Is it important enough to back up?

I admit to being a smug bastard when it comes to backups. I've managed to keep backups of all/most my data intact for close to 10 years now. At its worst I would copy the important stuff onto floppy once a month or so but for the last few years I had regular backups copying data to a server. Sure it didn't cover me in the worst case of a fire but in those cases I have backups of photos with my family in the UK.

When people tell me they lost data due to hard drive crashes I would say "at least it wasn't important stuff" and they would say "yes it was" to which my response was always "If it wasn't important enough to backup then it couldn't possibly be that important".

Well today it looks like you can all be smug back to me....

A few months ago I notice my home server making a funny clicking noise and when I rebooted it wouldn't come up. I switched my backups to a USB drive while I got round to fixing it. Turns out the hard drive is toast (and 6 months out of warranty). I've tried it in 2 machines in a vain hope I could get to it.

No worries eh? I've lost nothing important?

Well it seems that at some point I decided to copy all my ripped CDs and downloaded music to the server since that was where the big hard drive was and so I could access the music from multiple machines. Of course that meant that there now was no backup of that data. I still have all the CDs so all is not lost other than my time. The downloaded music are from the now defunct MSN Music and the now 'merged with Rhapsody' Urge so I have no clue if I can ever get those back. Thankfully I burned a few of them to a CD for a road trip so I think I may be saved again.

Also on there were a load of movies that I had collected using my Replay TVs and stored using DVArchive. Again a shame but nothing I can't eventually get back from TV or rent from NetFlix.

But the real flaw in my system and the one I should have known better because I spent 10+ years of my career making sure other people did it right is my SQL Server. When I set it up it was really there just to help me play with websites or restore backups. It wasn't for production usage. But at some point I installed AxoSoft OnTime as a trial and then I started using it to store important things and I never set up any kind of backup.

So everyone after 3...... 1-2-3.... "It couldn't have been important otherwise you would have had a backup"

The data on there is certainly not important enough to warrant paying thousands of dollars to some data recovery team to get it back but its a serious pain in my ass.

Right now the hard drive is in my freezer even though I think that 'urban myth' only works in certain cases and the click, click, click head move of death doesn't seem to be one of them.

[edit: Seems like I am lucky and got away with it even without the freezer trick]

Published 28 April 2008 03:29 PM by zman


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