to open, convert, and reformat them. A lot of jumping through hoops, but totally worth it to breathe new life into them.

    I learnt the hard way to break a book up into chapter or section files, so I wouldn't lose the entire thing, or a large portion of the book, or the beginning of a new file/chapter. The old Macs or disks couldn't handle supersized documents anyway. I now have a flash drive, shaped like a tiger, in addition to my old disks just in case.

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    1. A flash drive shaped like a tiger sounds cute! I want one! lol

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  15. My computer has a virus right now! It's been crashing a lot lately. Yesterday it worked all day but it's been very frustrating. I keep my writing on a flash removable disc. But my published writing is all on my computer. I will try your #3, as that would be wise to have a separate account for my writing! Thanks Chrys. I'm just going to check out your Blog Tour.

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    1. Oh no!!! I hate viruses! I wish whoever created them first, and all the people who infect the internet with them would be caught. It's not right! I hope your computer will get fixed soon.

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  16. First, I'm not sure what genre your 30 Seconds is, but if it fits a clean YA audience, let's set you up for a Writerly Wednesday. (I've got October 8th available.) Second, I back everything up via email. Yup. Email. You can access it from anywhere if it's stored virtually--which means if your computer completely crashes and burns, you've got a copy. My hubby suggests Malwarebytes for virus scanning and clean up. It's free online and as long as you run it once every week to month (and stay way from porn/gambling sites and email attachments from unknowns) you should be good and won't have to bog down your CPU with background processes.

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    1. Sorry, Crystal, 30 Seconds is a romantic-suspense. Not YA. I posted the details and blurb for it a couple of weeks ago. I guess you missed it. If you accept other stories, not YA, I can send you just the cover art and blurb. The excerpt has kissing in it, so I don't know if you'd want that. October 8th would be good, if you wouldn't mind that.

      Thanks for the tips! I am now using my email. :)

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  17. I know your fear. I recently was hit by ransomware. Because I had backed up and published some of my work, I didn't lose everything. But if I had never backed up, then I would've lost much more. Now I'm backing things up with Dropbox, on two computers, and two flash drives as well as emailing things to myself from one email to the next. I've also started handwriting my outlines and stories, so I'll at least have a paper copy, if nothing else.

    That's a really good idea about having two separate accounts.

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    1. Sounds like you have a good plan to keep your work safe. I'm glad that you didn't close everything!

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  18. Two books? That sucks.

    I've lost a few thumb drives, which really sucks because I think my formatted novel was on one of them. I can't find that file now, which means I have to redo it all if I want to make any corrections to the print version. >_< But I have the eBook and originals, so that's a bonus.

    Anything of real importance goes to Google Drive or Dropbox, so I have a copy of it online, on my work PC, on my home desktop, and on my laptop.

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    1. Oh no! I know formatting a novel takes time. I'm sorry about that, but it;s good you have the eBook and originals!

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  19. I swore by Carbonite before I got this new laptop that has crashed numerous times in the past year! Now I don't trust storing my files on it, so I use a flash drive that I back up to Microsoft OneDrive once a week. I also have Kaspersky anti-virus but for some reason it keeps flashing up "unable to start tasks" errors every now and then. I'm not sure what it expects me to do about that!

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    1. I sure hate anti-virus software that acts up. It's frustrating!

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  20. Just minutes ago, I was notified that my IP address has been blacklisted and I couldn't leave comments on Quanie's blog. My God, what a scare. I've been through virus attacks and spam and crashes. I try to get my manuscripts and other important documents on email so that in case the computer ... (*touch wood), I can still retrieve those documents from another computer.

    Hey Chrys, I'd like to help out with spreading the word about your novella, but since CarryUsOff is a blog for children's picture and middle-grade books, will it be okay for me to share the news of your book release as a separate section rather than a full post? I can still include a book cover, synopsis and links. Let me know!

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    1. Oh, that would've scared me too!!

      Thank you for offering, Claudine! I appreciate it, and any thing that you can do I will be grateful for. I can definitely send the cover, synopsis, and links for that. Do you have a date in mind? Sept 10-30th? Or any later date?

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  21. Great advice, Chrys. I back up and save often.

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  22. Great post, Chris!
    this is so timely. I do remember floppy disks and as a matter of fact, I've gathered them all up and I want to convert them into other files, but guess what? It is so hard to find computers that can use those to make the conversations. I back up everything quarterly onto Dropbox and also an external hard drive. My laptop is old and you're right I should probably run some new software. It's so ironic that we work so hard to write our gems, but often we don't have the follow through to really keep them safe.

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    1. I find that odd, too. It would seem that we would be keeping our writing as safe as we'd keep our children!

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