retrospect

A backup a day is all I ask

by Michael Alderete on 6/19/2003

I was once again reminded of the value of a good backup strategy last night, when Eudora crashed, and corrupted my e-mail Inbox. Almost 700 messages, most not yet responded to or handled, wiped out. No matter what Eudora tries to tell you, rebuilding the table of contents for a mailbox is not always what you want.

But recovery was easy. I fired up Retrospect (backup software I have used for nearly 10 years), located my Inbox in the list of files backed up, and recovered it. Fired up Eudora again, and I was good to go.

I lost a few messages, but only a few. I do a full-system backup once a day, in the middle of the night. Most of the messages that came in after the backup were spam, and I was able to recover the 6 messages that mattered by pulling them out of the corrupted mailbox.

I started doing daily backups about 7 years ago, when my hard disk died, and took everything with it. I had a backup that was a year old, which kept me from crying like a little baby, but I was still really pissed. In the end, that disk crash killed my use of Quicken, because I never managed to get caught up on the data entry.

Anyway, if you depend on a computer, you should make a daily backup. Buy a big tape drive, and use it every day. A good one that can back up an entire 80 gigabyte hard disk runs around $1000 these days, but that is peanuts compared to the cost of losing everything that’s stored on the disk. I know this from painful personal experience. My tape drives have saved me serious grief — problems that would be otherwise unrecoverable — at least a dozen times, making the cost-per-incident under $100. Peanuts.

Get yourself a good backup strategy, today.

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