Avoid a Tech Catastrophe August 8, 2017  • 

We’ve all had it happen. You get so caught up in your hustle that the part of your brain responsible for the frequent reflex-like Command-Ses backfires. And then something horrible happens: a power cut or a dead battery zaps your screen to black. Suddenly, the last hour’s work is lost to the ether. You shake your fists at the sky. Back to the beginning you go.

That’s if you’re lucky.

But so much worse can happen to your laptop. Theft. Loss. Your cat spilling a glass of water across your desk with an impressive amount of grace and decorum.

It can even just stop working for no apparent reason whatsoever, as mine did earlier this month. (Bye bye £240. Hope you enjoy your new life in Apple’s already-bursting bank account.)

With so many of us living our lives online– work, play and everything in between– losing files can be like losing a lifeline. It’s dramatic, but it’s true. So here are some things you should be doing to ensure that if the worst does happen, the impact will be minimal.

Back everything up

If you use your laptop for work, there’s a good chance that paying for new hardware will actually cost less than the hours you will spend re-creating your projects. So making sure you’re taking consistent backups is the most important thing on this list.

With free tools such as iCloud and Google Drive, there’s no reason why things can’t live in the safety of cyberspace. Download the Google Drive plugin and make a habit of saving everything in that folder. Not only will you save disk space on your computer itself, but your files will be safe. (Erm, unless Google crashes, but I think if that happens we will have worse problems on our hands, like totalitarian dictatorships or alien overlords.)

You can also use programs like Time Machine on a Mac, or a variety of free and paid software options found online.

Insure your tech

Insurance can be pricey, but it doesn’t have to be. I have contents insurance for my whole flat, including the electronics that habitually reside inside of it, and it costs around £12/month. I think a lot of people can be put off by how serious insurance can seem, but the industry is getting friendlier and friendlier every day. (Did you know: I worked for an insurance app company for half of last year?)

Use a surge protector

In the UK our houses are old. Who knows what the deal with the electricity is? Likewise, where I’m from in Canada sees epic thunder and lightning storms in summer. Protect your computer from a potential frying situation by using a surge protector. And make sure said surge protector is being used properly. You can grab one on Amazon for just over a fiver or go extra fancy.

Keep your computer updated

I am the Queen of clicking “remind me tomorrow” whenever my Macbook asks me to run updates. One day I will regret this. Keeping your computer software (both the operating system and any other programs you have installed) up-to-date will help you avoid corrupting important files and keep everything running smoothly.

Continue to do all of the above, forever

I know, I know, none of this sounds particularly fun or interesting, but you need only look at others who have experienced a complete tech catastrophe or to have experienced one yourself, to know how important it is to keep your devices happy and healthy, and all of your work backed up and safe.

If you don’t have time to attend to these tips right away, I suggest popping a note in your planner to do a little audit on your own backup plans and computer check-ups. Then flip to a page 3 months from now, and jot down a reminder to make sure everything’s still functioning properly.

Repeat forever until all of this becomes even more automated (or we’re under the control of the aforementioned alien overlords – whichever comes first).

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