Michaeline: Self-care and the Gentle Art of Computer Backups

Young lady sitting on the back of a chair, watching a very small TV in a high cabinet c. 1933
Spend a night in with the small screen AND back up your computer files at the same time! (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

March: In like a lion’s tale, out like a lamb’s whisker . . . or something like that. What a story of woe I have, but it’s a very common one. My computer crashed and burned at the beginning of March. The trackpad had been wonky for months (a whole year?), so I should have known this was coming, but the Lenovo Idea Pad wasn’t even three years old, so I thought I had time.

Ah, time, my old enemy, my dear friend.

(Shakes head from reverie.) Friends, if a part of the computer is going “wonky,” don’t count on time being generous. Back up that stuff hourly if you love it, and at least weekly if you just collect fun things for later. Back it up in two places for better sleep at night.

I know this to be a good plan. You know this to be a good plan. Everyone knows this is what a computer owner should do. But of course, I didn’t. Saving files not a lot of fun.

You know what else is not a lot of fun? Wandering around an electronics store for 45 minutes while they download your data from the hard drive into the USB stick, then digging in your purse for ten thousand yen. (\10,000 sounds so much more impressive than a hundred bucks; still a lot more expensive than BACKING UP THE DATA.)

You know what’s even less fun? Having the technician sorrowfully intone, “I’m sorry, there was nothing we could do.” Ranks right up there with Hemingway’s lost suitcase on the train.

So, in the effort to make this a little more fun, I’m imagining a self-care scenario. After all nothing causes wrinkles like MEMORY LOSS. Take care of your skin, give your brain a rest, and back up your computer every week with this fabulous spa plan! (For Windows 10; I hope some kind soul will explain how it’s different for other operating systems in the comments, or we can even give the right pitch a Monday post.)

This is a picture of a Czech television recorder -- a small screen about the size of a laptop, huge reel-to-reel tapes, and on top of cupboards larger than those in a typical kitchen. This is a big piece of equipment, and it looks intimidating and a little grungy. Smoke from cigarettes, probably.
With modern technology, saving the files and creating a restore point doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

First, select something to binge on – the networks used to have a whole evening line-up of great comedy and detective shows, with commercials. That would be perfect for our purposes. If (like me) you don’t really do TV like that, choose a different format. I’ll probably go with Disc II of the BBC Pride and Prejudice.

Now, drink one cup of water, and prepare a large mug of warming beverage – I recommend hot honey lemonade. I’ll put the instructions for my situation in italics so you can scroll past them if you don’t have a Japanese computer.

Start the System Image Restore Point by plugging your computer into an NTFS (New Technology File System) formatted storage point. I just got a new solid-state drive from Buffalo that is TINY! Fifteen grams, and it’s about 6 cm by 3 cm – smaller than a credit card, although a little thicker. It holds 960 GB, which is good enough for my purposes.

You can find the instructions for setting the System Image Restore Point here. My silly computer doesn’t understand English very well, so I have to do it through the back alley. I type “backup” without the quotes, in the search box. This takes me to Settings (設定settei)→Updates and Security(更新とセキュリティkoushin to sekyuriteli)→Backup(バックアップbakkuappu). At the bottom of the script, there’s a blue sentence that says (freely translated) take me to backup and restore Windows 7. ([バックアップと復元]に移動(Windows7) bakkuappu to fukugen ni idou (Windows 7))

On the left column, there’s a Create System Restore Point (システムイメージの作成shisutemu imeeji no sakusei). Click on that. Make sure the device you want to store the data on is right. Press Next (次へ(N)tsugi he (N)). It’ll tell you how many GBs it will take (67 in my new and shiny case) and that it may overwrite the previous system restore point. Press the first box if you are ready to go. (バックアップ開始(S)bakkuappu kaishi (S)) (If you don’t want to overwrite your old system image, navigate through your files and rename the old system image, if you didn’t do it last time.)

NOW, put your media-to-binge on your screen, and binge awhile!

FIRST BATHROOM BREAK

Whoosh, that’s the system image done. If you are paranoid like I am, you may wish to save your library to an external hard drive or USB. Of course, if you are truly paranoid, you will have saved anything important immediately after you’ve downloaded it, changed it, or otherwise put it into the computer. TWICE. Perhaps the safest thing to do is to save it to the cloud, and save it to an external piece of hardware. That way, if your house falls down on the computer, you can still access the information at a Starbucks or 7-11. And, if the international cloud network is invaded by the aliens or hackers, you still have a copy at home. It may not seem like a big deal in such extreme cases, but it’s ONE LESS THING TO WORRY ABOUT, so just do it, OK?

