The most important step when doing any backup is testing it. Without testing your backup you may encounter nasty surprises.
Nasty surprise #1: Your backup may be incomplete
Backup software often makes you follow â€œwizardsâ€ or guided tours to set up your backup. But what is a â€œSystem Backup,â€ â€œPartition Backupâ€, â€œFile Backupâ€, â€œDisk Backupâ€. Does your backup software even mention what kind of backup you are about to setup?
If you bought one of those USB external drives, then most likely the software it comes with only sets up a File Backup. That means the system and programs are not being backed up.
Nasty surprise #2: You donâ€™t know how to restore your data after your hardware fails
So you set up a system backup, select all partitions, set up a schedule, run your first full backup, and then you call it a day. Oh boy.
You are going to test that backup before disaster strikes right?
A few years later when disaster strikes and you never got around to testing your backup…
You look smug knowing you have a backup. No need to panic… wait how do I restore my data? What software did I use? I think it wasâ€¦ Here it is? What, I have to create a recovery USB, how do I… ? *Reads support documentation. OK, I got it.
Bootingâ€¦ â€œCannot recover. Virtual Drive not found. Cryptic Error Code $#125500.â€ *Heart sinks to the bottom of the Mariana trench.
Nasty surprise #3: Your last backup is several weeks, months, or years old
Get in the habit of periodically testing your backup. Just because a backup is set to run on a schedule it does not mean it will.
The software can run into an error. Your backup hard drive may run out of space. And so many other things.
There are many scenarios with nasty surprises. The best thing to do is to test the backup by pretending your hard drive has failed and try to restore your data.
This is a great way to test your assumptions about the kind of backup you have. The more you test, the more confidence youâ€™ll have in the backup system.
So why donâ€™t you start with a list of software you should back up and test!
- Bookkeeping software
- CRM software
- Operating System
What would happen if you lost any of this data?