evannichols (evannichols) wrote,
evannichols
evannichols

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This Is Not A Drill!

Almost twenty-four hours after Mr. PC stopped working, I’m actually fairly pleased.  Not because he quit; I’m still vexed about that.  But because I’ve managed to get most of my data transferred onto my laptop, connect it to the Internet and carry on without too much interruption. 

I’d give myself no better than a C+ though. 

You probably know I’m the one who reminds everyone during NaNo to back up their data.  And I’ve worked professionally with Disaster Recovery Planning, which is all about having proper data backup and procedures to recover from a failure in the system.  So perhaps I’m a little harsh in grading myself. (Or perhaps I’m even too lenient, and someone with my background should do even BETTER.)  The good news is that this has been a Learning Experience.  And it could have come out much worse.

Here’s what I had to work with:

Hardware: Mr. Laptop stepped right in.  The modem USB connection got him to the Internet, but then I had a bunch of Microsoft Security Update downloads to do, which took a while with all the rebooting.  Then ZoneAlarm got confused in there, and wouldn’t work.  I eventually had to uninstall him, reboot to Safe Mode to delete some files, reboot and do a clean install.  If that last attempt hadn’t worked, I would have sought out a different application, but it came up happy.  I’ve been using Mr. Laptop as a non-Internet workstation, but I think I’ll make a point of regular updates so I don’t have to go through that again.

Priority Data: Folders for AskDrEldritch and Writing (novels, short stories, screenplays, ideas, etc.) -  Saved as of Feb 9th, 10:25 p.m.  This means I lost the preparation I did for Monday’s upload, but since I create the comic images on my laptop, I didn’t lose what I did on the weekend.  Good marks for that.

Active Data:  My Documents Folder -  Saved as of Dec 11th, 2005.  Somehow, I totally missed my monthly backup in January.  Yes, I was sick, but still.  I know better.  A lot of the files don’t change often, so I’d give myself no more than a C for that.

Email: Backed up on Dec 11th, 2005, as well.  I’m not happy with having two months of email unavailable, but not a lot of it is critical, and some of it is still being held out on the servers (things sent to “words,” for example).  I did have copies of my email Address Books (for the three email accounts I use with Outlook Express), so I could load them into the laptop.  I’m willing to bet that most people don’t have backups of their email files, but still, a C. 

Problem Areas:  These are a few things that I realized that are outside of my backup procedures: 
  • Bookmarks/Favorites on my web browsers.  Totally forgot to capture those.  I know, not vital, but noticeable when I try to get to a website I visit often.

  • Key Reference Text files on the C: drive.  I did have a copy of the two most important ones on a floppy disk, from November, so I did recover the data.  Still, I’m going to change procedures to make sure those are included.

  • Application settings.  For example, the Mail Rules in Outlook Express to filter and sort incoming messages.  And the mail server names for the account.  It would be good to either write those out, or do some screen prints of the setup screens, so transferring to another machine is easier.
Mr. PC is about five years old, so it’s about time to think about upgrading to a new machine.  So it would be good to prepare an application inventory, setup/setting documents for each, and a more thorough backup set.  I took him to the shop this morning, and it will be a few days before they can analyze what’s wrong with him.  I’m still hoping that he’ll be functional when he comes home, so I can catch all these holes in my backups, and not have to rebuild the things I’m missing.  I don’t want to be too optimistic, but if he still works, then I won’t have lost any data!

So I’m hoping that this really is just a drill, after all.
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