Backups, Caution, Security

Guess what?   I just accidentally wrote over my only copy of my cheatsheets – the Excel spreadsheets where I keep all my client’s website access info, mail account passwords, stats passwords, and where I keep my own user names and passwords for the 87 million (it feels like) websites that I visit.

Yes, I – the person who constant nags you to backup, have lost my backup.

I keep all that info on a flash drive which I only put in my computer when I need to update something or print a copy. It’s the print copy I use daily. Oh, and of course I shred hard old copies when I print out new ones – and that’s “diamond” shredding, not simple strips. I’m careful with your information.

I intentionally have never had all that information anywhere but on that jump drive because I don’t want it to accidentally get in the wrong hands – which would be pretty hard since no one comes in my office except family and the very, very occasional client. But, again, I’m extra cautious.

So, how did I make this stupid mistake?

I needed to make a backup of another sensitive file – my credit card processing software database. That particular program always warns that it’s going to erase whatever’s currently on the drive you’re backing up to, but I have backed it up to external hard drives numerous times without a problem. I just create a folder for it and then tell it to back up. But this was the first time I’ve gone through that procedure using the little jump drive instead of my big external hard drive.

Apparently, there’s a difference, because this time, when I went to remove the flash drive, I saw that there was nothing on it except what I had just backed up.

Whimper, whimper…

So, while I wouldn’t and won’t do anything differently relative to my cheatsheets – I’ll still keep one electronic copy on my jump drive – I have learned that a computer sees a jump drive very differently than it sees an external hard drive. It obviously sees it more like an old floppy drive which is the medium that the credit card software was designed to backup to.

More whimpering… But things could be worse. Right?  Things can always be worse. At least I’m able to sit here with all 10 fingers and type this. That’s something to be happy about.

7-28-09 An addendum sent to me by Jerry K, one of my favorite wits.

One thing you didn’t mention was the proper method of removing the thumb drive from the USB port. Most people will just grab it and yank it from it’s hole. Wrong.

While it’s installed, look down there on the lower right corner of your desktop in the tray. You should see a little doodad with a little green arrow pointing to the left. That’s the “Safely Remove Hardware” button. Most of the time if you just yank the thumb drive out you’ll be safe. But you run the risk of damaging it internally and you’ll never see the files on your thumb drive again.

Click the little green arrow to “safely remove”.