Backup, Backup, Backup

Bet you never heard that before.

Please take a couple of minutes to read this. It is MUCH more important than Genealogy!

A fellow member of the APG mail list, Nancy C. Levin, CG., posted a message about her offsite backup host, MOZY, that rescued her from a near disaster.

In Nancy’s words, with permission:
I have been using Mozy since last year when I read about it in Dick Eastman’s online journal. I was not great at backing up and I knew that one of these days “something” would mess up. (As they say – it’s not “if” you have a computer failure, but “when” are you going to have a computer failure.) I needed something to happen nightly without having to do it myself. So I purchased a Mozy subscription and initially backed up 21 GB of material. There’s now about 27GB of material on it. It backs up all changes every night. Thank heavens!

This past November, I had a major operating system failure and it couldn’t be fixed. The computer was about 2 years old and the only way I could get it up and going (it crashed and crashed and crashed) was to reinstall the operating system software. I spoke with everyone – but this was my only choice. Unfortunately, this would wipe my entire hard drive clean and bring it back to its original state (what it looked like the day I took it home from the store). Everything would be gone. All client work; all files; and more.

I had also backed up current files on an external hard drive that sits here in my office – but not everything. (This, too, happens nightly without my intervention.)

My only hope was that Mozy had worked and really copied all of my stuff so that it could all be reinstalled. I ordered my backup disks from Mozy with all of my files, documents, etc. I had too much to download back into the computer. It would have taken weeks. It took about a week for them to copy the material onto disks and they held on to them at my request until I returned from vacation. They worked.

The backups I got off of my external hard drive combined with the material sent to me from Mozy – put me back in business. Without them – I truly would have been sunk.

Nancy C. Levin , CG

When anyone in our family has a computer problem, guess who they bring it to. My oldest daughter Kathy brought her two year old DELL saying it was acting funny. She has two teen age boys. At first glance I knew it had malware on it, the minute I saw LIMEWIRE and some other peer to peer utilities. Oh well, boys will be boys! My remonstrance to both grandsons included a stern explanation of the single parent mother that was fined a quarter of a million dollars last year for having illegal songs on her computer, unbeknownst to her. The RIAA, DRM and DMCA legislation are much more easily enforced, than say oh, finding Bin Laden.

Well after several weeks of off and on attempts, mixed with a little twinge of procrastination, I got down to the serious fact. It could not be fixed. I used several anti-virus and malware detection programs and removal methods, (there were 49 severe viruses when I started.) We got down to 18 viruses first, then tweaked and cleaned more and got down to just two files that were still corrupted, but they were Windows operating system files and could not be deleted and could not be repaired.

I saved what I could to a remote USB hard drive and wiped the system clean, reloaded Windows and all the drivers, installed the anti-virus program, AVG 8.0 free version, and started repopulating the system. It will never be able to be restored to the way she had it, but at least now she has a computer back. Oh by the way, I accidentally “lost” all the media files, too bad.

I know you will find this hard to believe but she had no backups. I know we lost some WORD files, and photographs, and all of her bookmarks and addresses.

Dick Eastman has written about MOZY several times on his EOGN Blog at

This UNYG Blog encouraged readers to Backup in an article here:

All I can say is Backup, Backup, Backup !


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2 Responses to “Backup, Backup, Backup”

  • Thomas MacEntee:

    I agree! In fact on the Genea-Blogger’s Calendar (which is used to remind readers of blogging carnivals, upcoming events, etc., there is an entry called Backup Day and it occurs the 1st of every month!

  • Patti:

    I don’t want to minimize the importance of backing up, but I think both of these example cases could have been salvaged in another way. I know the first could with the operating system corruption problem. Unless the hard drive will not work (which we have had happen to us, so I know it does), you can attach it to another computer, either by using an external hard drive case or by inserting it in an open port in another computer, and access the files just like an extra hard drive thereby bypassing the operating system software.

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