Last week I had one of those horrible experiences that actually
turn out sort of OK but still leave you feeling cheated and sick.
The situation was a customer who needed to restore some backed up
data. Well, fortunately she really DIDN'T need to restore data..
It was simply that her app vendor wanted her to test something
but wanted it done with the previous day's data. So she simply renamed
her current data directory and fired up the software (Yosemite Backup
on Windows 2003 Server) to do the restore. That's very easy: a point and
click interface, badda-bing, badda-bang and it's off and running.
Understand that the data we wanted had just been backed up and verified
the night before. It's possible that they hadn't even yet removed
the data cartridge from the drive (they use a Dell RD1000 for
backup). One (or two or three) would think that this restore
would be a slam-dunk.
One would be a fool. After many hours of chugging away, they got
error alert 1401 Please insert compatible media
Yosemite is unable to find usable media. Please insert media into
the loader or stand alone device which is compatible with the job
options. If this is a restore or verify job, make sure that the
version you selected reside on the media available to the device
or auto loader
Some of the data had been restored; 71% according to the screen.
That's great, because 71% is a tremendous amount of data and is just
29% shy of being what was expected and needed. All that is necessary
is for the customer to reduce her expectations by 29% and this
should be completely satisfactory. I asked her to do that; for
some reason she thinks that she should be able to get back 100%
of her files. Gosh, talk about a perfectionist!
Sadly, that's not the first time a Windows backup has failed to
do a Restore. These programs all do a bang-up job of backing up -
it's the restore where partial results seem to be the norm. I'm
more accustomed to the Unix world where if the media is good, so is
the backup, but I suppose that's too simple a concept for Windows.
The backup probably has to write registry keys and double check
them against the phase of the moon and some magic formula before
it can read back data that it just finished writing not twelve hours
Anyway, I don't know what we'll end up doing there. The customer
wants to shoot someone - this wasn't a critical need so all's well
that ends well, but she has this quaint opinion that someday she
might actually NEED to restore data and is feeling just a little
mistrustful of those "100% Verified - No Errors!" reports that come
to her inbox each morning. Again, she's persnickety like that.
Meanwhile, on the Home Front..
This situation dredged up some guilty thoughts about my wife's XP
machine. It would have been very easy for me to push those thoughts
back into the murk from which they rose had I not carelessly mentioned
this little backup snafu to my wife. She very quickly asked "Is my
machine backed up?"
Ahhh. Well, yes, sort of..
Because she's a woman she wanted to know exactly what I meant by
"sort of" and I had to confess that I meant "Not so much.."
I really did have good intentions.
There is a network backup to a server that in turn
goes to removable media, but that only has room
for some of the most critical files, and no, her Word documents
didn't make the "critical" cut. But,
I also bought a 250GB USB drive some time ago with the express intention of using that for her backup. Unfortunately I needed that on my Apple MacBook
because Time Machine ate up my 550 GB USB drive. If it hadn't
been for Time Machine, that other drive would have been hers. Honest!
So I ordered a 320GB USB drive. A discontinued model, cheap
money and to my complete surprise it arrived overnight. It was
formatted for Apple (!) so I reformatted it for NTFS and then
did three distinct backups:
- One manual copy of important folders.
- One Windows System Backup
- One File and Settings Transfer Wizard Dump
That last one is very nice to have available if the system dies outright
and you need to buy a new machine.. unfortunately the new machine's
File and Settings Transfer program may be incompatible by then, but
if not, this is a big time saver. It's a shame Microsoft isn't
smart enough to make this stuff always backward compatible
for restore, but they are morons in general and we know not
to expect much..
I'll instruct my wife on how to copy important files she works on and I'll freshen the other two backups once a week. Between these and the network backup,
we should have a decent chance of being able to get data back if we ever need it.
Or at least 71% of it. We're not perfectionists.
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© 2012-07-14 Anthony Lawrence