Put on a nice mask. I’ve been enjoying honey with turmeric powder lately. Binge for another half hour or so while your libraries are saving.

BATHROOM BREAK, THE SECOND

Wash your face, moisturize. Do some lovely stretches.

Download the security updates to your Windows while you watch more TV and buff your nails.

THIRD BATHROOM BREAK

Congratulations! You’ve updated your computer, and have softer skin than you did earlier this evening. Shut down the computer, moisturize your hands and put on cotton gloves, and get ye to bed with a hot novel. Read until three in the morning, sigh in envy and happiness at the wonderful ending, and get a little sleep before you start a new day.

There are waffles in the morning. Because, of course there are. We deserve them.

A picture from the early 20th century with a doctor in a three-piece suit and a hand-held black telephone looking at a very modern screen (encased in wood, though, above his folding-top desk with pigeon holes and everything). A young woman (nose, mouth, tongue and pearl necklace only showing) sticks out her tongue for him. TEXT: POTENTIALITIES OF TELEVISION. Voice. "DOCTOR, I DON'T FEEL WELL AND I'D LIKE TO SHOW YOU MY TONGUE. LOOK!"
Take good care of yourself, and your intellectual property as well! (Image via Wikimedia Commons) Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org A doctor on the telephone (which is linked up to a television screen) to a patient whom he can both observe and talk to from a distance; representing possible technological innovations. Reproduction of a drawing after D.L. Ghilchip, 1932. 1932 By: D.L. Ghilchip Published: 1932 Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

2 thoughts on “Michaeline: Self-care and the Gentle Art of Computer Backups

  1. That last image: presaging telemedicine by 90 years!

    I’m so sorry for your computer woes—three years doesn’t seem like too long a time to expect a computer to last. Remember the good old days when the IBM machines were the workhorses of industry? Those days are over.

    I never back up my entire system, so my hat’s off to you, even though you were essentially forced into it. I used to always back up my current folder to Dropbox at the end of the day; in the last months I’d gotten out of the habit until a few days ago, when I looked up and realized that the current file of the WIP no longer had a chapter 6. For some reason, poof! it was gone. So I reconstructed it from a months-old version, which was tiresome in the extreme but at least I had something. Now I’m back to backing up the current folder to Dropbox every day again. I know I should back up the entire thing: apps, folders, whatnot. Somehow the enthusiasm for that kind of work eludes me.

    By now you have a new computer?

    • Wasn’t that cartoon fun? It fit so well with the times, I wedged it into the post.

      I always think I’d like my computer to last seven years, but family and friends tell me that this is NOT going to happen. I thought I’d get four out of my Lenovo at least, but it wasn’t meant to be.

      I do have a new computer, all set up, and with the second set of system images on the SSD (fingers crossed!). It’s a Toshiba dynabook from 2019, so it was pretty cheap as these things go, and it doesn’t have a lot of memory . . . but if I can get almost a TB with another SSD and a USB connection, I think I can live with it! I liked Toshiba a lot when I had it last time. The main problem was that the keyboard wore off and towards the six-year mark, had keys that were actively cracked. I really pound on a keyboard and can’t train myself to do otherwise. I like the clickety-clack. It makes me feel productive.

      But, I do have an external keyboard, so if I can keep that in batteries, I should be fine and save on some of the wear and tear on the real keyboard. Even with the SSDs, the USB gadget that gives me four USB ports, and the external keyboard, it still probably weighs less and takes up less space than the computer I was lugging around in 2005.

      I wish I had a sure-fire way to make saving stuff fun and easy. TBH, I wrote the above just for laughs. I will probably have to make it a weekly chore connected with after-blog relaxing on a Saturday afternoon. That’s what I did yesterday (and I even watched a little bit of Pride and Prejudice!).

      TBH, doing the system image saving was very quick and painless. New computer, after all. UPDATING the darn thing took a lot longer. I keep thinking I’ve got all the updates, but there’s always one more, it seems. I googled the one that was keeping my computer busy yesterday, and it was apparently a huge update from October 2020! I should have already gotten it the first five times I checked for updates, but it popped up anyway.

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