Where do you keep your files?

A couple of weeks ago JK Rowling was talking about swapping out her old trusty Macbook for a new one. She’d only reluctantly abandoned the old one after she’d lost work due to disc corruption.

Now I don’t have an international army of fans desperate to get an early peek at my next work, not yet anyway, but the idea of one and only one copy of my files leaves me cold with dread.

These days there’s no excuse not to have copies everywhere. Most modern operating systems come with some form of backup but the even easier solution are the free cloud based storage solutions.

Apple have iCloud, Microsoft have OneDrive and Google have GoogleDrive, these are all pretty well integrated into their operating systems and so one degree or another can be accessed from other platforms as well. The one I use is Dropbox, a third party tool available on most operating systems.

What I like best about Dropbox is that it doesn’t get in the way of what I’m doing, I can store Word files, pictures, Scrivener projects, whatever. I put them in the area on my hard drive where drop box is and when I save them the version in the cloud is updated. If my computer blows up five minutes later I can get another one, install Dropbox and all my files are back. If my new computer is a Mac instead of a PC it doesn’t matter.

If I’m using my computer away from Wi-Fi then as soon as I get back to civilisation Dropbox will automatically upload the changes stored on my hard drive to the cloud. Simple and painless.

There’s also another neat trick that it does. If you ever accidentally over-imbibed and deleted large swathes of your text before compounding your error by pressing save then you will now the pain that comes from losing those precious words, if only you could go back in time; well with Dropbox you can.

In windows just right click over the affected file and select “Version History”, this will take you to your Dropbox on a web browser and show you something like this.

You can then roll back to an earlier save. It also keeps a copy of the affected in case you need that.


If you aren’t already using a cloud based system or otherwise have some kind of fault tolerant backup then look into it now, there’s nothing worse than putting your blood, sweat and tears into words only to have them disappear at the stroke of a key.

About Mark Willoughby

Mark Willoughby is the author of "After the Event" an adventure story set in a future full of superheroes, giant robots and aliens. He is currently working on a spy novel so he has a very dodgy looking search history.

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