Monday, October 31, 2011

How safe are your files?

I thought I was covered against any likely accident ....

I've just had a major problem with the section of the main web site covering all the places in Hertfordshire beginning with the letter "H" such as Harpenden, Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead, Hertford, Hitchin, Hoddesden and many others.
What happened was very simple. I use the Frontpage software to manage the site. I was doing an edit and the mouse must have slipped and moved the "H" folder. I was not aware of what had happened and as a result the master copy was corrupted with all internal links on files in the "places-h" pages being broken. 

No problem I thought. Why doo I arrange for all my files to be automatically backed up to a separate hard disc so I can quick;y recover from such problems. All I have to do is to retrieve the "places-h" folder and all will be OK.

Ha Ha Ha ... Oh Oh Oh ... uuuugggghh ... aaaarrrrrkkk!!!!

The "places-h" folder contained 9 further folders and over 150 individual files. I discover that  my "wonderful" back up system allows me to recover files (an possibly the whole system) -  but NOT named folders full of files.I found that I would need to go through the recovery process over 150 times. Well I suppose I could be grateful that the broken links did not affect all the 7000 files in the "data" folder ...

Fortunately the fault was spotted before I did an update run on the online copy of the web site. As a result  I could recover the situation quite quickly by overwriting the "places-h" with the online copy, and only I lost about half a dozen amendments - although some additional testing will be necessary.

But it raised the question we all need to ask about our systems - Do your back up arrangements actually work in an acceptable way when some of your files become corrupted?

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