backup

Discussions around the setup, operation, replacement, and disposal of clerk computers, not to include using MLS
farwest
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backup

Postby farwest » Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:36 am

After talking with one of our stake auditors who is also a ward asst. clerk said that his ward computer was backing up to C: instead of the floppy disk. After doing audits he has found out that other ward comptuters are doing the same. How do you get the computer to recognize the drive where you want it to backup and do it automatically. It used to do it all the time but for some reason the computers within the stake quit backing up to the correct drive.

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:45 am

farwest wrote:After talking with one of our stake auditors who is also a ward asst. clerk said that his ward computer was backing up to C: instead of the floppy disk. After doing audits he has found out that other ward comptuters are doing the same. How do you get the computer to recognize the drive where you want it to backup and do it automatically. It used to do it all the time but for some reason the computers within the stake quit backing up to the correct drive.


MLS remembers the last place you backed up to and will try to back up there again the next time you back up. If the previous remembered location is not valid (or the first time you run MLS), it will default to c:\mlsData-Backup.

When you use removable media such as flash drives for backup, it's important that you do things in the right order. You should insert the flash drive and make sure the system has recognized it and created the new drive letter before you begin the MLS backup sequence. By doing it this way, MLS will remember that you backed up to F:\, or G:\backup, or whatever the flash drive folder is that you backed up to last, and you will make consistent backups.

On the other hand, if you start the backup sequence before you insert the flash drive, the MLS dialog that selects the backup location won't be able to find the location, so it will default to c:\mlsData-Backup. Even if you then insert the flash drive, it won't be straightforward to pick the right location, so if people aren't paying attention, they might well backup to the C: drive. Then for the next backup, that C: drive location will be remembered and be the default.

So the moral of the story is: insert the flash drive before you begin the backup, and make sure you are backing up to the flash drive.

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Postby russellhltn » Mon Mar 09, 2009 10:54 am

Alan_Brown wrote:So the moral of the story is: insert the flash drive before you begin the backup, and make sure you are backing up to the flash drive.


I will add that you should insert the flash drive into the same USB port. Plugging it into a different port may cause it to be a different drive letter.
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Postby RossEvans » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:02 am

In our ward we are thinking about a two-stage backup process:

  1. Back up MLS to a folder on the C: drive.
  2. Copy the contents of that folder to a flash drive before shutting down the computer.
That way, when MLS forces a backup, such as during a log-off or exit, you can just go ahead and backup to C: without juggling flash drives. (Often the USB connector on the Dell front panel is occupied at that moment with some other flash drive, for example.)

I talked to our stake STS about the two-stage backup procedure, and he thinks it would be fine.

If we ever have to do a restore because of some application-level problem in MLS, having the backup immediately available on C: would also be handy. The primary purpose of the external media is to protect against a catastrophic hard disk failure. To protect against a site-level disaster, such as fire in the clerk's office, keeping an off-site copy of the files might also be advisable. We do not do that now, but I have noticed that some other units do.

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Postby russellhltn » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:08 am

If you are running Desktop 5.5, you should be doing the backup to the D drive. In the event of a Restore from the Desktop menu, the C drive will be wiped out but the D drive will remain untouched.

To help with this, I created a folder "DO NOT BACKUP HERE - SAVE TO D DRIVE" in the C:\mlsbackup folder. I also include a shortcut to the D drive. So this will appear in MLS if the backup should revert to the default location.
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RossEvans
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Postby RossEvans » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:15 am

RussellHltn wrote:If you are running Desktop 5.5, you should be doing the backup to the D drive. In the event of a Restore from the Desktop menu, the C drive will be wiped out but the D drive will remain untouched.


Thanks for that advice.

Is the D: drive a separate physical drive, or just a logical drive? A separate physical drive would seem ideal, but more expensive. (Still cheaper than RAID, though)

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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:16 am

boomerbubba wrote:To protect against a site-level disaster, such as fire in the clerk's office, keeping an off-site copy of the files might also be advisable. We do not do that now, but I have noticed that some other units do.


Other units probably make an offsite backup because that is Church policy, so I would recommend that you consider adopting this practice. See these threads for additional information, including Handbook references:


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aebrown
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Postby aebrown » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:19 am

boomerbubba wrote:Is the D: drive a separate physical drive, or just a logical drive? A separate physical drive would seem ideal, but more expensive. (Still cheaper than RAID, though)


The standard Desktop 5.5 configuration used for administrative computers is one physical drive with C: and D: partitions.

Several potential hard disk problems would affect the D: drive along with the C: drive, although there are some problems that might only affect the C: and leave the D: intact.

So I wouldn't put too much confidence in the practice of backing up to the D: drive if it is on the same physical disk. That's a convenient way to make easily accessible backups, but it does not defend against all hard drive problems. Make those backups on removable media, and take some of those backups offsite, and you should be protected against almost any potential problem.

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Postby russellhltn » Mon Mar 09, 2009 11:30 am

Alan_Brown wrote:So I wouldn't put too much confidence in the practice of backing up to the D: drive if it is on the same physical disk.


Correct. I wasn't advocating to saving to the D drive in place of the flash drive. Just that if one is running Desktop 5.5, any backups that are made to the local hard drive should be made to D, not C.
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Postby jdlessley » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:15 pm

RussellHltn wrote:I will add that you should insert the flash drive into the same USB port. Plugging it into a different port may cause it to be a different drive letter.
In Windows, USB devices are assigned drive designations by dynamic drive assignment. What you describe is actually caused by the number and order of USB devices connected to the system and not the physical location. The change in drive letter probably occured because another USB device was plugged into the system before the thumb drive being used for backup was plugged in.

So the caution here is that if multiple USB devices, such as more than one thumb drive, is in use to make sure the proper USB storage device is selected for the backup. This can be tricky when more than one thumb drive is connected to the system and you do not remember the order in which you connected them. One method I use to solve this is to provide a name for each thumb drive. For example the MLS backup thumb drive is named MLS_backup. Then you can see the name of the device instead of just the drive designation.
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