Have you ever lost an important document that you’ve been working on for ages on your computer?
Maybe you thought you had hit save, but you forgot to do it before shutting your computer down. Or you may have pressed Ctrl + S (Command + S for Mac users), but the machine failed to register the command.
Either way, you have ended up with nothing to show for days of hard work.
Why Is It Important to Properly Save Your Files?
If you’ve ever been a victim of the above scenario, you won’t need any convincing on the importance of properly saving files. But if you’re working on a project that you can’t finish in one sitting, you will reach a point where you want to save your work so that you don’t have to start from scratch when you return.
By properly saving your files, you also ensure your document is intact even if the program you’re using fails.
A lot of the files you save on your personal computers may not be work-related but still have plenty of value to you.
These could be photos or video footage of memorable family events.
Losing such files will be like losing a part of ourselves, hence the need to ensure they’re properly stored.
What Steps Can You Take to Save Your Files?
1. Set Up Autosave
If you’re working on a file in any one of the programs in the MS Office suite, you can set up auto recovery.
This automatically saves a copy of the file and updates it periodically as you make changes to the document.
You can easily set this up by navigating to File -> Options -> Save.
From here, you can customize options such as the frequency in minutes you want the auto recovery information to save.
Having this option will give you the comfort of having a recovery file that you can fall back on in the event you lose the original.
It, however, does not negate the need to back up your files manually.
2. Manually Backup Files
Manually backing up your files is the best way to keep the data safe.
Use ‘File -> Save As’ to save your work in a location in your computer that you know and refer to it by a name you can remember.
As you work, you can periodically use ‘File -> Save’ to store any modifications you make to the file.
3. Save to an External Device
For an added peace of mind, you may find it useful to save your data on an external device.
If you are working on a project like a thesis paper or a design project, you will want to take the extra step and save your work on an external hard drive or USB.
Your computer may crash, or your hard drive could become corrupted by a virus while some people have spilled coffee on their laptops or lost them to thieves.
So having copies of your precious assignments on another device will allow you to access them from another computer.
4. Know What Folder You Saved it to
Keeping track of where files are on your computer is key to ensuring they don’t get lost.
Whichever platform you’re working on, you can organize your files into folders and subfolders.
An organized way of naming these folders and files will make them all the easier to locate.
When a file or folder goes missing, it will be easier to notice the loss with such a system in place.
5. Save it to the Cloud Storage
Cloud storage offers a more robust backup solution than physical drives.
External hard drives can get lost or destroyed.
Worse still, they can be corrupted by viruses and subsequently corrupt the files on your computer.
Backing up to the cloud is virtually pain-free and comes at a relatively low cost. Dropbox, Google Drive, and iCloud are some of the most popular options for online storage.
What Happens if You Forget to Save Your Files Properly?
If you don’t save your files as recommended, well-labeled, and organized into folders, it’s easy to lose track of them.
The chances of you deleting them accidentally also become higher.
If you cannot find a file, you may have either saved it in a different location than you thought or you accidentally deleted it.
If you misplace the file, you can conduct a simple search with the name you saved it.
Deleted files can be recovered from your trash or recycle bin folder.
Experts who know how to recover deleted files may need to be called in if it’s worse than that.
Get Into the Habit of Saving
It pays to get into a habit of saving your work frequently, especially if you’re working on a desktop.
Even if you’re connected to an uninterruptible power system and generator, remember that failures do happen. Make Ctrl + S a part of your workflow.