Well, I’m back after the holidays. Quess what happened on my New Years?
For reasons that boggle the mind, I decided to type in the Linux equivalent of “format c:/”. Seriously. The result? My entire Windows partition is irrevocably gone.
Not a problem. I back up my data. Everything iimportant is safe, and all my dissertation research is secure, largely because of an excellent backup utility called Dropbox. I put all my important files into my dropbox and they are automatically synced accross multiple computers, and online. So after a little drag-and-drop, I’m back to work.
Back up Zotero
As many of you know I am a big advocate of Zotero for research and bibliographic management. It is worth noting that by default Zotero puts all required files in your Firefox folder, which is generally not backed up by most software. You can always add it to your Dropbox, but a better idea is to change your settings. Go into Zotero’s Preferences dialog and the Advanced Settings to set a new location for Zotero files. Put it in your My Documents folder under a subfolder called “Zotero.” Almost all backup software will backup you My Documents folder by default, so this is the safest place.
One Dropbox Limitation
One thing to be noted: Dropbox is not true backup software. True backup software archives your files on a periodic basis. Dropbox does something a little different; it mirrors you files. Any changes you make on your computer are automatically changed in your dropbox. If you overwrite or delete a file, it will be overwritten or deleted in dropbox.
This might be a problem, except Dropbox saves all revisions, so if you do something stupid, and then your stupidity is mirrored by Dropbox, you can “undo” your changes by going to the Web interface and clicking “Restore my files.” That’s what I had to do, and it worked flawlessly and quickly.
Make a New Year’s Resolution
I have two suggestions for nerdy New Year’s resolutions: (1) Backup your data, (2) Use Super-User priveledges responsibly.