Make Backups

You should backup all your data. I know that’s what I’m doing at this moment, after reading these stories of woe on engadget.

I was going to quote all of the horrible stories for you until I realized that it was almost 800 kilobytes of stories. 582 entries in total. A lot of folks apparently used the writing experience as catharsis.

So I’ll just give you a couple of the best ones and you can get the whole thing in this RAR archive.

Check below the cut…

46. Posted Feb 24, 2005, 3:44 PM ET by sbenson

I was working for the Government overseas. I work with foreigners who sometimes have cultural differences. I was working in Central Asia.
We had an Exchange Server that had been in use for many years (5.5) and had literally years worth of important e-mails on it. The quotas were so high that everyone had been using the public folders for storage as well.

Before I arrived, they had hired a new guy for a remote office who had all the certifications you could ever want. Being new, I had no idea that you could in many countries just pay at a sylvan center and they had ringers who would take the tests for you.

Over the weekend, We had a hardrive fail in the Raid 5 array, and as he was on duty, I sent him to repair the problem. I assumed he would merely remove the bad drive add a new one and rebuild the array.

Here’s what happened:
He removed the drive and being confused by what could be the problem was unsure what to do.
His Russian was excellent, his english almost non-existent. On the drive was a small hole, the english notice “Do not cover this hole” (it’s to keep air pressure regulated on a hot drive.)
As his previous job was at a factory that worked with some kind of farm equipment(unknown to us), he assumed it was a hole for oiling. English being a mystery to him, he naturally assumed it pointed to the oil port. He proceeded to drip oil in the hole and since the server was down, he decided a little proactive maintenance was in order and so made sure all the drives were properly lubed.

Long story short, server dead, backups defective, hot oil smell permeating the server room took weeks to die off. We worked for days to get a new server up and saved what little data we could.

I heard some American company took him as an H1B visa applicant due to his extensive certifications and flew him to the states.

Debre den

229. Posted Feb 24, 2005, 5:51 PM ET by Sauron

Mine was just a few months ago. I had tried ripping a DVD to my hard drive since my DVD drive is slow and inefficient. However, something went wrong, I don’t exactly remember what, but it wasn’t good. I was left with a crap folder of crap files and partial files, so I decided to get rid of it. I decided to get rid of it completely. I didn’t send it to recycle bin, I didn’t even shift-delete to bypass the recycle bin. I used Eraser, 35 passes, to get rid of. It took me about an hour to realize that I had started to Erase the wrong directory. Bye bye to a lot of my files — permanently. Not even expensive programs can recover that.

164. Posted Feb 24, 2005, 3:58 PM ET by Christopher Hughes

My data disaster is quite possibly the worst experience that has ever happened in my entire life.

I was about 17 and was interning at a “new-media” internet company.

Wanting to get in on the “ground floor”, I took the position of being “head-IT-bitch” and was tasked with the all the drudgeries that befall young starters.

Mostly, I was tasked with easy tasks; setting up email accounts for our customers, removing porn and spyware from our account staff, and my favorite; bringing coffee to people.

One day the IT team was asked to put together a special purpose server for a small music label that we worked with. The IT director (Mark) was swamped with personal issues (I think his wife was preggers) and the rest of the gang had their plate full of stuff to do. Mark asked me to put together the machine, install the software image, and email the login details to the client.

Simple enough I thought to myself. It was an 1.4 Ghz Athlon server with a gig of ram and an 80 GB Raid Array. Both the build and software install went fine, and once done I went to the server cage, put it in the rack (down at the bottom), email’d the client and went home.

35 min bus ride later, I get home and my folks tell me that my office called and that I need to call them back as soon as possible.

I did and once I found out what happened I wanted to go drown myself.

The case fan failed, and as we all know the Athlons get hotter then a 2 dollar Chinese pistol. In my haste I forgot to remove a paper sticker on the bottom of the proc that contained a price or something on it. That set the mobo a-blaze and started a fire in the case. It quickly spread inside and somehow ignited the bezels on the other servers. Needless to say the fire spread to the entire rack and then the Fire control sprinkler finally knocked the fire down.

