I decided to join Molly’s weekly Tuesday Tips series with a friendly PSA to BACK YOUR HARD DRIVE UP!
Can you imagine sitting down to write your thesis when all of a sudden, you get the blue screen of death, and your entire hard drive is lost? I don’t know anyone personally that this has happened to, but I’m sure it has happened more often than it should. That being said, in today’s electronic world, I beg of you, PLEASE back your data up.
I personally back up my entire computer at the lab every week on my external hard drive – I have a reoccurring reminder on my Google calendar to do it every Friday. External hard drives are pretty cheap these days — you can get a 1 TB hard drive for less than $100!
If you don’t want to be responsible for remembering something so important, an alternative is to use a cloud-based system that will do it automatically like the Apple Time Machine. However, if you’re going to take this route, make sure you are using a secure system and also have permission from your adviser to do this. It also wouldn’t hurt to check it every so often to make sure it’s still working. If your lab already has a systematic way of backing up data, then figure out what it is and do it! Finally, don’t forget to also back up data from other computers that may be connected to microscopes, in someone else’s lab, etc.