Monday, November 30, 2009

Data Backup Day, of a Different Sort, or Sometimes Backups Just Are NOT Enough

Before Man and I headed south I wrote this post, but did not post it. The first of each month is Data Backup Day for the GeneaBloggers, so I decided to post this now. It is a slightly different take on backing up your files and data.

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So you think just because you have great backups your files are safe and sound??

Will your old files open?? When was the last time you actually opened them??

Part of heading to warmer climes for the coolish (okkk, COLD) months is backing up programs and data on the computers. Tis a good thing. Forces the issue. We move a lot of files around, delete, rename, organize. All good computer maintenance stuff.

During this exercise (times 3 computers), I discovered some files that were corrupt. They are PDF files of a rather large book I scanned. Rather than take this large and heavy book with us, I scanned it a few years ago. Weight is always an issue when you live and travel in a RV. Stuff weighs a LOT more than you think.

The book is a resource for family researchers in the county we live in. I do look ups for other researchers. I don’t have to have the heavy book with me IF I have computer files, and I can still do the lookups no matter where Tana is parked. But, a huge number of the files are corrupt (each page is a file in this case).

I am not happy about this discovery, as you can imagine. And, I know the fix, sadly, it is to re-scan the pages that have corrupted files. YIKES!!

Why not go to a old back up, and just transfer the old files to the new computer. Simply put, the old backup files will not open either, as it is a program snafu. The latest version of the program does not recognize nor will it open the older version files. I have tried on several computers, it is a no go. How frustrating is that??

Backups are still necessary. Anyone who has suffered a total hard drive failure without sufficient backups will tell you how sick they were at the amount of lost work and photos. The time required to rebuild your data bases and work is unbelievable, and sometimes, you cannot recover the lost photos and files.

But, in this case, having a great backup, or even a number of backups of my files is not going to help. Scanning again, a re-do, is the solution. I hate re-do’s. You have NO idea how much I HATE re-do’s!!

When is the last time you had your PDF files open?? Sometimes backups just are NOT enough. Open your files, periodically, it is another part of your data backup plan.



*BTW, I did manage to get all the bad PDF files for this book re-done before we left the north for southern climes, however, I have discovered a few other short source books that have been scanned that also have bad PDF files. 

**For those that might wonder about copyright, I do NOT sell the PDF files, I do NOT even share them, I use them from my own computer and for any one lookup request I do not exceed "fair use" limits.

1 comment:

Russ said...

Carol,

Thank you.

When I 'talk' to users of a software program that I use, on this Back Up topic, I strongly recommend that you Test your Back Up. That is, do a Restore from Back Up from time to time.

So, part of our monthly Back Up Data Day (monthly) We should also have a random Check You Back Ups / random Restore from Back Up Day. I say random, because you may find that your back ups are good, or you may find that there are issues. So the frequency of the Restore may be different based on experience with the software that is used for the file itself or the technique used to Back Up.

Oh, did I mention send a copy of your Back Up somewhere else?

Again, Thank you for posting this.

Russ