February 9, 2021 by Michael Diez
The most important step when doing any backup is testing it. Without testing your backup you may encounter nasty surprises.
Backup software often makes you follow “wizards” or guided tours to set up your backup. But what is a “System Backup,” “Partition Backup”, “File Backup”, “Disk Backup”. 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.
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 was… Here it is? What, I have to create a recovery USB, how do I... ? *Reads support documentation. OK, I got it.
Booting… “Cannot recover. Virtual Drive not found. Cryptic Error Code $#125500.” *Heart sinks to the bottom of the Mariana trench.
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 you’ll have in the backup system.
So why don’t you start with a list of software you should back up and test!
What would happen if you lost any of this data?