Real Life Data Loss – User Wishes He Had Backup

Some folks thing I am a little bit anal on the whole backup thing.

This email came to me from an internet marketer just because I am on his list. He is really wishing he had read and taken my advice on computer backup.

Well a couple days ago My PC crashed on me. Everything froze,
I forced to turn it off with the power button and it never came
back 🙁

And guess what?

Well the good news is that I got a new pc (Toshiba) but the
bad news is that while fixing the ‘old one’ I formatted the
wrong drive and loss all my data.

You know all the good stuff

Niche Materials

This has got to be one of the worse thing that has happened to
me in a long while.

So Please, Please Please

BACKUP you files. Honestly, I wouldn’t want something like this to
happen to you. It is dreadful and frustrating!!!!!!

Don’t let this happen to you. Backup your computer!

Here is the link again:

No Backup – What’s Your Excuse?

How to Recover Lost Files

This video shows how I recovered favorites, Word macros stored in and Outlook names from the good hard drive of a computer whose motherboard failed.

All of the data from this corporate workstation is appropriately stored on the server and backed up, but users like these “convenience” items and typically have no clue where or how they are stored.

Recovering these lost files made one user very happy.

I used the Vantec SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter to retrieve the files easily.

No Backup – What’s Your Excuse?

The same computer I was trying to clean this week from the virus happened to be loaded with many gigabytes of important family photos.

When I picked up the computer, I was told that those photos were needed off of the computer.

“I don’t suppose you ever got an online backup program setup like I suggested last time?” I asked.

“Ahh, no.”

Folks, online backup is not that expensive. You can get 2GB free here.

I still maintain my statement that appears on another page on this website somewhere, that is that if it’s not backed up, delete it now – that way you regain disk space and no longer have to concern yourself with losing it.

Eventually, the drive will die or something else bad will happen.

Here are three online backup services to choose from. All have either a free trial or money back guarantee.

Mozy Online Backup

Carbonite Online Backup

KeepIt Online Backup

KeepIt is the only one I haven’t used yet, it is kind of a newcomer.

These programs will help you decide what data needs to be backed up and then do it automatically.

Naturally, I recommend you verify often; try going to another PC and restore a file occasionally and check the file contents against what it is supposed to be.

When the Hard Drive Talks, Listen

This week I received a call from a client with a laptop reporting that the internal hard drive was not found. Upon examining the laptop, I heard a “clinking” noise which the client said “oh, yes, that started yesterday”.

Yesterday, I’m afraid to say, was not only the time to call me but the IMMEDIATE time to update the laptop’s backup. Turns out there is a backup but it’s over a week old – so not much lost. But a few files the client would have liked to have back.

She doesn’t want them so badly as to pay $800 or so for a professional data recovery service, though.

New, strange noises, especially those of a metallic sound, need to be dealt with immediately. Don’t turn it off, BACKUP NOW!

Grab a USB Drive (flash or hard drive) or update your online backup.

Mozy Online Backup free trial

Carbonite Online Backup free trial

KeepIt! Online File Back-up and Storage

Backup, Backup, Backup

BBC News reported this week that a hacker destroyed both of flight simulator site Avsim’s servers. 13 years of hard work, forum posts and user created and shared content – poof.

What about backups you ask? Avsim dutifully backed up one server to the other, both exposed to the internet. What? You call that a backup? Well, yes, it’s a backup protecting against hardware failure.

But what about fire, theft, etc? Were the servers located together?

Obviously, this was about 1/3 of a backup plan (get it? backup, backup, backup)

  1. Backup the data against hardware failure (hard disks essentially)
  2. Backup the data against fire, theft, weather (including floods). This means OFF-SITE.
  3. Backup the data against corruption. What if the data is corrupted in some way today, but now discovered immediately? That’s what the tape from last week, last month, last quarter, last year – you get the idea – is for.

This week I was discussing a new server for a client to replace an old one. The old one has a tape drive. Sooo not today, says our software vendor. They recommend a hard drive backup with all of 2, count ’em 2, hard drive cartridges.

That gives you a fast backup tonight, and a fast restore tomorrow. Great. That covers one potential problem. What about the rest?

I have yet to discover what backup medium works as well as tape for giving us a file from last week, month, quarter or year. (Some accounting files are only changed monthly, quarterly or yearly – I’ve been there on this one).

The new hard drive backups are fantastic – IF – augmented by some other means of archival and off site storage.

For home users you can get 2GB of online backup storage for free from Mozy; they also have a free trial.

Carbonite is another great online backup solution with a free trial, but no free storage.

Check them out today; BEFORE you lose data.

Acronis True Image Cannot See Hard Drives in Asus P5KC

If you are booting a PC built on the Asus P5KC motherboard using the Recovery Boot CD from Acronis True Image, then depending on which version of Acronis True Image you are using, you may not see any hard drives to back up or restore; other than the USB drive you are backing up to (or restoring from).

The reason may be the settings in your BIOS.

On the first screen of BIOS settings, near the bottom, is SATA Configuration. Select that and the top option is named, suprisingly, SATA Configuration also. The setting you probably want to operate with normally is “Enhanced”, but certain versions of Acronis True Image won’t then see the hard drives.

Change this setting to “Compatible” until you are finished with the Acronis True Image operation, then change it back to enhanced.

This doesn’t seem to effect Acronis when run through Windows, just from the Recovery Boot CD. There may be other Asus (and other brands) boards effected, but the P5KC is the one I know for sure.

Don’t Just Backup, Test It

I came across this post in a forum I frequent:

I thought I was deleting a group of files and deleted the entire my documents folder! I gotta get this data back. I have a recent back up of my computer, But am not sure how to isolate and re-install just the my documents folder. Help!

I know you all get sick of me harping about making backups, and recently about testing them. This is what I mean.

The feeling this person is going through is gut-wrenching.

Don’t be part of it.

If you need help, go over to my support forum.

Otherwise, start here

Backup Your FireFox & Thunderbird Profiles

There is a very handy backup utility for Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird profiles. You hopefully are backing up your entire PC and definitely data that is important to you; but how about all the bookmarks, saved passwords, etc that you have in Firefox? Or how about your Thunderbird email configuration? Bet you can’t recreate that without looking a few things up!

MozBackup is a free utility that makes backing up Mozilla profiles a cinch. Do it often, and definitely before making any major changes or upgrades.

You’ll thank me later.

Does No One Backup Their Data?

I have had a lot of views and follow up questions to some videos I have had on hard drive data recovery. On the one hand I’m thrilled that so many people find this information valuable to them; on the other hand I’m sad to see that so many people are in need of recovering data off of failed drives.

Computer backup is not difficult, expensive or even very time consuming anymore.

You can schedule Acronis True Image to automatically backup to an external USB hard drive on a regular basis. (I recommend a 7200rpm hard drive and a warranty longer than 1 year.)

Please don’t think your hard drive will last forever; even if it’s brand new it can fail at any time.