Backing up your hard disk? Are you sure?

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Several weeks ago I bought a new 1Tb Western Digital external drive to replace the 500Gb Iomega drive that had just failed. It was for my Mac, so I bought a drive with Firewire. I never could get the mount to drive using Firewire, so I switched to USB and all was fine.

Today I sat down at my desktop computer and was greeted by the message “It has been 10 days since Time Machine last backed up your machine,” or something like that. Sure enough, access to the drive had failed. I turned it off and on again and backup eventually suceeded. Later this evening I checked and the drive was having problems again. Time to pack it up and ship it back. The replacement will be from neither Iomega or Western Digital.

I wasn’t too nervous about this because I use JungleDisk to backup the important parts of my hard disk to the Amazon storage cloud. So I checked that and … WHAT? 25 days since the last backup? Who turned that off? I started the backup and it should be done in an hour or so.

The lesson here is that even though I had set up redundant automatic processes, both failed. The first was due to mechanical error, the second probably due to human error (though the jury is still out on that one). Check your systems, check your assumptions, and don’t wait until a crisis to ensure that you have the backups you really need.

One Comment

  1. Bob,

    just as a matter of interest, when did you last try to restore from your backups. I have had clients that have never tried to restore, and in one case they did not understand the message asking them to put the next tape in during the backup :-)


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