It’s a researcher’s nightmare: you are close to completing a large project, and your computer crashes, taking the data or the analysis with it.
Graduate student John Boldt thought he could avoid the problem by storing his nearly finished thesis on a laptop and a backup on an external hard drive. He left them in his car when he went for a run. When he came back, both copies were stolen.
Sometimes when I lose a piece of writing I’m working on, it’s a blessing in disguise. I’m forced to go back and recreate my thoughts. The second time is usually more succinct. Still, I don’t like that feeling of seeing all my efforts get deleted.
I back up on a shared drive, but usually only once a week. I’ve also tried thumb drives to ferry files back and forth between my work and home computer. There’s an on-line service called Dropbox that gives users 2GB free storage on the cloud. I’m not sure there’s a single best way to back up as long as it becomes a consistent habit.