Backups are important. Restore is more important.

by Volker Weber

Stop what you are doing and make a backup. You already have a backup? Doesn't matter. Make another one. And then, on the weekend, take your time and try to restore it to a clean machine.

You have no idea, when you will lose that data. When you do, you will wish that you had a more recent backup. And when you try to restore, you will wish you had tried it before you lost the data and found out your restore does not work.

What really helps is if that most important piece of data does not require a full restore. My accounting app runs from a thumbdrive, if it has to. I just tried, because one of the things that died last night was my virtual Windows machine I use for accounting. Went to the backup, restored one zip file, unpacked onto thumbdrive and ran on Microsoft Surface. Success. Then I went to the backup of the backup and tried again. Success, once more.

All storage dies. If it's made by Seagate, it will die young. Make a copy. And another one.


I tell me clients they don't need a backup system.

They need a restore system. (No one cares about backups)

Eric Mack, 2015-10-07

All time favorite:

Max Nierbauer, 2015-10-07

Full ack. Since 1990, I have always 3 (sometimes even 4) restorable :) 'backups'. Of everything. And one of them is always outside the house, somewhere else, no more than 1 week old. If you ever experienced a 'backup' which did not work, you continue with 2-3-4 simples copies of everything. Saved me at least 2 times in 25 years.

Stephan Perthes, 2015-10-07

A colleague taught me the 3-2-1 approach to backups. 3 Backups, on 2 different machines, at least 1 off-site

Eric Mack, 2015-10-07

The SSD of my gamin PC died yesterday. No need to backup the gaming machine, right?

Wrong! 70h~ Progress lost in The Witcher 3 makes you reconsider. :(

Andreas Pfau, 2015-10-07

Das erinnert mich an meinen alten MacMini, mein erster Medienrechner für das Wohnzimmer. 2 formschöne Iomega Festplatten angestöpselt, eine für meine Musik und eine als TM Backup. Beide Iomegas hatten die Seagate Barracuda drin, die Serie mit dem Controllerproblem. Beide starben parallel mit über 100gb Musik, handgerippt... Was für ein Glück, alles war noch auf dem Ipod classic... Seitdem ist 3-2-1 verinnerlicht. Und wir haben in der Company die HDDs neu gewürfelt. Immer zwei verschiedene Hersteller für die Backups...

Martin Blunck, 2015-10-07

I witnessed all cases (fortunately not on my own machines) described in the Tao of Backup:

Jörg Hermann, 2015-10-08

Which ReadyNAS model would you recommend? Thanks.

Andreas Klinge, 2015-10-08

I don't know. Both of mine are old and out of service.

Volker Weber, 2015-10-08

@Volker: I still have the ReadyNas NV+ which you recommended all these years ago. Still running well. It's receiving four new shiny 2TB drives, now that they are not so expensive.

Andrew Magerman, 2015-10-08

If I may, I'd recommend the WD20EFRX.

Volker Weber, 2015-10-08

Oh come on, there's always ddrescue.

On a more serious note: tons of excellent advice on the post and in the comments.

Philipp Sury , 2015-10-09

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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