From Microsoft Windows 7 to Hurricanes: Dealing With IT Disasters

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2011-09-14 Print this article Print

title=Eating Up Lots of Time} 

Fortunately, I'd followed the advice of eWEEK's storage guru, Chris Preimesburger, and had signed up for Carbonite's cloud based backup. While the Windows installer creates an "" directory, that doesn't do much to save your settings for things like Outlook. So I started Carbonite's full system restore. Once that was running, I went to see my newly-born granddaughter. When I got back, the restore was finished.

But I found out a few things that would have helped me, and had the need to do the restore been for more data, would have made a huge difference. The first is that even with a fairly fast Internet connection, downloading the data for a full restoration can take a long time - about 15 hours for just this one computer. The second is that you have to make sure you back up absolutely everything you need - I'm still looking for my old email files, and I'm not certain that I had them in the back-up set. And I found out that I could have saved a lot of time if I'd created an image of my system on one of the servers.

You should try a restore process before you actually need it. While Carbonite is seriously easy to use, it still took a little while before I was certain that I knew what to do. And, of course, you need to have some idea how long it will take so that you can plan for it.

Normally, I would also suggest that you should test software before you use it for something that you need for a critical business function. But in this case, I had already tested it. Nobody knows why it chose this moment to run amok.

But there were things that I did right. First of all, I have a laptop that can do most of the functions that my primary workstation can do. I also have spare workstations that could be pressed into service if necessary, although they're normally doing other things. So my business wasn't down, it just lost productivity because I was occupied trying to restore my system rather than doing actual productive work.

And that's probably the last lesson that I learned from this not-so-big unnatural disaster. The one thing that you can't replace when you're doing recovery is time. No matter how you plan it, the process will eat up time from someone in your organization, and you'll effectively lose the services of that person or those people involved in it until the restore process is completed, and the recovery tested and confirmed. Unnatural or not, that can be its own disaster.


Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazineÔÇÖs Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.

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