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Very PC

Not long ago, I read of a well-known author - whose name escapes me – that still pounds an ancient Underwood. For the rest of us, our lifeline is a PC, laptop or tablet.


Be honest though, how well do you protect and maintain your writing lynchpin?


Cyberattacks are increasing in their number and sophistication. The ransomware assaults brought multinationals to a standstill and destroyed many an individual computer. Some of the anti-virus software that comes as part of the package with a new computer is of doubtful worth. I use Advanced SystemCare Pro and AVG for two-pronged protection. ASC Pro costs £20 per annum; AVG is free and very highly rated by IT professionals. Both keep their virus databases bang up to date and had patches for WannaCry and Petya within 24 hours. The softwares both trap and quarantine any virus detected and keep the computer clean.


Even normal computer activity produces clutter like temporary files and new registry entries, clogging the machine and slowing it down. Scanning your PC every couple of days ensures virus protection and optimum performance. Is your computer well secured?


Backing up your files is key, but a task oft neglected until the proverbial hits the fan. Cloud backup servers make life easier, but presuppose a reliable internet connection. Having an urgently needed file in beautiful downtown Cupertino and no internet is not really a solution.


Local backup devices include external hard drives, memory sticks and CD/DVD readers. Using the PC’s software, you can schedule daily backups of your data. But my cautionary tale should give you food for thought.


I wrote a dozen chapters of a novel and stored them on a memory stick – which failed. Only to discover that I had omitted to include that stick on the daily backup to a hard drive. From then on, all vital files were copied across several devices. Hereabouts in France, thunderstorms are a way of life and the grid’s lightning surge protection systems are useless. Routers are especially vulnerable and unplugged at the first clap of thunder. When a mild storm was forecast, I foolishly disconnected just the router. Within minutes of that first clap, an almighty crack from upstairs sounded the death knell for my PC, backup hard drive, hub and memory sticks. Even the router was fried by a surge which travelled through its network cable to the PC. I lost 10 years’ work and photographs, every scrap of data gone and irrecoverable.


Am I ringing any bells?


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