10 Tips to Avoid Losing Work on your Computer

by Admin on November 27, 2010

Everyone who works on a computer knows the frustration and heartbreak of losing your work. Whether your work is in image manipulation, video editing, audio editing, or writing, taking steps to preserve your work is critical. These tips will cover all the best ways you can prevent losing your work. You don’t have to use all of these tips, but the more safeguards you use, the less likely you are to lose your work.

  1. Save Early: The oldest and most important tip in maintaining your work is to use your application’s “Save” feature. As soon as you start a new project, save it with a unique name so that you have a definite location and format in which you will save your work. If you do not think to save a file until you have been working for an hour, then you have spent a long period without any permanent record or copy of your work.
  2. Save Often: Saved data is only useful if you keep all your periodic improvements to your data. Saving once at the beginning of a project and never updating that save mid-project is sure to leave you in a precarious position. Learn the keyboard shortcut for your save feature (Ctrl+S in Windows, Option+S for Mac) and train yourself to use it habitually every few minutes.
  3. Save Multiple Copies: A single file is easy to delete accidentally, and sometimes you may need to keep multiple drafts of a single file in case of accidental deletion, or a need to completely rework something after passing a “point of no return” such as the deletion of a layer of an image, a scene from a video, or several pages of a spreadsheet. Keep multiple drafts of frequently modified documents to ensure that you can return to important decision points.
  4. Backup Your Work Online: Several services such as Dropbox, Mozy, and Google Documents offer free or inexpensive means of backing up your files. Once you’ve saved your files, transfer copies of them to a service that keeps backups of your data “in the cloud” so that they can be saved somewhere other than your desktop. This way, you can access them from anywhere you have an internet connection.
  5. Save In Several Locations: In addition to your hard drive and the cloud, save your work to a flash drive, portable hard drive, or another PC. You can’t perfectly prevent hardware failure, theft, and other misfortunes; saving in multiple locations gives you added security.
  6. Maintain Your Files: Saved data is no good if you don’t keep it organized. Periodically prune your old revisions, and make sure that you organize and name your files in a logical fashion. If you don’t know where the latest copy of your masterpiece is, having it saved is no use.
  7. Use Redundant Discs: For some PCs, it can be worthwhile to run your hard drives in a RAID1 configuration. This means having two hard drives that mirror each other, so that your data is duplicated across drives and can be recovered in case of hard drive failure. All hard drives fail eventually, so having a spare is a smart preventative measure.
  8. Use Your Built-In OS Backup: Windows System Restore and Mac Time Machine offer simple, easy, automated methods of backing up all your work. Use these programs to set up automatic backups of all your saved data to keep yourself from constantly having to manage maintenance of your data. Saving manually is necessary as a first step, but having automatic copies made for you helps keep all your saved work safe.
  9. Create Permanent Archives: Flash drives are helpful for moving data and making temporary backups, but burning your work to DVDs or other backup media enables you to create permanent storage of important work. DVDs are cheap, easy to burn, and last for a very long time, and require no maintenance or energy to store.
  10. Keep Portable Copies: DVDs and flash drives keep your data no matter what happens to your computer. Backups that you can move between systems are ideal for times when you can’t access your online storage, or want something that you can hold.

Not all of these tips are necessary for everything you do. Save early, save often, and keep copies in as many ways as you need to maintain fidelity and access. The more redundancy you have, the lower your chances are of losing your work.

James Adams is a tech writer and analyst at Cartridge Save where he writes comprehensive reviews of items like the HP 350 ink cartridge and other supplies.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • Reddit
  • StumbleUpon
  • RSS Feed
  • Google
  • Digg
  • LinkedIn
  • Technorati

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: