A Philosopher's Blog

Writing, Backing Up & a Hot Plug Fix

Posted in Technology by Michael LaBossiere on June 25, 2008

I’m currently writing a science fiction monograph for Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu game, hence I’ve been a bit slack in my blog writing.

Like any sensible writer, I’m paranoid about losing my work. Months of writing could easily be lost to a failed disk, so I make a point of backing up my files. Some people use dedicated back up software to do this, but I tend to back up my writing the old fashioned way. However, I’m quite careful about how I do this. Here is what I do.

First, I back up copies several ways. Currently, I have the project files on two USB thumb drives, two USB external hard drives, one SD card and on the internal drives of three computers. Yes, I am totally paranoid.

Second, I make sure to preserve older copies of the files. Rather than simply over-writing all the files, I’ll drag the older files into a “time machine” folder and then create a new folder for the more recent files. This way if something happens to the new files or I need some previous version, I’ll have access to that. Yes, Apple’s time machine can do this sort of thing. Eventually, I’d really love to have a new Mac.

Third, I email myself copies of the files when I’m done for the day. That way, even if everything is wiped out here, I’ll still have copies. I have considered using online storage, but text files are modestly sized and email works just fine for this.

One thing I did find as I swapped USB drives on my PC was that the Windows XP Safely Remove Hardware icon would vanish from my computer from time to time. Without that function, removing external hard drives is a bad idea (for some things you can use the Eject option). Fortunately, there is an easy fix. Just go to Start and select Run. When the window comes up, paste the following into the field and hit OK:

RunDll32.exe shell32.dll,Control_RunDLL HotPlug.dll

Paste all the text in there at once. This will bring up the dialog for removing hardware and restore the icon. Then you can safely remove the hardware.

Back to writing.



One Response

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  1. magus71 said, on June 26, 2008 at 1:52 pm


    Hope things are going well. I’m about to graduate tomorrow, so I’ll be doing my usual amountr of writing once I’m out of here…Talk later.


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