If you’ve been reading here for a while, you might remember me mentioning that my phone crashed. I lost so much more than I should have, but I wanted to pass on my experience so that you can benefit from it.
So basically, my phone crashed and when I tried to restart it, it showed a blue-screen with a sad face. I know Microsoft well enough to know this was not good, and I tried turning it off, doing a hard reset, but nothing worked. I gave it to my mom to research (this happened in the middle of my volunteer shift). I figured the worst case scenario, we would have to wipe it and restore from a backup. No big deal, though, because all my stuff was backed up.
I was right about what we had to do, and we did just that, and thanks to the at-home family members, and my dad’s input from work, we had my phone back up and running by that evening. The bad news is, all my stuff wasn’t backed up. My pictures were (thank God!), and my settings, app list, and all the stupid stuff that would have been a pain to do over again. But I would trade all of that stuff for what I did lose. Most of it was due to my bad choices, but some was ignorance.
I lost countless journal entries, from about February until now; I lost all my ringtones, and all the contents of a few apps I have for jotting things down. But, despite all the stuff I lost, I am so thankful I didn’t lose my pictures. I’ve heard of others who haven’t been so lucky.
Here’s a few things that I would have changed about the decisions I made, plus the ones that saved my backside (I have no idea how much of this applies to any other phone besides Windows Phones, since it’s based on my experience. There may be some nifty feature on your phone that I don’t have. 🙂 But it might be worth it to double-check and make sure everything is doing what you think it’s doing!) :
1. Save your photos to the cloud. I know there are several services out there (I use OneDrive, since I have a Windows Phone it’s super convenient, plus, I have a free TB there), and I would guess that using the service provided by your phone’s software company would be the easiest, but since I’m not a expert in the field, I don’t know. What I do know is, my pictures are half of the story of my life, and I rest easier knowing that my pictures are automatically uploading to the cloud (even though it’s a bit of a pain sometimes when a toddler takes 10 billion pictures of the floor, and they are all up there…).
2. Backup files saved on your phone. Unless you are 100% ok with losing it, either upload it to the cloud, or save it on your computer or an external hard drive. One of the decisions I regret the most is choosing to save files directly to my phone instead of to the cloud because it took “too long” every time I saved. Now I would gladly trade those extra few seconds of upload time to get them back. (And just a word of caution: I was planning on uploading the files when I was “finished” with the last one, because I thought it was harder than it really was, and I wanted to do it all at once. So as soon as you aren’t actively working on it, I would get a copy somewhere else as a backup. It’s going to be a pain, but you never know when something will happen; after all, nothing out of the ordinary happened to me, other than listening to music and adjusting the volume. Then, next thing I knew, I had lost everything.)
3. If your apps have a backup option, check to see if it’s on a backup schedule, or if it’s manual. Usually the ones that have the schedule option let you choose manual or schedule, and sometimes how often they backup. If it’s manual, like my diary app was, make sure you either back it up every time you use it, or that you have a time where you periodical go through your manual backup apps and backup the contents. I was under the misapprehension that my diary app backed itself up, and I could force it to backup, but this was not the case. It was a manual backup only, which is why I lost everything since February.
4. This is a bonus one for all the other ringtone collectors like myself. My phone, at least, didn’t backup my ringtones. I love collecting ringtones, and I had a little collection going, but I lost it all. Thankfully, between my other family members, I’ve gotten most (and some extra) back. For me it would be super easy to backup my ringtone folder, and I wish that I had done so once I had the majority of my ringtones downloaded.
If you aren’t tech-savvy, call a friend or family member who would be willing to show you the ropes, and maybe even set up something to make it easier for you. Also, if you have a question, don’t be afraid to Google it! Even if you don’t know how to do something, it doesn’t mean you can’t learn, and a lot of times there are tutorials that are super easy to learn from.
From all of this, I learned that despite how careful you are, nothing is indestructible. If you journal on paper, it can be burnt, and if you journal electronically you can lose it that way, too, even when you think it’s backed up.
And it was a good opportunity to practice what I’ve been learning from so many sources; bad things will happen, and it’s ok to be sad, but don’t let it rule your future. Believe me, there were more tears cried those first few days than I have cried in years, but I asked myself, “How will I see this day, five or ten years from now?” (This was easy for me, since I have already lost pretty much all my electronic files before, and that was about eight years ago.) And I realized that although I would be sad that I had lost what was so precious to me, I wouldn’t feel that heartbreak like I do now.
Even in the short weeks since, I’m still bothered a bit by what I lost, and am reconsidering rewriting some of it, but even if I’m unable to, it’s not going to be the end of the world. As my mom told me that night, it’s still all inside me. I have the memories, and that’s the most important thing. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t writing about events supposed to help solidify them in your memory? Maybe I’m getting mixed up with school lessons, but it can’t be much different, can it? So there’s that, too!)
So please don’t make the same mistakes I did! The only time to act is now, because later is too late when something bad happens now. 😉
(Oh, and by the way, the title is a quote from Maleficent. I kept thinking of it whenever I thought about this whole situation, and it was perfect.)