I would like to share an embarrassing story about my desktop computer’s recent disaster. I hope that it serves as an informative lesson to others with blind faith that company IT policy and procedures protect them from unforeseen issues.
After an active directory permission issue cropped up with my desktop system login, I followed instructions to delete my user account and create another with my desktop files safely in the old user documents and desktop folders. My new login worked as expected, so I moved my files to the new user account for easy access in the same directory structure as before. However, after rebooting as a needed step in a software update, my Windows user desktop was recreated and all of my recently moved files were gone. It took only about 5 minutes to determine that the new account was not setup properly. It was created as a temporary account. The problem with this is that when I logged off, all files were treated as temporary and therefore deleted. I tried a recovery software tool to restore the files, but it was too late. Data had already been written over most of the moved files, and only about 5% of the 1,500 or so files were recoverable. It was a quick fix to change this account from a temporary Windows logon to a fixed account.
It was a quick fix to change this account from a temporary Windows logon to a fixed account. The good news is that I backup my desktop system data weekly to a shared RAID drive on our local area network. I ran the restore program and was able to retrieve all but about 6 files. The bad news is that the 6 files were the ones that I was most recently working on as part of my current projects list. These were the most important. It took me about 4 hours to manually recreate this work plus about 45 minutes to restore my files. It could have been far worse.
For me, the lesson was to not blindly rely on each step working as expected. I changed my backup from weekly to nightly. As an added bonus, I tested my restore procedures, which worked flawlessly. After a real world incident, I reinforced a valuable lesson and even upped my game. I came out somewhat unscathed with a far greater appreciation for the safeguards I had in place for my data backup and recovery. I know that if my system were to crash entirely, I can recover with little downtime and almost no lost productivity.
Let my trials and tribulations be a wakeup call to the possible holes in your backup and recovery procedures. You may want to ask, “What would the outcome have been if this were my machine?”
Added on 09/19/2011
Backup and Recovery
Disaster Recovery (DR) by Blog