Years ago, I had the beginnings of what eventually became my first published novel (among other things) on a netbook. It was one of the very first netbooks that company made and when it stopped working (suddenly, without warning, as is always the case), I found it was so old school (the memory card had a ribbon) that the computer tech guys I brought it to would shake their heads and quote astronomical prices to “try” to recover the data.
I couldn’t justify spending that kind of money on files that had no monetary value. In fact, they had no value of any kind to anyone but me.
So I rewrote what I could remember and grieved for the rest. Even now that the book’s been published, I long to have those older files back, imagining they might have been better.
Don’t let this happen to you. Save your stuff.
Put it on a jump drive, email yourself copies, store it in a cloud device, print out a copy. It’s good to do this on a regular basis, several times a year, but I thought we could all use an annual reminder.
Since I try to be someone who takes their own advice, I’m going to go do this right now. You should too.