Recently I had a client (call him Jeff) ask me would I be able to take a look at his Windows 7 laptop which had become infected with a virus. After inspecting the laptop it was obvious that it was in a sorry state of repair so I suggested to Jeff that the quickest way to recover the system would be to wipe the hard drive and reinstall the operating system.
“I did a backup last week to an external hard drive so go ahead and wipe it” I was told. Great I thought as not having to recover files saves a lot of time so I happily wiped the hard drive and reinstalled Windows 7. Jeff then went to get his external hard drive. When he returned he plugged it in and it wasn’t recognised. I then plugged it into my netbook (Linux based) and again nothing happened. Houston we have a problem!!
Unbeknown to Jeff since he had made his last backup the hard drive had been dropped and all of his files could no longer be accessed. I did suggest sending it off to a lab to try and retrieve the files but when I told him it would cost hundreds he didn’t look very well!! He had made the common mistake of making backups but not checking them.
Now Jeff is a home customer and home customers in my experience hardly ever take backups (never mind checking them) but I also see this happening in the workplace. A lot of businesses I deal with do some kinds of backups (one backs up to floppy disks!!) but hardly any of them ever check them. When I do suggest they check them I am usually told there is no need. Personally I would rather know there is a problem before I need to try and restore your systems from backups that may or may not be corrupt in some form.
So people yes take your backups but for your own sake check them too!!
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