SO what happened?
Around 130,000 dollars in hardware damage, some totally unrecoverable data, and a boatload of downtime for our clients.

Oddly enough I was allowed to keep my job and as a souvenir I still have the processor at home. A constant reminder to check the hardware before it goes in the rack, and that no matter what the smallest thing can totally ruin a day. I worked there for about 2 more years and still keep in touch with the gang.

Hope you like my story,

306. Posted Feb 24, 2005, 10:43 PM ET by steve

In high school, I took a philosphy class with a very progressive teacher. The first day of class, she said that anyone who wanted to skip the semester’s tests and homework could come up with their own independent study. I decided to do a self exploration through the written word. The idea was that every night throughout the semester, I would sit down at my trust 286 and write everything that came to mind for about half an hour. I thought that I could learn quite a bit about myself that way, after all stream of thought writing can often tap directly into the subconscious. Sounded like a great idea at the time. No tests, no quizes, no homework, all I had to do was type my thoughts for a half hour each night. Sounds simple enough to keep up, right?

Sheeya right. Not for an ADD high school student.

What actually happened was that I did a few ‘journal’ entries that first week. Then I completely blew it off for an entire semester. Every so often, my teacher would ask me how things were going and I would reassure her, “It’s going great! Fascinating stuff. You’ll really enjoy reading it.” Meanwhile, I’m blowing off all the other assignments. It really doesn’t even occur to me that I’m digging a deeper and deeper hole for myself.

The day of reckoning snuck up on me, like it always does when you’re working hard at procrastinating. The night before my self-exploration was due, I was in a situation where I had to type up around 70 different stream of thought entries, each long enough to convince a teacher that they took around a half hour to write. I’m a quick thinker, and a really fast typist, but I knew that it was going to be a VERY long night. I had no idea just how long it was going to be though!

I went home after school and got started right away. At first it wasn’t too difficult. The pages almost typed themselves. As the hours went by though, it became tougher and tougher to come up with new topics that would convincingly sound like they weren’t all being typed in a row. I remember that it was the night that Guns N Roses’ Use Your Illusion albums were released and a radio station was playing both of them in their entirety. It made for some great background music and helped keep me going.

Hour after hour, I kept typing away. As I neared the 10 hour mark I found myself pretty darn close to the number of entries that I had to turn in. It was a challenge coming up with anything new to type, especially anything that would sound even remotely realistic. However, the finish line was in site. I only had to type a few more entries and I’d be completely done. I’d be able to get a few hours of sleep and then head over to school to turn it in. I was already planning on ditching the rest of the day to go home and go back to sleep.

All of a sudden, the basement went dark. Real dark. The radio went off, lights were out and obviously the computer was obviously off. It didn’t really sink in at first. I starting thinking to myself, “Well I have enough entries already, she’ll forgive me if I’m short a few.” Then I realized that I hadn’t saved in quite a while. After a minute, I started feeling a little sick. I was having quite a bit of trouble remembering when I had actually saved last. You see, for some reason I couldn’t quite remember what I had named the file. It suddenly occured to me that I had typed for almost 10 hours and hadn’t saved the file once. I sat down on the floor, stunned. I sat there for quite a long time.

The power stayed off for the next few hours. When it finally came back on, I booted up the computer and as I suspected I had nothing to show for my night’s labors. Unfortunately, I had no choice but to crawl to school and let my teacher know that I had absolutely nothing to show for my semester long independent study.

After I spilled my guts to her, she was very understanding. She told me that she had actually suspected that I wasn’t doing it, but thought it would be a better life lesson if she just let me deal with it and learn from it. She did make me take the final and after I got an “A” on it, she generously gave me a “C” for the class. To say that I learned my lesson would be be the understatement of the century!

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