These three words: Back. It. Up.

Imagine returning home from an evening out to find your house has been burgled and your laptop taken. It has just happened to second year PR student Rebecca Wharmby, who tells the story.

Rebecca Wharmby: lost without her laptop

“If there is one thing that has been drummed into me my entire educational life, it is the three words ‘back it up’. From primary school to university, teachers and lecturers have always made it a point to express how important it is that you back up your work.

“Unfortunately until the almighty disaster of your laptop being wiped or USB stick is lost, you stupidly never seem to listen. In my case it took my student house being burgled and my laptop being stolen, to realise how vital it is that you back up your work.

“Last Monday evening, my housemates and I were off out for a few drinks only for our night to turn sour when we received a phone call from one of the girls returning home from work to say our house had been burgled. Immediately the fear that my laptop may have been stolen, along with all of my PR university work flashed through my head. After spending the day perfecting my CV and updating my portfolio – what would I do if it was all gone?

“When I eventually arrived home my fears were made reality, my laptop was gone. After some serious panicking and a near mental break down I realised that despite stealing my handbag, the thieves had emptied it of any unwanted items, and fortunately my USB stick had been left behind!

“The university PR admin team were also of great help and managed to retrieve my year 1 portfolio which completely saved my life.

“This experience has definitely taught me a lesson and I cannot stress the importance of backing up your work. If something can go wrong, the likelihood is that it will go wrong, so always be prepared. It’s not enough to just back up using a USB; make sure you email yourself your work and use SkyDrive or other online file storage.

“Unfortunately I’ve learned the hard way, but don’t let this happen to you…Back it up!”


  1. Backing up from laptop to USB drive is not enough – since both can be lost, stolen, or ruined in the same house fire.

    Smart students will be using the cloud as part of their backing up (you already do if you email a file attachment for backup purposes).

    I don’t want to recommend particular services, but many use Dropbox (which is free for the first 2Gb of storage).

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