Monday, August 19, 2013

Don't Lose Email and Address Book Information



This past weekend was the Great Computer Shuffle at our house. That's when my husband gets a new computer and I inherit his old one. We do this every three years and it usually involves the shuffling of three computers. (I have two on my desk.) Thankfully we'd replaced my oldest one at Christmas, so only one was shuffled.

I had backed up everything on my external hard drive in preparation. My husband even took the hard drive out of my old computer and put it in the new one, giving me two hard drives. (I have a C drive and an E drive.) All of my programs were already loaded on the new one, so all that needed to be transferred was my email information and Internet bookmarks.

We'd done it before during the last time we played the Great Computer Shuffle. I had about 22,000 emails from the past six years, which scared my husband even more than the thousands of names in my address book. The Internet bookmarks were transferred successfully, as was my address book. The problem started when it came to my emails though.

On the first try, it said they were all there, but only a sampling of them appeared between 2009 and 2011. Not good. My husband tried again. This time the range included 2012, but even less appeared. Frustrated, he removed the E drive, put it back in my old computer, and I deleted 20,000 emails, hoping that would solve the problem. I did check, and didn't see any that were really urgent.

Third time - more emails showed up, but only through May 2013. My husband finally concluded that there was a corrupt file. We'll have to put the drive back in the old computer so I can go through my mail and forward anything of importance to him, and he will forward once the drive is back in my new computer.

Now, we all know how important it is to back up our computer files - external hard drives, cloud storage, thumb drives, multiple computers, etc. How often do we think about our email though? I still had all of my contacts and had copied most of the vital information, and I'll be able to get back to those missing emails. But what if your entire computer corrupted? You wouldn't have access to anything.

Back up your address book and emails often, and send important emails to another address, preferably a web mail account. Any other tips for saving emails?

In the meantime, if you've sent me an email in the past few days, sorry. My computer ate it!

54 comments:

Jo said...

Why on earth would you save emails for several years?

I have off site backup but I also have my email addresses on my desktop and my laptop.

Jemi Fraser said...

Hm. I don't think I've ever backed up my emails or address book! Off to figure out how! thanks :)

Karen Walker said...

Thank goodness you and your husband both are so computer savvy. I'm like Jemi, never backed up emails or address book that I'm aware of. Guess I assumed if I back up my computer, it backs up everything automatically.

Em-Musing said...

Did you do this sans alcohol? I'd have had a few shots by this time. And I too have an off site backup.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Jo, I get a lot of writing and publishing newsletters and I save those. Well, I did - most are gone now.

Karen, it has to backed up separately.

Leigh, after it was over, there was alcohol involved.

Laura Marcella said...

Oh my goodness! Why do you have so many emails? You're a busy lady! Good thing you and your hubby know what you're doing with computers. My address book is one of those old-fashioned ones you have to write in by hand, lol. I don't use my computer one. And I regularly clean out my emails, so there's nothing to save there. I backup everything else, though, in multiple areas.

In college my hard drive crashed, and I lost my pictures and music. Luckily I went home that weekend and my dad was able to save all my writings and school work, phew! Since then I've been very vigilant about backing up the important things!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Stephen Tremp said...

I feel your frustration. I lost all my blog posts for the past five years when Google shut me down.

Do you use Carbonite.com? I hear Leo Laporte the Tech Guy talking about that. I might try that.

Summer Ross said...

I would not have thought about my e-mail. LOL A new heads up!
Have a great day!
~Summer

Bish Denham said...

Bummer. But it kind of sounds like you're working through the problem.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry you lost your emails. Guess I need to back mine up now.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Interesting. I never would have thought about this.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Ooh, I have never backed up my email. I kind of take it for granted. Good tip!!

cleemckenziebooks said...

I'm paranoid of losing stuff on my computer. That happened to me once. Never again! You're so lucky to have a husband who can work through some of these issues with you!

I have an external backup, but I also have Carbonite.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Laura, I get somewhere around 300 emails a day.

Stephen, I haven't tried anything online or in the cloud yet.

Jennifer, definitely back up your address book.

Lee, someone else mentioned Carbonite.

Johanna Garth said...

I tend to back things up very regularly after a few nasty experiences with data loss.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I started using gmail so my emails are always there and accessible.

~Sia McKye~ said...

This experience sounded painful.:-)

I'm a firm believer in back up. I have an external hd and several thumb drives. I only keep some emails and purge them semi regularly. Important newsletters and stuff like that I tend to creat a word doc and file.
Sia McKye Over Coffee


Robin said...

This is the sort of thing you just don't think about... backing up email. It was a good reminder to back up EVERYTHING.

Mark Means said...

I don't think I've ever had that many emails that were important enough to keep.

Not sure if that's good or bad, lol.

Hope you can recover your messages, though.

Hart Johnson said...

ACK! All this stresses me out just thinking about it. I probably trust gmail a lot more than I ought to.

Karen Lange said...

I need to get better at this. I do back up some, but I think I should have more back up for the back up. :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I try to back up...usually not more than once a quarter, though. And I delete a bunch of unimportant emails to make it all easier.

David List said...

I've been working with Microsoft Outlook for over a year now at the Technical College where I'm an IT "Pro."
And it's still a confusing beast.
I don't know if your emails were all loose or archived... But I'd strongly suggest archiving. This way you can have years worth of emails limited to a single (huge, 5GB) .pst file. Then just back it up daily, weekly, etc.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Hungry, corrupt computers are like the devil to me, especially given my limited computer skills. I'm glad you're not in terrible shape after the shuffle, though it sounds like a big headache.

xoRobyn

Scribbles From Jenn said...

