7. Data Backup and System Recovery

7.1. Introduction

It is lamentable that many computer users have an unerring faith in computer storage media. There are regular instances of people entrusting their only copy of a thesis or dissertation to single floppy disk. The simple fact exists that all forms of magnetic media degrade over time and will ultimately fail. There is far less certainty as to when a disk will fail or what the consequences might be. In any event the advice remains the same: Save your copies of your work REGULARLY and NOT to the same storage device.

Backup frequency will depend upon how much data you have and how regularly it changes. As a guideline, if you couldn't bear to loose something, it's time to make a copy! Choosing an alternative backup location is eminently sensible or your backup will suffer the same demise as the original. Various schemes for backing up your data are listed below.

7.2. Automated Backups using the Hierarchical File Server (HFS)

The Hierarchical File Server provides large scale file store and backup services to the University community. The service is managed and operated by Oxford University Computing Services and runs the TSM software from IBM. Consider using this service if you have a direct connection to the university network and require weekly scheduled backups. Daily backup schedules can be arranged for critical network servers where appropriate.

7.3. Disk and Partition Cloning Software

Create a snapshot of your entire hard disk or the partitions it contains. The resulting image file can be saved on CD, ZIP disk, tape, a USB Flash Memory (Pen) drive or a network file server for rapid disaster recovery.

7.4. Archiving to Removable Media

Utilising cheap, high capacity storage devices for data backup and system recovery.

7.5. Creating an Emergency Repair Disk

Windows 95, 98 and NT allow you to make an emergency repair floppy disk containing a snapshot of important system files. This repair disk can be used to recover the operating system later should it fail to start or become corrupted through disk failure or mis-configuration.

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