Backup and me. Why delaying your backup solution is a BAD plan.


That image…is my wife’s external hard drive failing catastrophically.  A few months back, her hard drive on her Mac Book Pro started slowing down.  She had filled it almost to the brim with wonderful photos of our son and our life together.  But the unfortunate side effect of this is that it became nearly unusable because with no extra memory, it slowed to a crawl.  

What to do?  We moved her iphoto libary to an external drive.  I had done this myself with my iTunes library for my iMac with great success.  I was able to put that selection of music and video on a 1 TB disk, which dwarfed my internal hard drive.  And it was fast enough that I didn’t really notice the difference.  So, what’s good for the Goose is good for the Gander (er…maybe that’s the other way around in this case).

We moved my wife’s iphoto library to an external G-Drive.  At first it was an excellent move.  Fast, effectively opening up wide swaths of her internal hard drive, speeding up the computer itself too.

Over time though, little issues started popping up.  If you even bumped the drive, for example, it would unmount…ungracefully.  Twice the library was corrupted and had to be rebuilt  Still…I didn’t put backup on it.

Finally a few weeks ago I started to really think about backup, and…given that Time Machine hasn’t worked in the past for me, and isn’t a great solution for a laptop that moves from room to room (my wife’s machine) I thought I’d try one of the advertised online backup solutions.  The one I’ve heard so much about is Carbonite.  I downloaded and set that up, only to find that for whatever reason, they DONT BACKUP EXTERNAL DRIVES FOR MAC.  Lame.  Just completely lame.  In fact, their response when asked about that lack of functionality was:  Just copy those files that you want to back up to the main hard drive.  Wait a minute, getting those files off the main drive was the point of the exercise in the first place!!  

So, no go with Carbonite.

And…while searching for a new solution…I heard this from the livingroom:

“My hard drive with my photos isn’t showing up…what should I do?”

Oh.  Oh No.  


It turns out, after trying Disk Utility, taking the drive to my IT guy at work (thanks Rodrigo) who tried all sorts of things from extra power to different cables to putting the drive in a new enclosure, and finally sending it to a data recovery company (an expensive one…) the following was the result:


The drive suffered from a massive head failure and the data was (and I quote directly from the expert data recovery company) “ground to dust, never to be recovered”.


Fortunately I was able to recover what appears to be about 3000 of the 25,000 or so pictures from her main drive.  And, I have many of our son’s pictures on my machine.  


Needless to say, I’ve now put a product called Crashplan in place.  Crashplan does a cloud backup and DOES handle external drives.  It also allows you to back up to additional drives, friends’ drives (why? I don’t know…) etc.  So, hopefully should this happen again, we’ll be covered.

One thought on “Backup and me. Why delaying your backup solution is a BAD plan.

  1. I came to your blog by way of your facebook post about your banned video. I was intrigued by the title to this post since my iMac just crashed this morning. Disk Utility can’t repair the drive and it needs to be reformatted. And my back-up has not been working properly lately. For a long time I’ve been telling myself to take care of it and now… I hope the latest isn’t all lost! My IT guy (my husband) will be helping me tonight to see if we can copy data from recovery mode before we embark on reformatting the drive. So yes, lesson learned, don’t delay backing up! And thanks for the tip about Crashplan. I may look into that.


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