BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): If you have an application that opens a data file automatically when it’s invoked, be sure you know EXACTLY where that file is located and back it up then double check the backup.
This afternoon I found myself faced with lost data. Not just one important file (my task list), but two (my password database.) OK, they weren’t lost, but the copies I thought I was writing to hadn’t been backed up in a couple weeks despite my weekly efforts to do so.
I use an SD card to keep my important files periodically (ex: resume, task list, password database, etc) Unforutnately putting the SD card in and out of the laptop slot all the time was starting to take a toll so I copied the important files to the laptop and back them up to the SD card weekly. The second factor in my problem was that I got sick of going to C:\Chuck to always get these frequent files so I moved them to a subfolder under My Documents (a story for another time.) Correction – I did not MOVE the files so much as COPY them. Had I moved them, this would not have been a problem. With critical files, I always err on the side of caution and make copies in case something doesn’t work out with the move, I still have the originals.
Now for the kicker, when I thought I was using these files out of My Documents, I finally went back and deleted them from C:\Chuck. Later in the day I went to open my task list and found it was empty. I went to File> Open and opened up the data file only to find out it was a couple weeks out of date. OY! I just updated all those projects and tasks this morning! “No Problem”, I thought, “I’ll just get them out of the recycle bin.” Woe is me, they weren’t there. I don’t know why, but they were gone. I searched the entire C: drive thinking I may have moved them to another folder rather than delete them… nope. I was screwed. The fates conspired against me.
I had to make up the data, do my weekly review again, and try and get as many passwords and accounts back in as I could. It’s pretty amazing how much information you can go through in a couple weeks when it’s lost!
I feel like such an idiot because I’ve nearly lost this information before when I misplaced the SD card (and it was the only source.) That’s why I started running off the laptop and copying back to the SD card, but without some kind of verification, it was all for naught.
Now I’ve added one more task to my regular manual backup process… check the modification dates on these critical files to ensure it agrees with when I think I modified them.
Be extra cautious when you have applications that open a default file when they start (as is the case with My Life Organized, and Keepass).
Hopefully you won’t suffer the same fate I did.