I honestly thought that yesterday's struggle with my new travel portable hard drive's reversed USB 3 port would be the worst thing that happened before I leave for my work trip on Monday.
I was wrong.
So very, very wrong.
Last night before leaving work I compiled all my work file folders into a new folder hierarchy so it would be easier to copy what I need for work on the road. Instead of having to sync dozens of folders, I would now only need to sync one. Pretty sweet, right?
Yeah. Not so much.
Before leaving I set ChronoSync to copy my new "master folder" to my new up-side-down portable drive.
This morning I come back to work only to find that ChronoSync reported a total transfer time of 2 seconds with zero files copied.
Turns out my new "master folder" was completely empty. All my files from the past two decades were nowhere to be found. Thinking that Mac OS X was just playing silly buggers with the "visibility" of my files, I ran Disk Warrior, which usually fixes things right up.
That didn't work so I ran Disk Warrior in "scavenger" mode.
That didn't work so I used the directory backup in TechTool Pro to see if I could recover my files.
That didn't work so I fired up Data Rescue 4 to see if that might work.
Nothing. Nothing. Nothing Nothing. Nothing worked. For reasons completely unknown, all my files had been completely wiped from the drive with no option for recovery. And for the life of me, I have no idea why. The free space on my drive is huge because the files are truly missing. No diagnostic will reveal any clue as to what's gone wrong. It's as if everything I've ever worked on never existed.
As if that weren't bad enough, I've been particularly lax in keeping up with my local backups. My most current drive copy is five months old.
I'd be contemplating sticking my head in the over right now if not for the fact that I have everything continuously backed up into the Cloud with a service called BackBlaze. For $189, they'll ship me a new hard drive filled with all my missing files. I started using BackBlaze when Apple's Time Machine backups kept getting corrupted, and thank heavens.
So... no harm no foul... I guess.
One thing's for sure, I need a better local backup strategy.
=sigh= Something new to worry about.
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Related, it definitely bothers me that Time Machine waits ten days to warn you that backups aren’t occurring. On the other hand, I wish I could snooze the warnings to a set date when I know I’m going to be away from my Time Capsule for a while (and relying on an external drive backup in the interim).
Remember: Apple…it just works!
Yikes! I hate that feeling when files disappear like that. Hope the cloud copy you have isn’t corrupted somehow too…
My backup strategy is a couple of portable drives that I keep at work. Every two weeks I bring one home, run a robocopy with mirror to it, then take it back to work. So if the house ever burns down I’m never more than two weeks behind.
To wit, I started work today and, as usual, had the notification about how long it had been since a successful backup to the not-currently-available Time Capsule. As I occasionally do, I clicked on the Time Machine status icon and found that it had been four days since the last backup. Hmm… that’s not good. Turns out that the external drive was no longer visible, even in Disk Utility. (I mention this because I’ve had it be visible only to Disk Utility before.)
A simple disconnect and reconnect of the USB cable resolved the issue, but it doesn’t give much confidence that this drive is good. Before disconnecting, the drive light was on. Oh well, only another week until it’s back on the WiFi with its Time Capsule. Plus, I’m not actually storing any work on this system. Which reminds me: I’d better check the backup status of my production system. All good there, though even on that system, there’s very little work that isn’t already pushed to a server.
That would bother me… but not nearly as much as having my backups go corrupted and have time machine say that it wants to start over. What’s the point of a backup if it’s not going to be reliable? I have a drive sitting around somewhere with a Time Machine backup that went bad which I still want to get files from. Every once in a while I drag it out and use the latest recovery tools on it, but to no avail. The entire backup is useless.
Time Machine has been a mixed bag for me since it first arrived with Leopard. I’ve always had good luck in any restores I do, which means the files are getting backed up. But anyone, like yourself, who is serious about keeping backups of their data will push that data to more than one location. I used to use Crash Plan, but after their prices went way up for two machines (I bought a subscription for my daughter), I decided to go with Mozy Home (my daughter is only Time Machine at this point) and have been pretty happy for the files I have selected that get backed up every day.
I also use Carbon Copy Cloner to make a clone once a month (or more often, depending on OS X updates) so I have all files. I do this for all of my Macs (well, not the new MacBook 2015 yet) and can have peace of mind that I have a bootable version of my Mac in case something go bad with an update.
I’ve lost drives before (all Western Digital externals) and it sucks that I didn’t have backups of the backup drive (I do now… my office is a scattering of many external drives). My next option is a Drobo, which I setup for a friend and he’s been plenty happy with his 5.4 Tb of space. But until that happens, I juggle the Time Machine and other backups I do, hoping I get everything.