When backups save you…

I’ve been very good for a while now at making sure to backup my computer every Sunday. In fact, I think I’ve only forgotten once, and I backed up on Monday that week.

And this week, those backups saved me. I’ve been doing a fair amount of coding recently. However, late last week, my supervisor and I decided on a pretty large change to the underlying architecture of a large part of the code base. A large refactor, that I knew was going to be a bit of a struggle to implement. On Monday, I finally had time to start working on the changes.

By Monday around 2pm, I knew everything was broken. By 4pm, I was starting to worry about how to put it back together. By 10pm, I knew I needed to somehow get back to the code I had that morning. Back when things were working, before I started making changes. However, I was stressed, needed to get up early the next morning, and so gave up for the night.

As I lay in bed that night, I decided I would look at Time Machine in the morning. I knew you could restore your entire computer from Time Machine (as I did that last December). Tuesday morning I learned you could restore a single file if you want to. And, if the location it will restore to (it’s original location) still contains a copy of that file, you can choose to keep both – the original and the restored one, which gets appended by “(original)” at the end.

By noon on Tuesday, I had figured out where things were going wrong in my refactor, and had finally started making progress. I probably would have had the whole refactor pretty much done by the end of Tuesday, except I had meetings all afternoon, and plans that consumed almost the entire evening. So today, the goal is to finish it off, so I can finally start moving forward again.

So while the last couple of days have been very stressful, I did learn a few things. I now know what Time Machine can do a single file restore, and I now know way more about the programming language, coding environment, and how my work is all going to come together. Neither of these are bad things to know. And, likely, both of these will help me in the future. 

But for now, I will continue to faithfully back up my computer once week (minimum) knowing that little effort to do so is worth its weight in gold.

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2 thoughts on “When backups save you…

  1. I keep all of my backups on an SVN repository held by my Linux User Group’s server, so rollback is built-in and there’s no worries about running out of space or somebody pulling the plug. Because it’s in SVN, various copies of my work are distributed across the numerous machines I have.

    Now if I could just get in the habit of writing decent commit messages, then maybe I could understand what I’ve changed from revision to revision. :3

    • Nice. 🙂 I should set up a SVN/GIT something or other for some stuff sometime. I just have never got around to it. And my current programming work (some video game stuff) is using a programming tool that doesn’t play nicely with version control. No simple text files. 😦

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