Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
This is Leo Notenboom for askleo.net.
Like many of you, I maintain computers for other folks. In particular, I'm the IT guy behind my wife's business and of course her personal computer, a Dell laptop not unlike my own.
She uses Outlook, and in the process of performing some maintenance on her computer the other morning I accidentally deleted her PST file which contains all her email.
All 800 megabytes of it.
And no, it wasn't in the recycle bin, this was a "permanent" delete from within a Windows command shell.
"No problem" I thought, a little nervously. "I'll just restore from last night's backup."
As I've mentioned here before, I have a fairly extensive backup system at home where in the wee hours of the morning important files are copied from machine to machine to machine, and some even off-site, ensuring that there's a fair amount of redundancy. One "central" machine, my primary desktop, then also does a true full backup using Acronis True Image Home.
I've often said that it would take something like four machines failing simultaneously in two different locations for us to actually lose our previous day's email.
By now you can see where this is headed.
I looked at the backup of my wife's email.
It was three months old.
For reasons I'd figure out later were related to the wireless network card utilities, my wife's laptop hadn't been getting backed up for the prior three months.
As you can imagine, this is where panic starts to set in.
My only hope of recovery was an undelete utility.
I happened to have a copy of a fairly simply undelete utility called Restoration, so I turned it lose. Much to my relief it did, indeed, find and recover the entire 800 megabyte file.
Only then did I tell my wife what was happening.
Needless to say, once the restoration was complete I then immediately backed up, for real, and corrected the problems that were preventing the nightly operation.
I tell you my embarrassing story simply to remind you:
If it sounds like my backup approach is somewhat complex, well that's because it is. And the more complex it is, the more frequently it needs checking. If you're using a simple backup solution such as an automated tool, then perhaps you won't need to check as often, but I strongly recommend that you check.
A backup that isn't working is almost worse than having no backup at all.
I'd love to hear what you think. Visit askleo.net and enter 12304 in the go to article number box to access the show notes, the transcript and to leave me a comment. While you're there, browse the hundreds of technical questions and answers on the site.
Till next time, I'm Leo Notenboom, for askleo.net.
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