I’m Melting, I’m Melting . . . bzzzt Zip!

There are many aspects of a writer’s life, many tools of the trade to learn and master but one important thing often overlooked is the basic tool we employ. Yup, those pesky computers, laptops, gadgets and electronic gizmos galore. Without them we would all be reduced to pen and paper, or replacing messy ink ribbons in the old clunky typewriters of yore. They were fine for a time but we have moved on to bigger and better (?) things, at least until something goes wrong.

For me it was three Trojans (not Brad Pitt), one virus (no pigs or birds), one embedded spyware (definitely not James Bond) and seventy two, yes, seventy two, warning thing-a-ma-jigs. Apparently they had been setting me up for disaster for some time because with one little click, it was a barrage of pop-ups and then a quick death by strangulation. My computer was no longer my own. It would not let me access the internet; it would not let me do much of anything. Pop ups claiming to help me get rid of the bugs were everywhere but I’m told they probably activated them instead. It became apparent that my security system was not so secure and once those buggers got started, they disabled, reconfigured and reconnected whatever dots they wanted to.

After getting some much needed help to determine the damage, my computer was taken back to ground zero and born again. Luckily for me my help knew how to save my document files on to an external hard drive while reanimating my electronic corpse; otherwise I would have lost the entire contents of my last days work. The dedicated writers of Wichita Area Romance Authors have stated numerous times the necessity of backing up your work to some external device by either a thumb drive, external hard drive, CD disk or my own personal favorite: emailing my work to myself to store in cyberspace. When your computer has a meltdown either through old age, lightening or sabotage, it’s the luck of the draw as to whether your work can be saved. So be smart, save EVERYTHING somewhere else and then you can rest peacefully knowing that your “babies” will still be there to greet you in the morning.

My last word of wisdom for the day; do some research on security programs for your computer. Ours was a popular one but obviously not a very good one. Check with several computer technicians to see which one they recommend and when you get a consensus, change. There is at least one good security program that you can download for free from: download.com. So do yourself a favor, save yourself a ton of money, do your homework and make your work environment virus free.


Joan Vincent said...

There is nothing worse than losing your manuscript files or any other for that matter. I once lost a cookbook of family recipes I'd been working on for two years because I didn't back it up. I still don't do back up often enough. I too email myself my files so they are on some server far far away and hopefully safe.
My brother didn't update his internet security and lost his system. It happens all too easily!

Thanks for reminding us to backup and to always have some virus protection running if you connect to the internet.

Becky A said...

Hi Joan,
This is the second time I've had computer issues. The first one just fried itself from old age but that's when I learned the art of self preservation and began to get serious about backing up my work. I lost a number of great things on that old computer. Apparently though I still have a few more things to learn. I saved all my writing but neglected to save my pictures. That was a major oversite that even I can't believe slipped by me. Thankfully my terrific techical help has them on her external hard drive. Eventually they will be back on mine and I will get busy saving them to cyber space. I got lucky this time but am very aware next time may be different if I don't do better at backing things up.
Thanks for the input, Becky

Reese Mobley said...

Thanks for the reminder, Becky. I can only imagine the headache you've endured. Why is that the things that are supposed to make our life easier sometimes do just the opposite? Good post as always.

Nina Sipes said...

Becky! How horrible for you. I have this fear running through the back of my mind all the time about losing data. I don't back up every time I'm on the computer, but quite often. I've lost data myself and never want to again.
My sympathies are with you.

Jan Schliesman said...

Thanks for the great reminder, Becky. I went to the website and downloaded the recommended software:)

Becky A said...

Good morning Ladies,
Thanks for commiserating with me and I'm glad if nothing else we'll all be more careful of our work tools from now on.

At least I hope we will. :)

Here's a little more on my cyberspace soap opera.

Since they had to take my computer back to scratch they said it wasn't necessary for me to run the Malwarebytes but since my AVG found so many Trojans and etc. I ran it yesterday anyway. So, does anyone know what a: Hijackdisplay prop in a Registry Data is??? After cleaning it out I noticed that my computer was now running great. I think it's faster than it's ever been so I have to wonder if some of this junk came with the initial software package when I first got the machine. What do you all think?

I would be interested to know if any of you find some goodies hiding in your data banks. :)

Thanks, Becky

Becky A said...

I hope you persevered and wrote that family cookbook in spite of such a large set back. You can never have too many kinds of food to choose from while pigging out!

Roxann Delaney said...

Those meltdowns are killers. I was in the middle of writing a synopsis for a proposal the last time the thaw hit. After that, I bought the external hard drive. And I still backup on little flash drives, just in case.

Look at it this way, Becky. You learned (although the hard way) an important lesson. I guess we all learn that way. :)

Penny Rader said...

You have my sympathies, Becky. I'm glad you were able to save your writing. Losing what you've written really sucks. Thanks for the AVG reminder. I had forgotten all about that one. I'll get it downloaded this weekend.