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Going With The Flow Part 2

Going With The Flow- Part 2

This month’s article is simply about lessons learnt about having your C:drive wiped out by a nasty virus.

I thought I was being rather smart about protecting the contents of my computer. I have two drives – C: drive for applications and a physically separate drive – D: drive – for my data (documents, images, spreadsheets etc). I back up my D: data drive regularly and keep copies of the CD’s at different physical locations so that if anything happened to my computer or home then I could easily rebuild a new computer.

Well that logic works to a point. When I lost my C: drive to a virus (a family of them really) I didn’t loose any of my D: data drive files. But I lost a lot more than I thought I would.

For instance, all my email addresses and messages are lost. We were able to capture some files in recovery but each time I try to access one of these files I’m unable to open it because it is corrupted. So I can’t use them.

Now I’m backing up my emails to my D: drive so they are captured in my regular data backup burning to CD process. But I need to find out how to backup my email address book to my D: data drive too.

I lost my eBay Turbolister tool which I now realised wasn’t backed up at all (!!!). This means I’ve lost all of my listings. I have the description part made in Dreamweaver and fortunately those data files were saved in the D: drive but that is only part of a listing, I still need to recreate all the listings. Before I do that I need to reinstall Turbolister. So no eBay sales have been happening.

My tool for uploading files to the internet, eg. images of the jewellery, updating pages on the website etc, has been wiped and as I downloaded from the net when I bought it I didn’t think to back it up to a CD (derrr!) and all proof of purchase is gone with the emails! So now I’m hunting round for a solution. I’ve emailed my supplier but haven’t heard back from them but I think that could have something to do with my off again, on again email service (I’ve made a mistake somewhere in my email accounts). So now my website is out of date. That will have to be fixed in the coming week.

As for the wiping out of my operating system and the rest of my applications I very fortunately had all the CD’s for rebuilding a new machine so that wasn’t too bad. What I didn’t count on was the need to reinstall my printer drives. I had to download one printer drive from the net for my old chunky printer (old and not so pretty but a reliable workhorse) and once I had the modem working I was able find it and install it.

I just didn’t realise there was so much needed to do when completely rebuilding a machine. When I’ve updated my drives before it has been easier because we’ve been able to copy over features. The wipe out left nothing to copy over, everything had to be done from scratch.

So where was my anti-virus software? I had uninstalled it because the setup I’d been using had significantly interfered with the running of my business – with Turbolister, with my FTP tool and other key tools. As it had taken so much time to install a standard version and its pop-up messages so aggressive I got lazy and hadn’t invested the time to do the customised installation that was needed. So I spent the money on the software, installed it and had too many problems with it that I took it off and didn’t bother to do a custom reinstall and paid the price for it. What a twit!

I think the best overall solution would be to use the Ghost application to copy the C: drive as it takes a mirror copy (called a “mirror image”) of everything on the drive and when you need it you simply reinstall it. And to also have a friendly anti-virus tool installed.

This means all your applications and their associated files are copied and reinstalled over a new clean drive when you need it.

This makes the recovery process very quick and easy. Everything you had before at the time of the Ghosting goes straight back on. This does also include any problems that you had before. So I’d recommend taking a Ghost image when you are completely happy with your setup – scanned for viruses, applications all working properly, email happily churning over etc etc.

I’d still have my application and data drives kept separately on two physically different drives. That means having one drive for C: drive for applications and the operating system and a separate drive, D: drive for data files.

I’d also be better at documenting what applications are on the C: drive and where the install CD’s are physically located with their product key and install info (all kept together is the smart thing, I have learnt!).

I’ve also started to gather together a backup copy of application CD’s and info to go offsite (to my parents in other words) with my D: data drive backup CD’s. It is like keeping a copy of your insurance documents at a different location in case the worst happens and you need them to prove insurance to the insurance company.

Lessons Learnt:

* Be Organised!

* backup email messages and addresses to an area you regularly include in your backup process.

* backup applications to separate CD’s with their product and proof of purchase info.

* keep a separate set of backup CD’s at a different location with a document that explains how to setup your computer.

* make a list of key applications and their needs for running your business so you know where to start if you need to rebuild your computer, eg. I need internet access so therefore my modem needs to be installed. I need to be able to print so I need printer drives. I need to be able to email so I need my Outlook application working and to set up email accounts. You get the gist of it.

* Keep a documented record of your email account info like password, incoming and outgoing mail server details (very important if you don’t have any to copy from!), the phone numbers of your ISP and host server (I had mine in emails that were lost so I had to go to their websites to find them, that meant I had to have internet access first!).

* invest in backup systems like Ghost and a CD burner. If I didn’t have my burner I would have been in worse trouble. I’ll get Ghost so I’m in less trouble.

* take the time to install an anti-virus tool and keep it current.

Isn’t 20/20 hindsight vision wonderful? I’m still not recovered from all of this and in truth it will take a couple of months. I don’t even want to think what this has cost me in lost income, I’ve been frustrated enough by it all.

Do please learn from this, do put into action steps that will save you and your precious business trouble and money. You don’t need to go through this.

If I’d taken more care about protecting my C: drive like I have with my D: data drive I wouldn’t have had this very negative experience at such an important time of the year.

But being the positive Polly-Anna that I am I’m starting to see this as an opportunity to rebuild better and stronger.

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