2012-09-28

Backup plan saves the day


About a week ago my wife’s hard drive began reporting eminent failure from the drive's SMART system.  I've been working 12-hour nights and I let it go, hoping it would last.  I did, however, create a system image just in case it didn't last much longer.

The other day, it began sporadically rebooting. I pulled her failing HD out and replaced it with an identical one from a system I had retired a year ago but kept around in case I needed it.  I fired the computer up with the Windows Recovery CD and restored her entire system in about an hour. Twenty-four hours went by and then I got a call at work telling me that the Quicken file we use to track our money was out of date. Oops! I had totally forgotten that Quicken was the ONLY program that stored data on the C: drive!

I was not worried though. Because of how I had set up our backups everything was easily fixed. I use I-Drive to back up our financial stuff. Quicken makes a backup copy after every 5th time it is closed. I also have a batch file that runs daily to copy the Quicken master file and backups over to the I-Drive which is cloud storage. You might be thinking that I was still out of luck since the daily backup would have already overwritten the cloud version with the older version – and it did. But, I-Drive maintains a history of previous versions. It was a simple matter to go find the version that existed prior to the HD replacement and restore it. All my wife had to do is reenter the changes from a day ago – a piece of cake since I told her to keep the receipts set aside until I fixed the issue.

The above situation simply proves a point I’ve been trying to impress upon others for a long time – hard drives can and do fail and having a good backup system in place can prevent data loss. I use I-Drive to backup my financial data and Dropbox to synchronize my book files between the various computers I might be using. I also have a large 2 TB network drive (Seagate GoFlex Home if you're curious) that is used to back up all of the other data I have laying around.  I periodically make system images which are stored on external drives.  I keep my data (well most of it anyway) separate from the operating system drive.  For the REALLY important stuff I have a small portable drive that either sits in our firebox or in the bank's safe deposit box.  

I have always been a fanatic about backing things up – and now I know why.  Now it's time to write!