By Joanna Fletcher
It's truly a horrible moment when you lose your cell phone or your hard drive crashes. There's the device itself, which is not an inconsiderable investment, but the real loss is the contact information stored within that device. Contact information is one of those things that builds up slowly into an invaluable resource.
Many people today only carry cell phones and sync them together with their laptop or home computer. It is much more convenient to put all of their new phone numbers or emails or addresses into electronic format instantly. Writing that information down or accepting a business card greatly increases the opportunity for the information to get lost.
The key to ensuring that your data is still usable after a hardware or software upgrade is to back everything up and double-check functionality before you commit. Check the specs to ensure that the contact information will transfer, at least in theory. Copy the contact file to an external drive or email the contact file to yourself in case of major disaster. Make use of restore points so that you can easily turn back the clock to before the installation should it become necessary.
Part of the Purchase
There are plenty of people out there selling computers and mobile devices who can help you switch your contacts over. Many companies consider this service a critical part of making the sale. Failing that, you can usually find device-specific instructions online, specific from both sides, the old device and the new device. If you are still having problems, try posting your question on a device-specific online forum. That kind of help is freely given by people who have already been through the issues and will solve any conversion problems most of the time.
Keeping your contacts in a place online has many benefits and means that you no longer have to worry about compatibility issues. You can access your information with any Web-enabled device, but if that device breaks down, gets lost, or falls in a puddle, you still have your contact list. Many of these online CRMs like BigContacts or BatchBook allow you to view them from your iPhone or BlackBerry and mobile functionality is increasing all the time. More than just a contact list, these online applications can help you manage and log every interaction you make with a contact.
Seeing your mobile device or your computer as your address book may not be your best strategy. If you can be dedicated enough to sit down and enter your contacts into a database or spreadsheet program like iCalc or Excel, you can break all the data down then upload it again into any device you choose by outputting the data in a way that all devices can read. This is output in plain text that is separated by commas or tabs. Map the old data labels to the new ones, and the transfer will go through without a hitch.
About the Author
Joanna Fletcher is a netizen who has lived, worked, and played in virtual space for most of her life. Her entrepreneurial flair is topped only by her tolerance for failure.