The dreaded computer crash and lost documents – Glass Half Full |

The dreaded computer crash and lost documents – Glass Half Full

We are all creatures of our upbringing, whether we normally recognize it or not. My parents taught my brothers and me to prepare for as many contingencies as possible and to deal with whatever happened. Panic was never an option, nor was self-pity.

A month or so ago my laptop crashed. In preparation for a replacement computer, I carefully used Time Machine to back up everything. Plus, wasn’t everything also saved via The (ubiquitous) Cloud?

Unfortunately, as I handed the compact Time Machine box to our IT guy, the cord from which it was suspended disconnected. Just a tiny drop of about five inches onto my desk compounded the crash.

It will take me several hundreds of dollars, apparently, to hire some tech company to retrieve the contents of Time Machine. As for the Cloud? Photos and contacts, fortunately, survived intact. They would have been hard to recreate, especially the photos.

Music? Um, no. In fact, I didn’t realize that loss until about two days ago. Thousands of songs, hundreds of artists. Years of memories and connections, of careful compilation of an extremely eclectic library.

Fortunately, at some point during the summer I purchased an iTouch – because part of the proceeds went to a cause I support. The question of whether or not they will be retrievable remains unanswered at the moment.

Documents? Ah, here’s the real loss. Fifteen years of Word documents, gone. All files, empty. Actually, no files at all. It was a very strange feeling, to be honest, to click on Word and find an empty screen. Alarming, but also a little bit freeing.

I certainly don’t waste time trying to recall what I named a document or in which file I placed it. There are no documents. There are no files, at least on my machines.

Fortunately, I tend to send somebody a copy of almost everything I write. As Head of School, what I create usually is intended to be shared with at least one other person.

Historically, when I’ve emailed a document, I’ve generally copied myself at the same time. That procedure has created a paper trail that has already proven invaluable.

Also fortunately, I lost no email, including the carefully organized folders I have used to keep my inbox manageable.

Throughout this little episode I have, once again, been thankful for the sense of balance and perspective our parents instilled in my brothers and me.

They lived their lives with a sense of gratitude and appreciation and made the best of every situation. Colleagues have been surprised by my equanimity in the face of this particular technological episode.

To me, it’s all a matter of perspective. I have not lost our home, as have over 1,000 families in ongoing fires. We are not refugees. None of my family members is facing Cancer or even major surgery.

We live in a gloriously beautiful place. I have a job I love. I simply need to remember to back things up through safer means.

Ruth Glass is headmaster at Lake Tahoe School. She can be reached for comment through her blog at

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User