I’m not a superstitious sort, though I admit to preferring a particular jersey and shorts when I’m racing. But for many people, Friday the 13th is an inauspicious day, long reputed to be unlucky.
So I propose that we fight back against both superstition and the forces of entropy that constantly tear down all those works we labor so hard at creating.
The best defense against entropy is a good backup strategy. To quote a long-ago ad campaign from backup software maker Dantz Development, “To go forward, you must back up.”
But as those of us who have had to rely on our backups in the past know, the act of backing up is only the first small step in the full equation — it’s being able to restore that really matters.
Some psychiatrist friends with their own practice once ran afoul of this in a serious way. Their bookkeeper had religiously been making backups of all their invoicing and billing records as she worked, but she had never tried restoring from those backups until her hard disk died. When she went to restore from her carefully prepared backups, she was aghast to discover that they hadn’t been working. Months of data was lost, and it was a huge problem both for the bookkeeper and for my friends.
Therefore, I humbly submit that Friday the 13th, whenever it rolls around, should be considered International Verify Your Backups Day. (The United Nations is welcome to make this official.) In 2012, Friday the 13th arrives in January, April, and July; there will be two more Friday the 13ths in 2013. If you’re reading this article on some other day, I’d encourage you to verify your backups right away and then continue with the Friday the 13th schedule.
Take a few minutes to identify some critical files and see if you can restore them successfully from your backups. If a bootable backup is part of your backup strategy, make sure you can actually boot from it. (If you don’t have a good backup from which you can restore right now, allow me to recommend the latest edition of one of our most popular ebooks, Joe Kissell’s “Take Control of Backing Up Your Mac.”)
by Adam C. Engst
Published by TidBITS, July 2011