Thursday, July 12, 2007

Backing up is important

I have for many years maintained regular backups of my systems. Minimally I keep a copy of my user directory on either a network share (which ended with the demise of my G4 tower) or USB based hard disks.

Before going to the west coast I backed up my MacBook. I always make a backup before a road trip.

When we came home, laden with gigs of pictures, I made a backup. It filled the drive and never completed. I finally got around to making a backup yesterday.

"Hey, what's making that funny noise?"

Oh. Crap. That funny noise is coming from the hard drive in my MacBook. Everything got very slow on my Mac and it finally hung. I had to reboot.

No dice. The drive is dead. Nothing has been able to rescue it (Disk First Aid, Disk Warrior). "Invalid sibling link" errors. Note the part where it says "This is an error you definitely don't want. It indicates that parts of your directory, and therefore some of your files and folders, are inaccessible." Yay!

So, the question now is, how far did my backup get? Did I really lose 800+ pictures from 10 days on the road?

Sadly, the answer looks to be yes. Everything that hasn't been uploaded somewhere or possibly saved in an email looks to be lost. Once I replace the drive and get my digital life back in order I will explore other options to retrieve my data. So far it looks like I may have only lost those photos, other directories containing important data that has changed recently (remember the older, incomplete backup). Thankfully I didn't lose my 7000+ photos that happened before the road trip or hundreds of albums that I have in my iTunes library. Ripping disks to MP3s is a PITA!

I bought a new Western Digital 160GB SATA drive which is being delivered tomorrow. The old drive, a Hitachi 160GB SATA drive, is still under warranty, so I should get a replacement eventually. And I'll be using it to make more regular backups. The plan is to have a 160GB drive that I use a tool like SuperDuper
to make a bootable image of my laptop drive on a regular basis. (Oh crap, I have a lot of software to reinstall...) I'll make incremental backups of my home directory and application directories using Carbon Copy Cloner.

Next time, I won't procrastinate on making a backup of something as important as vacation photos, either.

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