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.