So, it’s that time of the year where students are scrambling to finish term papers or studying for finals. Whether it’s spending hours on end typing a paper or finishing a study guide, the absolute last thing you want to do is lose your work at the eleventh hour. So in light of this, here are some tips (so you don’t break your computer screen) if you lose everything.
1. The computers at the Information Commons do not retain your data once you log out, so if you use these machines, bring a flash drive or email it to yourself often.
Most students are aware of this but it is worth mentioning this again. Additionally, if you lose your data on a machine in the IC, we can try, but may not be able to salvage the data. Lastly, the IC machines automatically log you out after ten minutes of inactivity. So, keep this in mind whenever you are doing work on these machines.
2. If you type a paper or make a presentation, email it to yourself or save it to your flash drive, even if you’re planning on finishing your project in one sitting. ALWAYS save your data if you walk away from the machine you are using as the machine may restart, logout or another person may restart the machine if there’s no evidence the machine is currently in use. Last week a colleague printed at the IC, locked his machine and when he came back there was a student sitting there who’d restarted the machine and stated he didn’t know someone else was logged in.
3. Save, save, save,
Another thing we know but do not always do. While most programs like Microsoft Word can recover a project in case of an unintended shutdown from things such as a battery running out of power, you can never be too careful. Further, if the auto-recovery does not catch it, there’s a good chance you may not be able to recover an important file. So save your data and save often. Also, if you were able to save your file and your laptop becomes inoperable, it is possible to try and retrieve the file from your hard drive so you can retrieve the data and continue to work on the document via another machine.
4. If you have a Google account, consider using Google Docs if you’re working on a paper.
If you’re using Gmail, then there’s a plethora of other applications you can use like Google Docs. It’s relatively easy to find and use. When you log into your GMAIL account, one of the tabs at the top of the webpage should say “Documents.” Select the feature. In order to create a document, click “Create new” and select “Document.”
While it looks a little different than programs like Microsoft Word or Libre Office, familiarizing yourself with Google docs shouldn’t take too long. It is relatively easy to create headers, page margins, etc, as you utilize the application. An advantage of Google Docs is the data is stored in the Google Cloud. So wherever you log into your Google account, you can access and work on your Google Docs document from anywhere in the world. Additionally, Google Docs is constantly saving data as you type so you no longer have to worry about losing a file on a machine. A long as you have a computer with internet access and a Google account, you’ll be able to access your documents and Google Docs.
5. Save your work in multiple places
If you work on something important, it’s always a good idea to place it in multiple places. Save it on your computer, a flash drive, an external hard drive, etc. Saving data to multiple locations is like having a redundancy plan. For example, if you lose a recent version of a document on a machine in one location, at least you still have an earlier version saved in another location.
Additionally, you may also want to consider using online storage applications such as Dropbox. Once you upload files to a “cloud” application such as Drop Box, you are able to access files from anywhere in the world on your computer if you have an internet connection. If you want to learn more about Dropbox, feel free to review my colleague’s blog post.
While we cannot guarantee 100% fail safety when it comes to protecting our data, be sure to try utilizing the above suggestions in order to access your material.
Submitted By: James Siap
“The full use of your powers along lines of excellence.”
- definition of “happiness” by John F. Kennedy