Save Early; Save Often: or How I learned to stop worrying and love the back-up.

The time is upon us.

Dude, Whoa, when’s it due?

The end of the semester is nigh.

OMG!…Like I have like so like many like papers and like projects to like do!

However you want to say it, midterm marks the start of the busy season. Papers and projects that seemed so abstract, and deadlines that seemed so far into the future now loom on the horizon like Viking raiders.

Don’t Panic!

And whatever you do, make sure to save your work when you are working in a campus computer lab. Make sure to save it in the right place as well. The right place to save your work is…well actually, there are two places:

  1. Your Z: drive. The Information Technology department goes to considerable lengths in both effort and money to maintain a reliable system of personal network drive space for students, faculty, and staff. The data there is backed-up often and is recoverable should something tragic happen, like an earthquake, or a zombie apocalypse. You have to PAY ATTENTION to where you are saving that paper you have been working on for the past umpteen hours, make sure it gets onto your Z: drive.
  2. Your personal USB flash drive, or thumb drive, or whatever you want to call it.  These devices are inexpensive, effective, and come in many fashionable colors. Having the added security of a second copy of your work is a good thing. The only downside of USB flash drives is that, because they are so small and work so transparently, they are easy to forget. Every year, thousands of thumb drives are abandoned by their owners in USB ports all over the country. Please help bring this tragic neglect to an end. Remember to take your Flash drive with you when you leave.

The C: drive is not your friend.

Speaking of tragedy, every year some students will experience the heartbreak of losing a paper or project (forever and for real) because he or she inadvertently saved work to the C: drive of the lab PC he or she was working on. This loss is often accompanied by actual tears, sometimes some foul language, and always a bit of genuine panic because the lost work is due in a very short time.

When the lab computer restarts, which it will do on its own if left alone for 90 minutes, by the way, all changes (this includes papers) are wiped out instantly, completely, and permanently. They are not recoverable; they are gone, gone, gone forever and anon.

The reason the security software is so, shall we say vigorous and mean in its cleansing is so that any malware, keystroke loggers, viruses, worms, or other creepy-crawlies are exterminated before the next user comes along.

Save early, save often, and save to the right place.

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