• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.

Remember folks...back up those lists... (1 Viewer)

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Frustrating evening.

Due to my attempts to fix some sort of vexing problem on my personal laptop, involving an audio driver that was installed but not working, I have killed my computer, beyond my ability to repair or use. Hopefully, it can be fixed tomorrow by professionals without files lost.

But if not...ouch. I used the pandemic and my housebound boredom to do a top down overhaul of all of my lists. I'm not worried about missing species...I've only had 1 lifer and 1 ABA bird since the last back up of files, and those are in Ebird. BUT...I used a custom taxonomy, and since the last update I completely reorganized the order of birds, added subfamilies, and updated my potenial future split list. Worst are my mammal and herp checklists...I use a custom taxonomy of my own making, which involved delving into the literature on bat and rodent taxonomy, going through EVERY genus of NA mammal and herp looking for splits, name changes, and recognized subfamilies, and all sorts of related work. and of course that is on top of all the other unbacked up materials, like my creative writing projects.

Months of work...potentially gone, just because I procrastinated on backing up files...
 

RafaelMatias

Unknown member
Portugal
I feel for you, I had catastrophic issues with my PC twice since late June. Fortunately it all ended up OK. The first time they blamed it on a missing update from Microsoft on Windows 7 (yeah, I was still using it); after they fixed it and installed Windows 10 I had a similar issue again, so I got a bit paranoid with leaving my PC on sleep mode overnight (might interfere with the system updating it seems): I always turn it off when I finish a working session. Good luck with that!
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
After a long talk with my tech on Friday, he told me never put the CP in sleep mode. Said it was truly not a safe thnig to do.
 

YuShan

Well-known member
That sucks! I hope you will be able to restore the files.

I backup my entire PC every week on an external drive. Just a set day and time makes sure that I actually do it (in my case every Friday at 5:00pm).
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Yes, ouch and good luck.

What's best? - there are various options - flash or external drive/cloud etc, but all have problems. 2 different methods, 3 copies best?

For photos and small files/small documents/spreadsheets you are working on you can just email yourself - that is safe as long as anything as long as you have your emails.
 
Last edited:

sbarnhardt

32d Traveling man
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
Yes, ouch and good luck.

What's best? - there are various options - flash or external drive/cloud etc, but all have problems. 2 different methods, 3 copies best?

For photos and small files/small documents/spreadsheets you are working on you can just email yourself - that is safe as long as anything as long as you have your emails.
I

I've used the email method, off-site back up, and flash/thumb drive in a USB port.

The USB port with a flash drive is easiest, email is cheapest, and an off site service is automatic but costs you!

Flash drive in a USB port is probably the easiest I've found.
 

Had.enough

Well-known member
Supporter
and remember, the back up is only half the solution. The restore needs to work as well. Fine if you are backing up individual files, but don't be drawn into thinking that application back-ups and system image back-ups will automatically restore ok. (Testing they work isn't always easy either)

My Chromebook has a Linux container which I use for sound files, audacity, and scythebill. Google introduced a feature to back up the whole container, which I started using.
When it came to me needing to restore, all the linux back-ups were corrupt. Luckily I was still doing scythebill backups separately, and they worked fine.

Good luck Mysticete, hope it is all intact
 
Last edited:

Julie50

Mostly in the Midlands :)
Supporter
United Kingdom
Good luck mysticete,

I stick to book and pen, but I only record one life list alphabetically and ongoing day book!
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
If you've a lot of material a network attached storage (nas) drive is a good idea. If you set it up as an array of mirrored disks you can be sure disk corruption won't lead to data loss (just swap out the disk for another and the working copy gets restored). Can also set up for remote access via your phone or whatever: your own personal Dropbox. This shows that the Nas can be in a different physical location to the rest of your copies. Off the shelf solutions are expensive, roll your own might be cheaper
 

Jeff Hopkins

Just another...observer
United States
I had a similar experience a couple years ago. I went to Peru with my laptop as I always do. One evening it wouldn't start up, probably due to the cold and damp. I freaked, because I hadn't backed it up in about a year. It made for a miserable birding day the next day. Fortunately, it restarted that evening and I was able to copy all my birding records to a flash drive that I travel with before it died again. So I could at least enjoy the rest of the trip.

Once I got home they were able to repair and resurrect it with no loss of data. Whew.

Now I back it up every time I make a substantial change to my lifelist or before I leave for a trip. Once bitten...

And that reminds me. I put my lifelist into eBird due to lockdown boredom, and wound up gaining a few species. Some data from my early trips were wrong due to taxonomy changes between when I put them in my spreadsheet and when I started regularly updating taxonomy changes. Backing up right now!
 
Last edited:

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
It's being worked on....although it was suppose to be done by today, but is taking longer than expected...

Definitely going to be backing up my data on a flashdrive when I get it back...
 

Ries

Well-known member
Netherlands
Terrible when stuff like that happens, sorry for you!

I think most of us had similar experiences. Myself with a music collection on a stolen computer (bought an external HD after that) and family pictures on mobile when a backup failed.

Indeed upload your lists to an online platform like eBird or observation.org but one should ultimately also keep backup on paper... Online projects don't need to last a lifetime, one might pull the plug or a server might crash or what about a Carrington event? We've began to feel as if digital life and platforms will last eternally but paper is just as reliable or even more.
 
Last edited:

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Was able to get my computer back last night. Still encountered some weird stuff, but at the very least they didn't have to wipe the drive and I immediately saved everything to flash drive.
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Great news and what a relief for you mysticete.

Thanks for updating us lad.
 

Had.enough

Well-known member
Supporter
Lucky. I've lost files over the years, but nothing of great magnitude.
A few local Nathusius Pipistrelle recordings, and a Lapland Bunting call from local vis mig hurt the most.
(Fortunately after people had heard them).
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top