We have all experienced the heart-sinking realization that hours of hard work are suddenly gone for good. Perhaps your computer shut down beyond repair or you accidentally saved over something you had wanted to keep, and then you are left to struggle to recreate what was already done.
It’s one thing to lose a few files, but it’s quite another to lose a semester’s worth of material. Here are a few tips for keeping your most important files and course materials safe:
When on campus, save your files to the P: Drive and not the C: Drive.
When you log into your La Salle computer, and view the Computer folder from your Start menu, you should see a few different drives, like the ones below:
Your C: Drive is your local hard drive. This is where you can usually find your Documents folder or your Libraries. However, these files are only being stored on that computer. If something should happen to your hard drive, all of those files may be gone as well.
Your P: Drive, on the other hand, is a network drive, meaning that files saved here are being stored on La Salle’s network. These files are backed-up regularly and so this is a much safer spot for your content. These files will also be accessible on the P: Drive from almost any computer on campus. If you sign into the PC in your classroom, you will see the same files that you have on your PC in your office.
The next time that you need to save a file, click to save it to the P: Drive instead of your Documents to keep it safe.
Don’t save content that you need to keep to your classroom computer.
Classroom computers are regularly updated and so you should never save anything to the computer’s Desktop or Documents that you hope to access later.
Any PowerPoint slides or content that you edit or create during your class session should also be saved to your P: Drive, SkyDrive, or a flash drive for safekeeping.
Always on the go? Use SkyDrive.
[Editor’s note: As of July 2013, due to changes made by Microsoft, SkyDrive is no longer provided to new La Salle students, faculty, and staff. You can always sign up for your own free SkyDrive account at https://skydrive.live.com/ or use other cloud storage tools like Dropbox.]
All La Salle faculty, staff, and students have access to 7 GB of online file storage through SkyDrive. You can log into SkyDrive from the MyLasalle portal by clicking on the Tools area.
SkyDrive is accessible from anywhere that you have an Internet connection, so you can always have the latest version of your files with you. SkyDrive also has a downloadable app that allows you to sync files between your computers, your smartphone, and your online SkyDrive files. When you use the downloadable app, you will always have a local backup of your files, which provides additional peace of mind that your files are safe.
Visit SkyDrive’s website for more information on the available apps.
If you already use flash drives to transport a lot of your important files, make sure that you occasionally back-up this information onto a computer.
Keep your own version of essential content (even if it’s in Blackboard).
It is a good idea to keep your own backup copies of important files that you upload to Blackboard. When a course is copied multiple times, a large stockpile can accumulate in the Files area of your Blackboard course and it can be difficult to find specific files or versions.
Alicia provides a summary of various ways to backup your Blackboard course in this post. If it is just files that you are looking for, you can download them in bulk from the Files area under your Control Panel in Blackboard. Use the checkboxes to select the files you want, and then click Download Package to download them in a Zip file.
This can be something that you plan to do at the end of each semester. You may even want to keep different folders for different semesters as your course evolves.
Develop good file-naming and organization practices.
Sometimes files are not so much lost, as misplaced. Taking a few minutes to develop a good electronic filing system and standard way to name files can save hours of time down the road. For example, once I started appending keywords like “draft” or “V2” for additional versions of files, I found that I was much less likely to overwrite key files.
Then, once you have a system, try to stick to it! This can be hard when things get busy, but it is worth it to avoid that sinking feeling of knowing that our best work is no longer in our computer’s memory, and is no longer in our memory either.