Computer Issues

It all Started with the MOUSE!

A couple of weeks ago, my mouse started ‘misbehaving’. The first thing I noticed was the inability to highlight text. Instead of highlighting what I wanted highlighted, it would jumb somewhere else and start the highlighting. Even if I could get the section of text highlighted that I wanted highlighted, it wouldn’t ‘stop’ highlighting. Then it started creating a ‘double-click’ when I only clicked once.

The obvious solution was to replace the mouse. Since I live with someone who hangs onto older hardware, we tested several different mice. We found that a wired mouse worked as well as a different branded wireless mouse worked.

So, I was ready to order a new mouse. However, my husband was still trying to figure out why my mouse – and other mice – were not functioning correctly. He ran the diagnostics and discovered that my hard drives are failing. Yes, that is plural. Both the C and D drives are failing.

Thus, all of my genealogy files are at risk! Even though I am working with a dying computer, I am thankful. I am thankful for the lessons learned about backing up and restoring files while working as a high school technology coordinator. I am thankful for the monthly reminders from Dick Eastman and other genealogists to back-up my genealogy files. I am thankful for Cousin Russ and his reminders to test your backups to make sure files can be retrieved.

Thus, I do have back-ups — and I have redundancy.

  • I use a cloud backup service to backup both drives to the Cloud.
  • I use the program, Second Copy, to set up tasks to run overnight to copy my data files to a USB drive
  • I use a cloud service to store most of my files in the cloud
  • I copy my genealogy files – especially pictures — to a portable USB drive.

Knowing that my computer could stop at any moment, I have spent the last couple of days verifying that my genealogy files are backed up to multiple locations. (I also have new hardware on order.) Having all of this redundancy will make it easy to transfer my files to the new hardware.

Now, I need to verify the list of installed software and make sure I have installation files and serial numbers.

Even though the thoughts of a crashed computer is disturbing, I am thankful that my computer is still running. I’m also thankful for the chance to improve the organization of my files.

If you don’t currently automatically backup your files, take this post as a warning to backup your genealogy files — and listen to the monthly reminders to backup your data!

Backing Up Data

It’s almost the first of the month – the time when many bloggers remind us to backup our genealogy data. Normally, I ignore those reminders. I ignore them because I feel like I have a good backup plan.

  • I backup my RootsMagic database every time I close it after making any changes. (I change the name to add a character or two to reflect the time.)
  • My genealogy files are stored on the hard drive of my computer and synced with Dropbox
  • I use Second Copy to copy files (documents, pictures and music) to an external USB drive
  • I use Backblaze to backup my files off site

Since I am backing up my files in multiple ways, I usually don’t worry about the reminders. That was until this morning. When I sat down to my computer this morning, I had a BackBlaze warning that my files hadn’t been backed up since May 22nd. 
So, how did my backup system fail? Two factors caused Backblaze to not be current: the weather and the loss of Internet connectivity.

Many would question how I could blame a Backblaze failure on the weather, but it is related. I try to shutdown my computer and unplug it during thunderstorms. Getting tired of this middle of the night task, I started shutting down my computer at bedtime when severe weather threatened. And we have had a lot of severe weather for the past 10 days. Since I have Backblaze and Second Copy set to run at night, neither was backing up my computer until I left it on last night.
Since we didn’t have severe weather last night (thank you Lord), the backups should have run. Second Copy did run and the backup to the USB drive is current. However, Backblaze didn’t run.
Backblaze couldn’t run last night because our Internet was still down from a cut fiber line. Since the fiber line repair was completed this morning, our Internet is back. Thus, Backblaze should run tonight and everything will be backed up again.
The warning this morning reminded me to PAY ATTENTION to whether my backups complete as expected.