We’re talking major sobs. I had no idea who I was talking to, or what the problem was, only that the other person on the other end of the phone was very distraught. She couldn’t speak.
I was nineteen years old.
And I supported Mac software. Over the phone.
Patiently, I extracted, bit-by-bit—this woman wrote a book.
One day, she went to load the book in her Mac Plus (yes, I am dating myself, for you clever techies), and it failed to load.
The file was corrupted. A year of her life, gone. Zap. Load, crash. No manuscript.
No print out.
I fixed her corrupted file. I had her copy it to a floppy disk. We opened the Word file up in a text editor, and deleted the header. When we copied it back to her hard disk, we opened it back up into Word. Word opened it as a text document. There were funny characters all over the place, but the text itself, her book, was still there. I showed her how to search for the errant binary goo and delete it. With about an hour of work, she had her manuscript back.
I was popular with this woman. She thanked me profusely. She said she wanted to have my baby (!) and sent me a very nice thank you letter.
Do you have a backup copy of your manuscript?
Do you have more than one?
Are one of these backup copies stored in a separate location other than your house?
Do you know how to deal with corrupted files other than resorting to your backup?
Do you have a plan for restoring your backups?
Have you ever practiced restoring your backups?
Do you check the file integrity of your backups on a regular basis?
The answers to all these questions should be yes.
Don’t be the person who says no.
Or you could be calling someone, sobbing into the phone.
Only, tech support now is a whole lot different, my friends, a whole lot different.
Consider this a handy tech tip of the obvious from Anthony, Backup Hack Writer. No need to thank me, that’s just the kind of guy that I am.