You would think that after I got the Acer easyStore Home Server, my files are at least safe. Well, they are from a hardware point of view, but not from stupidity point of view.
Yesterday, I realized I lost a lot of files: 7 years worth of photos. The Acer easyStore Home Server did not fail me. I did. So here is what happened.
Every time after coming back from taking photos, I plug in the media card into the card reader connected to my iMac, Image Capture automatically copies all the photos into a folder on my desktop. Then Hazel automatically organizes the photos into a folder structure for me. Hazel looks at the file type (JPG, CR2 or AVI), separates them into 3 main media type folders, then within each media type folders, Hazel further organizes the photos into “year > month > day” folder structure. So I have a nice tree structure to manage my media.
This same file structure is also set up on the file share on my Home Server. The idea is that when I copy my JPG folder from my iMac to the Home Server’s file share location, I will have the new photos appended to my file share. Then I can delete the photos on my iMac so that I don’t have to keep duplicated files.
A few nights ago, I was up late finishing some financial calculation for myself. At the end of the night, I thought I should at least back up my photos to the Home Server before turning off my iMac. I was quite sleepy at the time and when I dragged and dropped the folder over to the file share, OSX prompted me to click on something. I thought I read what it was and clicked a button, the file copying started. A few minutes later it was done and I was off to bed.
Last night, I found out what happened and I could not believe it. OSX replaced my JPG folder in the file share with the JPG folder from my iMac instead of appending to it. And when I found out in disbelieve that my JPG folder in the file share only contains 2009 > 08 > 22 to 2009 > 08 > 25, I was almost going to drink a lot of liquor to sleep off the bad dream.
Today, I scrambled to try to find a solution. Looked over some undelete programs and try to see if any can salvage deleted files on my Home Server’s file share. So I found WinUndelete. They have a version that you can run directly off a USB key so that you don’t have to install it to your drive and having your deleted files potentially overwritten. One problem is that WinUndelete cannot recognize file share UNC paths. However, in Home Server, you can access your files under the D: location. So I let WinUndelete scan D: for JPG files and it found the folders that I accidentally deleted.
But where can I restore these files to? I cannot restore them back to D: as it could overwrite the files that have not yet been recovered. Well, quickest solution is get another hard drive. So I got a 1.5TB Western Digital Caviar Green drive for restoring photos. I added it to my Home Server’s empty slot but did not add it to the pool of Home Server storage. Instead I formatted it and assigned it to E: so that I can use it like a normal drive for WinUndelete to restore deleted files to.
After the recovery, I salvaged 22GB of AVIs (364 files), 7GB of CR2’s (353 files) and 240GB of JPGs (107,000 files). The only files I couldn’t retrieve was the files in July and August 2009. I have no idea why those did not work but my wife has a good copy of them in her notebook. (I am glad I upgraded her hard drive to a much bigger drive.)
Now it is time to think about online backup strategy. I read Scott Hanselman’s online backup article a couple years ago but I never did anything about it. Do any of you have an online backup strategy?