BACKUP, BACKUP AND MORE BACKUP
Most of what we do or learn is from hard experience, not from what we learned in school. Backing up my computer the other day, while I was out-of-town, is a good example of many good computer practices that were not followed.
Lessons learned from others
First of all, over the years, I have heard horror story after horror story about back-up software programs, tape drives and tapes that failed. Thus, when the eventual computer hard disk crash took place, the back-up medium did not work. The problem is present in any and all events because, there is no way I know of to check that a tape has real and complete data on it, except to activate the "back-up" powers of the software program, and nobody does that. So, I have a huge bias against using any medium that will not allow me to verify what is on the backup tape.
In addition, even if you are backing up to another hard drive on your system, most back-up programs create a new, compressed, file that is also susceptible to corruption. Corruption can take place in many ways, including an imperceptible electrical "spike", problems with your computers, etc.
What happened to Paul Bernstein
What happened to me was that I did not instruct my paralegal on how Paul Bernstein wants "back-up" to take place on my main, standalone computer. My main computer has a SyQuest 1.5 GB drive attached and the disk is removable in theory a perfect way to do backup. And so, while I was out-of-town, my paralegal decided to do a backup of that machine.
Unfortunately, while the backup software was doing its "thing", the entire computer froze up probably a Windows 95 bug, and having no other apparent option, my paralegal did the three-finger-salute she hit the "Control-Alt-Delete" keys and "poof", there went the hard disk of my computer .well, not entirely, but all folders got renamed and other curious results transpired, which meant that there was one heck of a mess .it only took three days to replace most of the software I use regularly and to identify all the folders and files with now, very long numeric identifiers, as compared to intelligible file names.
How to do backup
Here are Paul Bernsteins tips on how to do backups.
Follow these suggestions or regret it!
Ive had a number of disasters over the years with computers. Ive learned the lessons I convey to you by hard experience mostly ignoring the suggestions I received from then, more knowledgeable computer friends.
Dont forget, I go back to magnetic media with IBMs mag-tape machine and then to "dedicated" word processing machines. Accordingly, Ive had the time to make every mistake in the book.
Always remember that the information on magnetic media in your office took hundreds and perhaps thousands of hours to create and contains invaluable information and recorded wisdom. Indeed, that digital information is invaluable - priceless. You need to duplicate the information and protect it as no other asset you possess. Dont make the same mistakes Ive made in the past. Be smart and make backups, the Paul Bernstein way, today!