Failed Flash & Missing Backups CodeUnit 03 MAY 2010

Sigh. After years of solid and faithful service, despite the lack of care, my Transcend JetFlash 4 GB USB flash drive finally borked and said it’s last goodbyes. But it didn’t go quietly into the night.

No, it kicked and screamed, corrupted and declared itself write-protected. I spent hours combing the Internet, trying out various solutions, tricks and suggestions, none of which worked and none of which could get the drive back into working, usable condition.

From low-level formats to registry hacks and just plain begging and pleading, all was for naught as I finally came to the conclusion that it was dead and dusted, leaving me only with one recourse – to open it up and operate on it in the hopes of a miracle happening.

Unfortunately that was not to be as my clumsy hands sliced the top of a connector clean off its housing and brought with it the finality of the waste bin.

But losing a faithful flash drive was not the worst part of this ordeal. No, the worst part was that I, a software technician of all people, had failed myself in that I didn’t keep any backups of the important data on the drive. Not a single backup whatsoever. Important personal documents, desktop application projects in mid development, databases built up over years, all gone because I was too lazy to keep up a decent backup programme.

But the loss now behind me, I have vowed to change my ways and send out this warning to those of you out there like me – backup your data, synchronize your drives, don’t fall in complacency.

Even if it is just by using the simplicity of rsync or its’ graphical counterpart, grsync, schedule your backups and stick to it – or as I have now done, place a perpetual reminder in your calendar and stick to it.

For you never know when the blight that is drive failure will strike again…

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.

  • As painful as it is, it is useful to get reminded that backups are really necessary!
    .-= Lars´s last blog ..Letzter TMA für M263 fertig =-.

  • @Lars – couldn’t agree with you more. sigh, so an important lesson learned… again!

  • I don’t keep much “useful” stuff on my usb because everyone wants to borrow it or one just loses it for a day or three or or or. But backups in all forms are very necessary – not just flash-to-pc backups. The kind of backup I’m more dependant on is requires the likes of bitbucket and svn. For instance the “Private” repository of Bitbucket is secure and you can set up scripts to auto sync. I keep my M thesis there and it handles latex, pdfs, dvi, eps, jpg, word docs, zips, rars and all manner of files just fine… I’d say that’s the “Big Gun” when it comes to backing up… for when you don’t trust your 3 flashdrives AND laptop AND desktop AND workpc.
    .-= idigitall´s last blog ..Brain hears by seeing; open source developer knighted; rain-making lasers; the “living earth simulator”, and Matlab’s 64-bit inoperable ints =-.

  • @idigitall: can’t argue with you there, a proper offsite back system is really the way to go, but with our bandwidth restraints you can’t really go backing up movies and videos! For more personal items though, definitely an option to be using. Quite keen on making use of new Ubuntu One cloud service…
    .-= Craig´s last blog ..Failed Flash & Missing Backups =-.

  • you backup movies and videos? I just burn them to dvd and delete once I’ve watched them, unless they’re SuperCOOL(!!!) in which case I make two dvd copies.

    The cloud: until I find a cloud I trust I’ll be sticking to multiple local backups. Just like there are pornography monitors, It’s just too easy for google, ubuntu 1 etc, to add patent filters without telling us. call me a sceptic…
    .-= idigitall´s last blog ..Brain hears by seeing; open source developer knighted; rain-making lasers; the “living earth simulator”, and Matlab’s 64-bit inoperable ints =-.

  • @idigitall: no, I don’t backup movies and music, a waste of time in my opinion, but I know some people who are quite keen on that. As for the cloud, right of ownership of content is my only real concern, particularly when you take into account that a cloud may spread itself over mutliple locations which may be subject to different laws. Now there’s an issue waiting to explode! :)
    .-= Craig´s last blog ..Failed Flash & Missing Backups =-.