Monday, December 31, 2007


You can read the entire post with images at

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A new backup

I purchased a 2002 IBM server for $150 at a store in Orangeville, Ontario.
It is 1.3GHz and comes with four removable SCSI dtrives of 17GB each.

Now SCSI drives are history - you just can't buy them in stores anywhere, and franklt 68GB doesn't come close to my backup requirements.

But .....

... a nifty little DOS batch file has my $150 server obtaining updated files across my network every hour. The process takes about three minutes, and then the server goes to sleep for an hour.

That means that my other machines are never more than 60 minutes away from the previous backup.

And I can, if I choose, backup from the interim copies on the server to my 300GB or 400GB drive on the weekend, or in the evening, for extra security.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


A photocopy of some disks is not a "backup of my software".

Any removable media within arm's length of the computer is not a backup.

Any non-removable media is not a backup.

Dragging a few choice folders to removable media is not a backup.

ZIPping ( files to a file is not a backup.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

True Story (Thursday, June 22, 2006)

Just to 'jump in' on this one - to add to day-to-day traumas - PC 'crashed' at weekend - (running an anti-virus up-date????!!!) We have restored windows and internet so far but 'fraid all the photos and journals are lost..... (along with my 70,000 words of 'searching/finding'...... etc etc

There were a few tears I can tell you ..... it was like losing my family .... anyway, anyone got time to help a damsel in distress, any contributions greatly appreciated .....? (I now have no hard proof that David and I ever met!)And no, mentioning 'back-ups' would NOT go down well - I know, I know.... always have to learn the hard way, don't I?

Embarrassed, Ann, x

Friday, November 17, 2006

Looks pretty complicated for a Joe Ordinary like me!

OK. Let's break it down a little.

Removable device

The important thing about a backup is that the backup device is not held on, in, at, or near the computer system.
If your back device is a second hard drive bolted into your computer, when your computer is stolen, catches fire, is trashed by a virus or befalls any similar misfortune, your backup drive goes with it.

A removable device is a backup. An internal device is not a backup.

If you are paranoid and live near an airport, you'll store your backups a mile or so away. "I can survive a "plane crash". Otherwise you'll keep your backup in a separate room. Why? Because the world is full of idiots like me who react by reaching for the backup and repeating the same idiotic action that got my main data into trouble in the first place. Keeping the backup in a separate room gives me a few extra seconds to contemplate what I'm about to do.

I have always been served well by sitting down and thinking before restoring files.

If you are backing up to a removable device and storing that device away from your computer, that's a good start.

Dedicated device

The device should be dedicated to backups.
Keeping files on a device like a general-purpose memory key is not a good idea. It is too easy to trash your backup files during an ordinary working day by unthinkingly tapping the wrong key and destroying your backup copies without realizing it, until it is too late.

The Lot

I have no faith in a human's ability to divine what is and what is not important on a computer system.

Copying your "My Documents" folder will not help you when you are trying to restore your email address book, your browser bookmarks, your Word Processing templates or options and settings, and all the other things that serve you on the computer.
Sure, you can work out most of them, but you can't work out or obtain all of them, and the last thing you want to do when your system crashes is to spend hours laboriously re-creating your working environment.

Even if your computer is a personal computer at home, you are losing an unbelievable number of hours spent gradually building up the base of data that makes it your computer.

What does this all mean?

In All My Years ™ I've not come across a simpler idea than backing up the complete system to a removable hard drive every day. First thing each morning. Slide in a drive, click, wait, slide it out and get on with life.

No sets of CDs to burn and catalogue (and search at a later date).

No decisions to make about what is and what is not to be copied.

No fears of missing anything.

Just letting Windows grab everything that is new or is changed, and relaxing.

If you are worried about how to wring each scrap of devious information back off the backup during recovery, don't sweat that either. As long as you have it all, any service geek can get it back. It's when you don't have it all that the service geek has to break the bad news to you. "If it ain't backed up, it can't be reclaimed".

Friday, October 20, 2006


"I save all my personal files (mostly Word and Excel documents) to my USB on a roughly weekly basis."

Last time I looked a USB memory stick could hold up to 2 gigabytes of data.

Last time I looked Big Beige Boxes were shipping with 160 Gigabyte drives; Laptop computers with 100 gigabyte drives.

Sure, it wi’ll take a few months to fill up your hard drive, but your music and photos are consuming how much space?

I bet you don'’t know.

All that time spent downloading music from the web, ripping your CD collection, uploading photos and movies from your camera.


Certainly not fitting on a 2 Gigabytes memory key.

I just searched my Big Beige Box for "“MP3"” files and found 10,853 files for a total of 24,471 Gigabytes. You will, of course, tell me that you don'’t have that much but I don'’t believe you. I don'’t believe you’ve actually ferreted out all the stuff you have stored on your hard drive.

And anyway, it's certainly more than 2 Gigabytes.

And it does include those priceless movies of your grandchildren.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


Subject: Urgent hard disk crisis!
Posted on: 16-Sep-06 17:21

I accidentally used a raw floppy copy program and raw copied a floppy onto my hard disk, and it has re-written the hard disk binary and it thinks its a floppy disk as it says it as 1430 something KB etc. is there any fix for this? Or do I have to re-format? eeeek help!

Many Thanks,
Subject: Re: Urgent hard disk crisis!
Posted on: 16-Sep-06 17:45

I suspect you will have to reformat, and then restore your most recent backup.

Subject: Re: Urgent hard disk crisis!
Posted on: 16-Sep-06 17:51
I really hope not, I haven't backed up this week yet and some very important files lie on it, the situation is as follows ...

Many Thanks,