So the rest of the world is apparently aware of this, but I recently learned that it's a good idea to back up any files you are fond of. I learned this the hard way.
The hard way: This weekend I was browsing, and as a new site loaded a little box popped in the middle of my screen. There were two options: ALLOW and DON'T ALLOW. Since I'm hopeless when it comes to anything technology-related, I didn't understand the message and thought the computer was asking me if it could enter the site. So like a dummy, I clicked ALLOW.
There were no explosions, no smoke seeped out of my computer. Oblivious, I went on my merry way. When I was done I turned off my computer.
Cue dramatic music. (Halloween is coming up, after all.)
The next day, when I went to turn it back on, I got... a black screen. With an infuriating blinking cursor in the upper left hand corner. That was all. I couldn't touch my music, I couldn't get to my half-finished manuscript. It was gone.
Frantic, I then took it to a computer repair shop. He did little to ease my worry. When I explained what was happening, he looked at me with sympathy and just said, "Ah, the deadly black screen." Uh, thanks? He went on to tell me that when I had clicked on that deceiving ALLOW button, I had probably allowed a virus into my system. So I guess we'll see what happens. But I have learned my lesson: From this point forward, I will save everything in two places.
If any of you are as hopeless as me, let you learn from my tragedy, as well.