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View Full Version : Backups are NOT optional



Kristle
02-28-2009, 01:12 AM
A dear friend of mine who shall remain nameless (and I sincerely hope you read this) brought me his hard drive yesterday. Now, this is the fourth time in two months that someone has brought me their dead computer and said, "since you're an IT person, I know you can fix this."
:Soapbox:
In short, I am not God, nor do I have a magic wand. Depending on the damage, it may or may not be an easy fix. By the way, if your hard drive is hopelessly corrupted and was already losing data six weeks ago, it is dead. Please don't bring me your really bad, virus laden disk and say that it has the only copy of your dissertation, novel, research, etc.
If you're paying me for my help, I will keep my face bland while cringing on the inside and sending a silent prayer up to the computer gods (who regardless of what the folks in Redmond say really don't exist) that I can recover some of your data.
If you're not paying me, well... I'll start of the conversation by calling you an idiot and cursing in three languages. If I really value our relationship (and by the way, you'd better pray I do), I will make every effort to retrieve your data. If I don't, I'll give you NewEgg's web address and a screw driver.
Here are some hints...
1) Windows does not come installed on new hard drives. If you like your Windows installation and all those fancy programs you paid for, make a bootable clone of your disk! By the way, a new Windows license will cost at least $150 and that copy of XP you love may not be available for purchase in another year.
2) Backup your files in a readable format. Do everyone including yourself a favor and don't backup your Windows or Mac system with the default backup software that was installed on the computer. Unless you like hacking your backups and searching for the one utility that will open them, have them be readable files on any machine! (No .sparseimage or .bks (Mac and Windows defaults.)
Keep multiple copies of your backups on hard drives and internet servers. Under no circumstances should the only copy of anything be stored on a flash drive, CD, or DVD. The CDs and DVDs have very high failure rates.
:rant: One other thing, I'm sick of excuses. I don't care if backing up your computer takes five minutes out of your busy schedule. If I can make time to do my backups, so can you. If you are still firmly convinved that that five minutes isn't worth the effort, data recovery can easily run upwards of $800. If you have $800 to throw away, go for it. My bank account is waiting.

Wayne K
02-28-2009, 01:38 AM
A dear friend of mine brought me his hard drive yesterday. .
Best start to a thread ever.
ETA: what does the rest of it mean?

Ol' Fashioned Girl
02-28-2009, 01:46 AM
Kristle haz teh wize... but we all know that, don't we?

Don't we?

OFG, stealing from Maryn and bragging about her multi-backup, belt-and-suspenders system...

dpaterso
02-28-2009, 01:48 AM
You must be a riot at parties!


1) Windows does not come installed on new hard drives. If you like your Windows installation and all those fancy programs you paid for, make a bootable clone of your disk!
B-b-but how do I do this, wise IT person?

-Derek

Beach Bunny
02-28-2009, 02:07 AM
You must be a riot at parties!


B-b-but how do I do this, wise IT person?

-Derek
Uh, yeah, how do you do that? :Huh:

Wayne K
02-28-2009, 02:17 AM
You must be a riot at parties!


B-b-but how do I do this, wise IT person?

-Derek
Notice she spelled Clown wrong...

Kristle
02-28-2009, 04:27 AM
Sorry, I was ranting, not posting directions...

To clarify backup procedures:
Cloning a disk (think Mini Me for your computer)
Windows XP/Vista - Macrium Reflect Free (most of the other options cost about $50) is the easiest utility for cloning a hard disk. You will need a separate external hard drive and either a usb thumb drive or a CD. Create your backup and follow their tutorial to burn an image. The image is what you put in your CD drive or usb port when you start up your computer. It runs a graphical interface and will let you select the hard disk that you cloned to. At a minimum, this contains your operating system and your programs and can be used to install a new hard drive when (not if) yours dies.
For backing up in Windows, Cobian Backup is an excellent freeware backup program. Just point it to an external hard drive and let it run.
For Mac - SuperDuper does all of this, but it's a little pricey. For daily backups, SilverKeeper is an excellent freeware alternative, but it doesn't clone your disk.
For Linux - I personally like Flyback for daily backups and I keep an xml backup file with all software installed from repositories that can be loaded when I do a new installation. With Linux, I don't normally clone the hard disk for the simple reason that the OS is free and easily obtained. (One click download, burn to a disk, and push next about fifteen times...)
I also use DropBox to sync files between computers and for an additional backup.

When will your computer crash?
2 seconds before you push the button to send your latest article to the editor.

Beach Bunny
02-28-2009, 04:39 AM
Sorry, I was ranting, not posting directions...

well-written directions for making a bootable clone of hard drive.

When will your computer crash?
2 seconds before you push the button to send your latest article to the editor.
We knew that you were ranting. We are dah smart asses of AW. ;)

Oh, see I don't have to worry about my computer crashing. I haven't submitted anything to anyone. :)

Unique
02-28-2009, 07:30 AM
sigh.

It happens every time I hear computerspeakinese -

He said/she said, I hear ... (http://tinyurl.com/ckgel9)

Matera the Mad
02-28-2009, 08:25 AM
Get software

Tell software make like neat supercopy of every file on this drive, the one I have all my Precioussssss on, and put it on that drive that I just paid umpty dollars for and plugged in to dat USB slot right dere.

Tell software do dat every day, makee backup with new files and newer files.

Be happy.

And keep your antivirus updated and active and scan regularly and use a ^$%#*&^# firewall, $*#&%^($ it!

:D

BenPanced
02-28-2009, 10:40 AM
But can you fix my computer or not?

dpaterso
02-28-2009, 10:58 AM
Macrium Reflect FREE Edition:
http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp

That's a nice piece of software. It's saving my Windows filesystem to my external drive right now. ...Uh, done, in 02.15

Saving data drive D: now...

Wait, this is too easy! The birds have stopped singing. A deathly stillness surrounds me. The air is too thick to breathe. IT'S A TRAP!

...No, drive D: saved OK in 6 minutes.

Hmm, I'm using Vista so I can't create a bootable CD, must look for a workaround...

Oh, and I copied the downloaded installation .exe to my external drive too, since I may need to re-install it if bad things ever happen.

-Derek

Kristle
02-28-2009, 10:06 PM
dpaterso, thank you! Make sure you burn the recover CD or create it as USB, just to be safe.

BenPanced, the answer to your question depends entirely on what's wrong with it...

LaurieD
02-28-2009, 10:30 PM
Ok, I read everything he said twice and all I can make of it is a Charlie Brown like "mwa mwa mwa mwa ma"