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The trick is to smoke the meat and not make the meat smoke

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Site News-a Cautionary Tale

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After a bad experience with this site this past weekend, I figured I talk about the need for a good computer backup. I apologize to anyone who tried to visit this site during the past week. You were probably greeted by a sight not unlike the picture above. I was publishing an update to the site and prematurely quit my web program. This corrupted a file my website needed and I was toast. The site is now back up and running and all the links should work.

I backup my laptop every night to a disk on the internet, but the file for my website was not among the ones I was backing up. So the purpose of this entry is to get you to do a good backup and make sure your backup actually works.

If you aren’t backing up your computer, you should start doing it immediately. Computers die, hard drives fail, software crashes. If you have accounting or other important information on your computer it is probably hard or impossible to replace. You should make local backups plus keep a backup off site. My laptop backs itself up every night to the internet. This is a convenient solution, because it works whether I am home or away. I can retrieve the info from anywhere that has internet access.

The next key to having a good backup is to make sure all the files you will need are part of the backup. You should think about what files are irreplaceable and start with those. The second part of this equation is checking to see that your backup is working and that you are able to restore the files. This should be done before you actually have a problem. That way you can fix the problems so the backup will work properly when you do have problems. Restore the backup or at least a representative sample of the files to make sure you can re-open them. My problem was a support file needed by iWeb was not in my back up. So try restoring your files to see if you have all the necessary files before it is too late. It makes zero sense doing a backup that you ultimately can’t use

So unless you want to spend time recreating irreplaceable files like I had to with my website this week:
  • Come up with a backup strategy and start using it.
  • Check the log or list of files to make sure you are backing up everything that you will need.
  • Restore your files and attempt to open then up to see if they work and all support files are present.


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