Good Night, Irene.

Okay, I’ve seen this post a hundred times and I always said, “It’ll never happen to me.” Well, it did. What a feeling … and it is not good.

The computer glowed as I headed out to do some stuff. As usual, I waved goodbye to my electronic friend and off I went. Meanwhile, while I was out enjoying a Friday afternoon in Coral Gables, meeting a friend for happy hour, my computer decides to have its own kind of happy hour.

On arrival back at the homestead, I saw the blinking cursor in the upper left hand corner. Ah—no problem, I thought. This has happened to me a million times. Punching the button, I sat back, waiting for the monster to awaken from its sleep. Nothing—after a few minutes, all I saw was a black screen with that damned cursor blinking at me from the upper left hand corner.

The images flew through my mind—the documents that I worked on this afternoon, the pictures I downloaded just last night.

After trying multiple times, I realized this might be the real death star. I had the same feeling when my Xbox 360 gave me the red ring of death.

Only this time, it was different. I had to upload a presentation for a paying gig, a half-day workshop at a conference … deadline today. I thought about my WIP. Sure, I saved it to the laptop and thumb drive—TWO WEEKS AGO. Why do I go along every day without backing up.  AAAHHHHH.

The panic set in. I restarted at least four times. Nothing.

After a deep breath, I restarted and the familiar, F2 …  F12, flashed at me. I randomly hit the F12 key and it gave me some options in on old DOS language that I hardly knew. I clicked the cursor at anything that would accept it.

With a grumble in its gut, my old electronic friend coughed and sputtered. The evil empire logo blasted on to the screen. I knew I was home free.

Spending the rest of the night saving everything to thumb drives; I realized that I’m just as susceptible to a computer crash as anyone. Thank goodness, it didn’t happen this time, but I’m sure it has happened to some of you out there.

It’s a lesson, I know. One day I might actually learn it. Back up your files. Save things to the Cloud. Whatever you do, don’t make the same mistake that I did. Oh, and if you are wondering why my post is a little lite this week, well, now you know why.

If it’s happened to you, share your experience in the comments section, I’d love to hear what and how you handled the situation—and, do you back up now?

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Jim Devitt is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and the author of the #1 Kindle Bestselling novel, THE CARD, For more information, please see the IU bio page or his blog:


Author: Jim Devitt

Jim Devitt’s debut YA novel, The Card, hit #1 in three separate categories on the Kindle Bestseller list in early January and was a finalist in the Guys Can Read Indie Author Contest this past summer. Devitt currently lives in Miami, FL with his wife Melissa and their children. Learn more about Jim at his blog and his Amazon author page.

22 thoughts on “Good Night, Irene.”

  1. Jim, I just wrote some stuff about the horror genre.

    This, my friend, is true horror, though; an urgent reminder for me to plug in that external hard drive I still haven't taken out of its box.

    1. Yes, Kat,

      I'm very familiar with Dropbox. The ridiculous thing is that I use it for my "real" work. Figures doesn't it?

      This was definitely a wake up call and reminder that my whole life is in the computer.

  2. I have a worse situation that you as I have a memory as long as my nose, well almost anyway. I consistently save things, pictures, articles, emails,documentaries; then can't remember where I put them. My old computer was simple I had a place for everything. Now on the new one the Microsoft folks have conveniently given me several place to put things and I rarely can find any of the things I saved in them.

    At least you are wise in your attempts to beat the odds.

  3. Ungh 🙁 Has this happened to me? Oh god yes…

    I have an external drive to which I backup..oh once every six months. I also have CDs with specific files backed up. And then I have my thumbdrive. All of them have copies of my work and none of them get the love and attention they deserve. Needless to say all three are about to get loved to death.

    One passive strategy I have found that does/can help is to partition my harddrive and put the evil empire on Drive C: with not much else apart from a few applications that insist on wanting to live nowhere else. All of my data is saved onto separate drives : D: for writing, E: for games and so on.

    If Windows dies on me I can then reformat the C: drive, re-install Windows and all my applications and then keep working because the data files have not been touched. Of course this only works if Windows is the culprit. If however the harddrive itself has died then things become much more grim. There is still a remote possibility that a clever techie can salvage my data files but….

    As I was saying, it's time to go do some digital housekeeping. Great post. Thanks!

    1. Yeah, I thought it was the hard drive. It didn't get past the system boot. I got lucky, thanks for the comments and lets go back up more stuff.

  4. As a retired IT professional, I am the worst. I've moved from the very sporadic backups on floppies, CD, DVD, flash drives, external hard drives to Carbonite. For $60/year my backups are automatic. That said, as soon as I reformat my Maxtor drive, I'll be doing that as well.

    1. What a great idea, Donna. I should spring for the $60 per year to do it automatically. Thanks for sharing that. As an IT professional, if its okay with you, it should be okay with me!

  5. Over the years it has happened to me three times; once in the floppy era, once about six years ago and then just last year. And after each time I back up religiously for about a year, and then I start to get a little lazy, and eventually get very slack again. My external hard drive sits right next to my computer but I must admit I have become indolent again. With a slight flick of the imagination I can relive the panic now!

    Thank you for the wake-up call.

    1. My pleasure, I had plans on doing a completely different post this week, but sometimes the universe instructs you to do different things, hence the post above.

      Maybe, just maybe, this has saved someone some aggravation or worse. Thanks for the comments!

  6. I was an idiot and opened an email attachment and it turned out to be a virus. Fortunately, MOST of my stuff was backed up on a 500 GB external drive, but not all of it. PANIC! I watched as my faithful companion went through death throes as the virus attacked. My hubby told me to contact my anti-virus software folks. Well, after $180 and about 4 hours, my friend was feeling better. Safe to say, if I don't know who the email is from, or if there is an attachment I don't trust, it's GONE! And I always power down or hibernate my computer if I'm going to be away from it for a while. So far, I've been lucky and that was the only near-fatal incident. My laptop is over 4 years old and still runs pretty good. Paranoia is a good thing sometimes…

  7. THANK YOU for the Dropbox information!Last year I added a new chapter to my WIP and was about to back it up on my flash drive when a Person From Porlock came to the door. Five minutes-it was only five minutes!And the computer crashed and I lost the whole thing.If I hadn't emailed it to a friend just before I would have been dead.I'm Dropboxing now for sure,esp.since Bono approves 🙂

    Oh, and when I saw your post's title, I thought it might be about the Jack White concert Friday night-he ended with that song!

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