I used to be very thorough with my back-ups, sometimes spending one hour inserting each of the thirty floppy disks to archive my whole hard drive. Of course, such an exercise is pointless these days, where the only way you could realistically do a full hard drive back-up would be with another hard drive.
I tend to do selective back-ups now. I have a few directories that contain unique information (Web site, MP3, calendar, address book, etc…) and once in a while, I burn these on a CD or I just replicate them on another machine (home, work, laptop, etc…).
This strategy has worked pretty well so far. Until recently. The interesting thing is that the unfortunate event was not a disk crash (which hasn’t happened to me since pretty much my Amiga days in the early nineties) but from myself. While I was cleaning up my registry (manually), I stupidly deleted one key too many.
It’s scary to see how deleting a single registry key can wipe out an entire profile out of existence. Pretty much all my Outlook information (address book, contacts, calendar, etc…) was wiped in less than a second. And that’s just the beginning.
It took about one full day for my machine to become functional again, and the selective back-up trick worked very decently. Except for one tiny detail.
One of my hobbies is to read German books and write summaries for them. These books are often scanned and I once needed a more automatic way to clean up the output of the OCR. So I wrote a Word VBScript macro to make my life easier. This is probably the only time in my life I have ever written VBScript, and while it turned out relatively painless, my absolute lack of knowledge of the syntax and libraries made the task take longer than I expected. Yesterday, I tried to apply my macro and realized that it wasn’t there any more.
Selective back-ups work fine as long as you know what to back up. But Word VBScript macros? I wouldn’t even know where to start to look for them.
Then I remembered that a few years ago, I had sent that macro to a mailing-list. I sent a call for help and a few hours later, I received my macro from a list member.
Who needs back-ups these days? The Internet is my back-up.