Thursday, February 10, 2011

Posted by Laurel Garver on Thursday, February 10, 2011 18 comments
When you work on multiple computers, you have to be careful or you're likely to lose precious hours. I've usually used the program Dropbox to keep all my files synced, but earlier this week I decided to e-mail myself a piece I was in the middle of critiquing.

Can you feel the dumb coming? That's right, I downloaded the incomplete file and did NOT save it to a specific folder under a new name. I just opened the document and started working. Well, guess what? At the end of THREE HOURS, I hit save. Then I tried to e-mail this critique. The file, of course, had vanished.

I've run six different searches, expanded even into the program files, with no luck. That sucker is just gone. I'll have to re-do all that work--re-inputting comments on five chapters out of nine total.

Friends, please learn from my mental lapse. If you ever download a Word document from e-mail, immediately do a "save as," give it a new name, and specify that it save to a folder where you can find it again. Make no changes until you are certain the document is physically on your computer. Use a program like Googledocs or Dropbox to back up everything as well.

Anyone have a computer-related "epic fail" story you want to share? What steps do you take to ensure files don't vanish?

18 comments:

  1. Ugh, I know your pain, Laurel! I've done this more times than I care to admit, and it makes me want to beat my head against the wall.

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  2. Being IT (kind of) at work, there are soooo many stories. My favorite is one coworkers keyboard wasn't working because a couple of the function keys were being pressed down by a credit card machine.....

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  3. I'm sure you have, but did you check the temporary internet files folder? That's usually where things like that will save if you're on a PC.

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  4. I"ve done the exact same thing and have had to abandon my search because the filenames were random. I've found it once in "Recent."

    What other blunder? I hit send for a query that was half written to an agent. And sent the complete one a few minutes later--and got back two form rejections.

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  5. Yes, I've done this and learned my lesson! So sorry for your lost work.

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  6. ouch. this week I lost a half hour of an application I was doing online because my connection reset. I had to go back and look everything up again.

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  7. Oh no!! Good to remember! Sorry you lost it though!!

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  8. Ack! So sorry. I've been lucky (*knocks on wood*) and haven't had any catastrophe's in a long time. But I also have triple back-up, so that helps. :)

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  9. That is such a pain. I lost about 4 hours work through careless syncing this week. It never seems to flow as well when I am recreating it either :-(

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  10. Sorry to hear you lost it! Ouch. That's a lot of information!

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  11. VR: That makes me feel so much better, because I know you are one smart cookie! Alas, we all have our lapses!

    Kidros: Ha! Hardware fail, huh?

    JEM: I sure did check there. What i can't figure out is why my temp folder had four blank documents saved from yesterday, but not my critique download. Phooey.

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  12. Yat-Yee: I think searching gets very tricky on a networked computer. It's possible the IT guys have made it impossible to actually search the folders where my file may have saved. I did give up and just re-do the critique. I had at least marked some of my comments on a hard copy, so it wasn't completely from scratch.

    Chris: Thirty minutes I could have lived with; losing three hours feels devastating. :-(

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  13. Elle: I'm usually vigilant about saving my own work. I can't believe I was so careless working on a CPs manuscript. Doh!

    Colene: Watch and learn and go back up your files!

    Susan: Count on a rocket scientist to have triple backups! :-)

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  14. Al: Yeah, I know what you mean. I confessed to the CP that I'd made a saving blunder and that my second pass on her five chapters wasn't as detailed. You just get tired, you know?

    GE: I know, I know. I think I did an OK job on my second pass today, but I probably missed things I'd seen the first time. Oh well. Can't turn back time, can we? Just have to learn from our mistakes.

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  15. Oh man. My stomach totally got all crampy for you. That is the worst feeling!

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  16. Awww Laurel - I really feel for you.

    I'm really surprised you didn't find it in
    C:\Users\Laurel(or whatever your username is)\downloads. Most odd.
    You did search using *.doc?

    I know you have redone it now, but it would be nice to know where it is hiding. (I can't believe it has been swallowed up by the ether!)

    But saving the document to a folder first is a pretty sound idea!!

    :Dom

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  17. LOL: I'm so afraid of losing a file I save it in three mediums - and then forget which was the one I worked in last and where the updates need to be saved in the other files and . . on and on.

    You know, these computer things aren't always efficient :)

    ..........dhole

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  18. I can see how this could happen. YIKES! Consider me forewarned. Sorry you lost all that work and time.

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