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Backup validation & verification

05/05/13

Backup validation & verification

Permalink 03:41:00 pm by Eugene Gardner, Categories: General, Articles

Since 2006 almost all my e-mails have ended with a line similar to:

I recommend you take full verified backup copies of files frequently, and of anything about to be changed.

As time passes and experience grows very gradually I am getting fewer anguished pleas for help recovering files. But I still get some and of those, several will be from folks who thought that once backup had been setup when the PC was new there was nothing further to do.

This is rarely the case. Documents may be saved in new places, backup software may fail or disks become full. For whatever reason it is important to periodically validate that your backup job is working as it should. That is, check the log file or see the job in the scheduler.

But the work ?verified? is in my closing line for a reason: simply validating the backup is only half the job. It needs to be verified periodically too. That means trying to recover a file ? not always the same type or way either. Try recovering from different locations and under different potential scenarios. This confirms that the files are actually being saved in a way that can be relied on and also keeps the method of how to restore them in your mind.

I have recently helped in the situation where the backup was validated and partially verified, but the owner had not tested the situation where the whole computer failed and recovery was to a new one. In this case although the software to restore a file was available and could be installed on the new version of Windows, the catalogue that was used to index the hundreds of incremental backups was not saved. So

I recommend you take full verified backup copies of files frequently, and of anything about to be changed.

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