I have a whole number of posts and articles and campaign stickers about backups. It doesn’t take much to get me up on a soapbox in the middle of the town square, declaiming in iambic pentameter the virtues of a known good backup, and the evils of stale or non-existent ones. So, as I was coming back from saving the day again (why is there never a phone booth around anymore?) when I got a blast from the past. Or at least a phone call about it.
I used to do some system integration work in the old days. So I got a call about a machine that I had done the controls on. Was actually a system that I was quite proud of, it had a custom C coded front end, some specific communication DLL links and a large part storage file system. Was positively cutting edge FOR 1997. Haven’t seen or heard of it since…until now. The PC (Running WinNT) hard drive finally gave up the ghost, and there is no backup available on site. So they called me. Do I remember it? Sure. Did I make a backup? Absolutely, burned it onto a DVD and put one in the cabinet of the machine, a full Norton Ghost image. Only problem is that the DVD isn’t there anymore (color me shocked) and there is no other backup. Did I keep one? Yes, for about 15 years or so. So I start digging. I actually find the original programs and C compiled program, but trying to put that all back together for this company is going to cost a staggering amount. More than the machine is worth, I would bet. I believe my initial recommendation is going to be for them to send the HD out for reconstruction. At a couple of K, it will be cheaper than paying me T&M to relearn what my 1997 self knew intuitively.
Oh, and make a backup.