In Praise of Backup

I have not been posting for a while until ’27’. Sorry if you thought I had been silent for too long but it was due to losing about ten years of work on my main computer.

The particularly annoying thing is that it was down to my stupidity.

The first chapter in the saga was that my PA was apologetic, he had unplugged my office computer by accident and it failed to reboot. It was a linux machine and I decided I would not bother to sort the simple problem. I had been meaning to change from my usual version of Linux to Ubuntu and now would be the time.Ubuntu Logo

I knew all the documents on the machine were copies of my main machine so a backup would not be necessary (!!!) and I did a clean install of Ubuntu. I quickly decided I was glad I had done so.

Later I was mucking about sorting a problem with the church laptop we use for songs projection on Sundays. Do sort it I used a small USB hard drive. I had a backup of my work on the hard drive and, deciding it needed to be updated anyway, I deleted it to do the business with the laptop (Aaargh!)

I was so pleased with my office Ubuntu that on a relaxed day off I dealt with my dual-boot (windows and linux).

I should have installed it over the existing linux partition. I meant to!

I should have remembered I had already deleted two sets of backup!

When I was asked to click ‘next’ or ‘back’, ‘yes’ or ‘no’, I should have been slower to act and more been more careful about what I was doing!

At one point I clicked ‘yes’ and immediately cried out, “No!” I pressed ‘cancel’ but watched as the display showed both of my hard disks and all of my partitions being overwritten.

When Penny came into the room and I lifted by head from my hands (she had heard my, “No!”) I told her what had happened. Ten years of work, documents, letters, sermons, teaching courses and the photographs, etc. What a wife, she said, “never mind, at least we have each other.” Her response amazed me.

The good news is that though it took two weeks trying various software I have got back all the document files and emails. The second drive which had loads of photographs seems mangled for good, though I will try a bit more yet.

You will not surprised to hear that I have now got backups.

By the way, Ubuntu is great.

2 thoughts on “In Praise of Backup

  1. This isn’t much use for you as you don’t use Windows, but my be for some of your readers. I find LouBackup wonderfully quick and easy to use. The first backup takes quite a while, but after that you can have it just backup the changes.

    Before I got LouBackup, I used to do my backups manually (ie, copying and pasting folders). Of course, because it was so much trouble, I didn’t do it very often, and eventually my external hard drive, on which I store all my documents (I have “My Documents” pointed to my external hard drive), failed. I tried various pieces of software, until eventually I found one that managed to find nearly everything. Though it found everything, I had to buy it to actually recover the files. The program is File Scavenger. It couldn’t recover my most recent files, presumably those written to the drive when it was already damaged, but I managed to recover them all anyway, because all my recent files were translation jobs, and I don’t delete any e-mails so I could just download them from the messages I had sent to or received from my clients.

    While on this issue, my flatmate recently bought a pen drive from a colleague of mine. She thought she had lost some files, so I ran File Scavenger on my computer. I didn’t find her files, since she had actually used a different pen drive, but I did find lots of documents belonging to the previous owner, some of which may have been confidential. So be warned that just deleting files (even from the Recycle Bin) does not actually physically delete the files from the disk. Nor does formatting a disk. If you really need to make sure data is completely removed from a disk you should use special software.

    One last tip. Depending on how important your data is, it’s probably a good idea to have regular backups made on other premises. Imagine your house catches fire and not only your computer burns but also all of your backups.

    Anyway, good to see you blogging again. In my list of RSS feeds for blogs, I have six blogs that are “on hold”. It would seem that Facebook has taken over blogging as the latest craze. Though personally I find blogging much more interesting.

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