WHY YOU MUST TEST YOUR BACKUPS…

I began 2017 with a pair of columns reminding users that their hard drives are going to fail—absolutely and positively—and that the question isn’t if they’re going to fail, it’s when they’re going to fail. And, I urged them to back up their data or risk losing it forever. If you haven’t seen the columns already, you really should; you can  find them here:  

Resolve to Back Up Your Mac in 2017 (Dec 28, 2016 ) & Backups on a Budget (Jan 04, 2017).

Go ahead; I’ll wait…

And now, here’s the thrilling conclusion (at least for now): 

My Time Capsule is Headed for the Trash Heap!

I started getting this error message occasionally a few  years ago… But I saw it frequently enough last year that I reformatted my Time Capsule drive and started from scratch, hoping that would fix things. 

Time Capsule f%#$ks me yet again...

It did not. Last week I saw this disappointing error message for the third and final time since reformatting… Now, I’ve lost my trust in the Time Capsule and its hard drive so it’s headed to the scrap heap RealSoonNow™.

As you may recall, one of the things I stressed in those two columns was that you absolutely, positively must test your backups by occasionally restoring some or all of their files. Remember:  A backup you can’t restore from isn’t a backup at all.  

Frankly, this was no big deal to me—my other nickname is Dr. Redundant. That Time Capsule backup disk was one of three local backups I maintain, along with a cloud-based backup (using Backblaze), and two sets of clones (I use Carbon Copy Cloner and ChronoSync): one stored locally; the second stored at my bank in a safe deposit box.

The point is, had the Time Capsule been the only backup I had, I’d have no backup at all today!

So make a backup plan and test it relentlessly. Just do it. Please.

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About the Author

Bob Levitus

Bob LeVitus, often referred to as “Dr. Mac,” is a well-known authority on all things Macintosh, OS X, and Apple devices including the iPad and iPhone. One of the Apple community’s most trusted advisors for almost thirty years, he’s known for his trademark humorous style and unerring ability to translate “techie” jargon into usable and fun advice for regular folks. He's written more than 80 books including macOS Sierra For Dummies, iPhone For Dummies, and iPad For Dummies. And, for the past 20 years, he's written the Dr. Mac column for the Houston Chronicle (which he still does). He's also been writing for The Mac Observer for almost as long (he still does that, too). Bob has been published in more than a dozen computer magazines over the past thirty years including: a three-year stint as Editor-in-Chief of the irreverent and unpredictable MACazine and four different columns in MacUser magazine: Beating the System, Personal Best, Game Room, and the Help Folder (with Andy Ihnatko, and later, Chris Breen). Though best known for writing, he’s also dabbled in broadcasting with a radio show (Inside Mac Radio, CNET Radio, 2001-2002) and hosted a popular television series (Mac Today, Syndicated, 1992–1993). Another of Bob’s loves is teaching, which he's been doing at University of Texas Informal Classes for over a decade, with well-loved courses including, iPhone for Smart People, Making Music with GarageBand, and soon, Working Smarter for Mac Users. Always in-demand as a speaker, Bob has presented more than 200 seminars, workshops, conferences, and training sessions in the U.S. and abroad, and given Macworld Expo keynotes in three countries, He's also done presentations at countless Apple Stores, and at least three world-famous Geek Cruises. Last but not least, Bob won the Macworld Expo MacJeopardy World Championship three times before retiring his crown. He did not, however, return the Rocket J. Squirrel Memorial Cup, which is still displayed prominently in his office. Prior to giving in to his obsessions with Apple technology and productivity, Bob worked in advertising, producing television commercials, radio spots, and print ads for Kresser & Robbins and SelecTV, in Los Angeles. Bob holds a B.S. in Marketing from California State University and lives in beautiful (and over-crowded) Austin, Texas with his beautiful wife, Lisa, and Zeke the Wonder Vizsla, with occasional visits from now-adult children Allison and Jacob.