What amount backup?

So it’s been a week since I entered technological hell. Cashed my bad karma chips in. Wanted to get into gardening. Why?

Last Sunday my IBM Travelstar 48GB drive I had put into my PowerBook G4/500 died. It died a year ago and was replaced by IBM, but now it was dying again. It had failed to spin up twice in three days post sleep, so I knew it was not in good shape.

So Sunday it fails for a final time. I check out my backup LaCie 60GB firewire drive and oops, I have not backed up since October! Well, ok, I had all of my source online and other places. The source was encrypted, which then hit me, I never wrote down the key! I called DriveSavers and was quoted between $500 and $2700. Ouch.

So I let it set for a few hours and booted off my LaCie. Sure enough, the IBM was back alive! So I unmounted the LaCie and plugged the laptop into my G4 tower. I rebooted the powerbook in target disk mode and proceeded to use Apple’s Backup app to back up 28 GB to 7 DVD-Rs. This took over 8 hours.

I then started a Carbon Copy Clone to the LaCie (now that I had a backup) I woke up Monday around noon and the copy had failed due to lack of disk space. ugh. So I looked around and found a hidden Trash folder that the Finder didn’t see. The trash had 8GB of data in it so I did a rm -rf on the trash and re-did the carbon copy clone of the drive.

I called IBM and they put me over to Hitachi who had bought the IBM disk division. They sent me to the web site to get an RMA. I tried that, but it told me I already had an RMA. I tried to look up the RMA from the serial number, but it could not be found! Turns out this is the RMA from last year. It was now too late to call Hitachi, so that had to wait until Tuesday.

So I then proceed to wipe my 48GB of all f the data three times to ensure it is clean.

Now it is tuesday and I am running off the LaCie since it has all of my data, and I hear a clunking sound. Clunk, Clunk, Clunk and OS X locks up. Sigh. I reboot, fsck kicks in, clunk, clink. My backup drive was now dying!

So I think “Screw this” and head to Frys. They had some Western Digital Special Edition 80s on sale for $90 after rebate, so I picked up two of those. I put one into the LaCie enclosure (since LaCie said the drive is dead and not worth repairing) and proceeded to use .Mac backup on the G4 to restore from my DVD-Rs.

Well crap, the restore failed. It could not find file “0-0-0-0-1.html” then 2, then 3, etc, etc, etc. Ok fine, my laptop is running, I’ll manually copy the files off the DVD-Rs as backup keeps the files in clear text. I copy “My Applications” over to the drive and try to open my excel spreadsheet that has my passwords on it. OS X tells me it cannot find Excel. Well ok maybe the Finder is hosed.

I open My Applications, then Microsoft Office. No applications! I start checking and none, none of my applications were backed up by Backup! Only documents! How lame is this? Nothing in the read me, the help file, the Backup application states that it only backs up documents. I was really pissed at some engineer. Ya know, if I drag a folder into your backup app, back it up, or at least give me a dialog alerting me that not everything will be backed up!

Well this sucked. I own all of my apps, but I had a ton of installers I had made that now apparently existed nowhere. I let everything set for awhile, then put the Quantum 60gb (the dead one) inside of the G4 itself and it booted!

Happy I had miracle number two for the week, I carbon copy cloned the 60gb to the new WD 80 and finally had a full backup. I then put the second 80 inside the G4 and backed up the 60gb a second time. Now I had two backups.

Once that was done, I put the original 20gb back into the powerbook and got it updated from 10.1.4 to 10.2.4. I then copied my apps and important documents to the laptop.

Now that Simeon has found iBeeZe for me that lets me tell my G4 to wake up at 3am, I am going to get my Onstream tapes back into rotation. If Dantz will support my Pioneer A-105 I’ll make a DVD-R backup as well. I think a firesafe is in order.

And for the files I have stored remotely, the password is now hard to guess but rememberable.

It just goes to show, you can’t ever have enough backups.


  1. Yup — that’s certainly techno-hell alright. Makes you want to go back to scratching on slate with a rock, huh? I feel that way sometimes myself.

    Hope you haven’t (permanently) lost too much of importance overall.

    Doing better otherwise? Drop me a line!

  2. Holy crap!!! What a nightmare!!! I’m glad you got it all back together. I’m still reeling at the horror of it all! heh I can’t imagine how you must have been feeling.

    Now about remembering passwords and phone numbers and not relying on technology to keep them safe for you… hehehe shakes finger at you and runs

    Seriously… I’m glad you came out of this ‘mostly’ unscathed.

Comments are closed.