Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
26 August 2004

Remember my hard disk crashed? Well, I’ve been kicking myself ever since for a stupid thing I did early on in the recovery process. I managed to boot from my backup disk and found I could access the original. ‘Great!’ I said to myself, ‘I’d better copy across all my most valuable files quickly in case the disk stops being accessable again!’ Did I copy them into new directories? Nooo… I copied them over the earlier backup files. Well the files looked fine and I did check some of them before copying. But it turned out several of the email folders I hadn’t checked were in fact corrupted. And even when the mailboxes looked fine (the ‘overview’ showed the right names and subject lines) the contents were corrupted as well. Ten years of email gone!

So remember if you get files back from a disk that has been giving you trouble, make sure to preserve your old backup files just in case!

P.S. In the wake of this catastrophe I was thinking of moving my emailing to my gmail account but gmail still doesn’t support basic things like email groups so I guess I’ll have to hope that the hard disk doctors I gave my disk to can get the files off.
P.P.S. And yes, it is a little embarrassing that I wrote a book about good email practice but managed nonetheless to mess up!

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