Sorry to hear about this, but i'm glad you shared in an effort to prevent others from suffering the same fate.

Julie Luek said...

I recently downloaded Dropbox and backed up all my files and pictures, now on to the address book. Thanks for the good reminder.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Susan, smart idea. I switched to Live Mail with this new computer, which means my emails are still stored in Earthlink's Web Mail online.

Sia, obviously I need to purge more often...

Elizabeth, I had no idea I had that many saved - LOL!

David, I think I'll just get better at deleting.

Michael Di Gesu said...

Wow, what a day you and hubby had...

I should back up mine.. Many are important...

Thanks for the tip, L. Diane.

Rhonda said...

We use icloud now and it connects my address book and emails to all my computers/ipads/iphones, etc. It works great. Also, I try to never keep more than 30 emails in my inbox.

More importantly, for us, we don't migrate, I am all Mac, hubby is PC.

Rhonda @Laugh-Quotes

Patricia Stoltey said...

I have all web mail, but I still copy my address book once in a while, just in case my e-mail provider decides to go out of business or shut me down for some reason. I'd sure hate to lose my contact list.

J E Oneil said...

A computer shuffle always makes me paranoid of forgetting something. Email! I never thought of that before, although Gmail is usually good about saving my contacts and the emails I don't want to trash.

Tina said...

I lost my entire computer when OYT poured a glass of milk on it, but it was backed up on my time machine, emails and all. Just had to find a donor body...Doesn't sound like you use macs though. I don't either anymore and find backing up much more of a pain on a PC. But definitely a necessity!
Tina @ Life is Good

Al Diaz said...

I have an obsession for the trashcan. I read mail and I delete it. I know I'm not going to look at it again. I keep other files for as long as one year. Then I delete those too. Sometimes I regret it, but still I feel life is easier that way.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Rhonda, that sure eliminates the Great Computer Shuffle.

Patricia, that is smart. It would be like losing our cell phones and all those contacts.

Al, there's a lot on my computer I need to trash.

Elise Fallson said...

Oh am I in trouble. I save everything in one giant unorganized mess in my inbox. I tried making folders but my emails are still a crazy mess. This really makes me want to be more organized and careful about backing it all up.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I delete a number of e-mail, but there are some that I can't and don't want to delete - they need to be saved - I hadn't thought about backing them up. My whole system is supposed to be backing up once a day on an external hard drive but we had that system goof up once, and I lost a huge amount of material, so I e-mail myself stuff to an external account, and I back things up a second time once a month and check the system.

Steven said...

This is the beauty of web mail and cloud computing. Technology is always great, until it fails us miserably.

Denise Covey said...

A good reminder L Diane. I have a little plug in drive that constantly backs up. Awesome. 300 emails a day - wow. Hope everything is fine now.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I never thought of backing up my emails. Must do that. Thanks for the advice.

klahanie said...

Hello human Diane,

I do understand about saving your emails. However, in our case, we've never felt the need to back up our emails.

Pawsitive wishes,

Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

michelle said...

E-mail back-up? Need to do it asap.

This gives me a great idea... I love writing by hand and I have a gorgeous little note book just waiting to be used! And you know what? Technology often fails us. But a note book stashed safely at the back of a drawer? You can't go wrong!
Writer In Transit

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Elise, now that they are all gone, I wonder what I was saving them for?

Tyrean, I back everything else up, but I'd not backed up my emails since the last Great Computer Shuffle.

Michelle, that is true!

Trisha F said...

I recently discovered Windows live mail or whatever it is, and imported lots of old emails that I had saved to CD roms. Also I imported current emails from my Gmail account, though I'm not done with that yet. But the 2001-2004 emails were most exciting because there were some awesome emails I thought I'd lost forever.

kmckendry said...

I don't think I've ever backed up my email. Thanks for the tips.

Arlee Bird said...

I thought I was bad about saving emails. Now I feel better that you do it too.

When I became a trillionaire I'm going to hire a full time computer tech team to manage my computer to keep it in optimal operating condition. I wish I was more of a computer wiz.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Vanessa Morgan said...

I lost a lot of contact information when my previous account got hacked. The horror :(

M Pax said...

I moved to gmail after we moved, because I lost my email address, too. So, I let spy google take care of all that for me.

Although I do keep a hard copy of my newsletter list.

Timothy Hecht said...

My NSA has copies of all your stuff. If you need it just call us.

My NSA only spies on Americans for their own good and our own amusement. We're all on the same team here. Trust us!

http://agent54nsa.blogspot.com/

Yolanda Renee said...

I use Carbonite and Dropbox, but never thought of emails or the address book. Thanks for your advice!

The picture of the butterfly in your last post - Awesome!

Tammy Theriault said...

i like that i have a contact book. i can go back and see it, but i should back that up!!

Mark Koopmans said...

Hey,

I stick my emails in various Yahoo folders, date them and purge every two years.

So far... so good :)

(oh oh!!!)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Trisha, I just switched to Live Mail, but the old IE mail was corrupt, so it didn't all import.

Lee, my husband does a good job, but not much he can do about corrupt files.

Mary, that's a good idea.

Timothy - LOL!

Medeia Sharif said...

This makes me want to try harder to save contacts, since I only go about it one way and it may get lost.

Lisa said...

I only do my email on line, so I don't back it up, it's always there on my server and I can access it anywhere I am. I know that carries it's own risks, but at least I don't have to worry about my computer crashing!