Going Without A Computer Was Harder Than I Thought

(The image was created with ChatGPT with the prompt “Create an image of a person standing on a virtual cloud, holding a giant USB flash drive.”)

It seems only fitting that March 31st, 2024, is World Backup Day. Over the past few weeks, I’ve had the odd hiccup in backing up my computer. I have a Surface, which I’ve had for ages. But although I’ve had it for ages, it’s been upgraded. In fact, a few years ago, I had a larger micro card put in to expand my memory. Don’t ask me all the details because I have a guy who does a great job helping me when I run into a jam. I may know how to run a computer, but I don’t know how my laptop actually runs. Do you know what I mean?

One of the things that has been done to my computer is that I have C and D drives on the computer. The D drive is the little mini card. Don’t ask me why, but when I use Backblaze, it doesn’t see my mini SD card D drive, so the workaround is to have an external drive (E drive) that backs up my C drive and my mini SD card D drive, and then Backblaze comes along and backs up my C drive and the E (external drive) which has the D drive on it. Confusing, huh…. but it works…. for the most part.

So I should take the E drive along when I travel, right? But I went to RootsTech and didn’t and then came back, and in the last couple of weeks, occasionally, I’d get up in the morning and see an error report. I took some screen grabs but didn’t send them to my “computer guy.” Then, last week, I got a few more.. in fact, it was happening daily. I didn’t realize that the card, which was my D drive, was likely failing, and nothing was being backed up.

By the time I talked to my “computer guy,” it was a problem. Thankfully, he could log on to my computer remotely and make a copy of my mini SD card D drive (at least the part he could copy). I think that 130,000 files later, he had everything I had in my computer life. Once he had that, he could put it on a new mini-card.

Here is the most surprising thing about all this: I couldn’t believe how hard it was for me to be away from the computer. I tried using my phone for a lot of things. Some things were okay, but I found many things cumbersome, and many of the app experiences were not the same as those on the computer. I guess I’m not a kid anymore. I saw that because many younger people live and breathe on their phones.

Did I get other stuff done? You bet. I did all my laundry, washed the floors, and did some of the other cleaning that didn’t usually get attention, like behind the sofa. I got all my mending done—sheesh, I hate sewing. I worked on my stained glass. I even finished a book (Wild Horse Island) and started a new one called Genealogy of a Murder. But I was calling my “guy” and asking how much longer is this going to be.

So, what did I learn from all this? Take that external backup drive on trips, check that all your backup processes are working, and don’t ignore those messages. Because ultimately, if I had had my Backblaze working properly, I could have been up and running much quicker. I know better, and that’s the hardest bit to accept, but sometimes you need a kick in the butt to remind you.

One thing I didn’t have to worry about was my photos. They are all backed up at FOREVER.


  • Tlewingdon says:

    Be careful about taking external drives traveling. I had an external drive go missing thru airport security. No reason for it to have fallen out of my computer bag. It was password protected but…

    • Theresa, That would be terrible. I’d likely put in my knapsack that’s how I carry my laptop. Hope you and hubby are doing well. It was great getting to know you when you were in AZ.

  • Teresa says:

    My worst nightmare…I back up frequently (keep one external drive at home and one at work). Glad your tech guy was able to solve your issue, but, like you, I imagine I would find it difficult to be apart from my computer for any length of time – last time it happened was about 6 years ago and it was for several days. I too felt lost!

  • Charlene says:

    Been there and done that. I even have a computer background and should had known better. My problem was that I wasn’t backing up like I should and then I got one of those “blue screen of death”. I had to reformat my drive, I did restore from my backup, but it was six months old. I lost six months of genealogy research and what it was, I will never know. I now have an automatic cloud backup system and if it doesn’t back up the night before because of an intermitted internet connection, it’s the first thing I do in the morning. Then once a month, I backup my folders to an external back as a precaution. Sometimes we just have to learn the hard way.

    • Charlene, It’s terrible when we have to learn the hard way. Like you there was something I’d done 2 days before that was a file called info and I’m still trying to figure out what it was. Happy hunting.