Backup And Restore Procedures

April 10, 2015

Today’s exercise won’t ask you to write code. Let me tell you why.

I bought a new printer to replace my old printer that had failed. Both the salesman at Micro Center and the printer manufacturer’s sales rep, who was in the store that day, assured me that the printer would work with my Debian Linux system, and the manufacturer’s sales rep even gave me the web page where I could download the driver. I bought the printer, took it home, and installed the driver.

It didn’t work. My computer would no longer boot. I took computer and printer to the Knowledge Bar at Micro Center, but they don’t have sufficient Linux experience to figure out what’s wrong. After a few days, I resigned myself to re-installing the operating system.

That’s when I found out what had happened. At the point where the Linux installer asks you to specify the partition table, it told me that I had an invalid partition table and asked me to fix it, manually, before proceeding with the installation. Somehow, installing a printer driver corrupted the partition table. I won’t tell you the name of the printer manufacturer that was stupid enough to manage that trick, but it’s a big name that you would certainly recognize. Needless to say, I will be returning the printer and buying a different printer from a different manufacturer.

But before I do that, I have to fix my partition table, re-install my operating system, and restore my data from backups. As I write this on Thursday afternoon, I’m partway through that process, but I have already verified that I have a list of all installed software and that my file backup is readable.

Your task is to make sure that your backup and restore procedures are effective; if they aren’t, fix them. You should at least perform a single-file restore to demonstrate that your backup and restore procedure has at least a minimal chance of working when you need it. It looks like I will end up okay, but not without a lot of worry and a few choice words directed at a printer manufacturer that ought to know better.


3 Responses to “Backup And Restore Procedures”

  1. Francesco said

    Ouch! Thanks for sharing a life lesson (and good luck with finishing the restore procedure)!

  2. Doug said

    I won’t be surprised if it was a Hewlett Packard printer. *Never* buy HP printers any more – they are horrible.

  3. programmingpraxis said

    I’m nearly back in business. I restored all data without loss. All programs are re-installed except TeX/LaTeX; I don’t feel like facing a 41-page installation guide at the moment, and will save that for another day. I returned the printer that caused the problem to Micro Center and bought an Epson XP-410; it’s cheap, has a scanner, and can print card stock. It installed immediately on Linux, without downloading any drivers and without any problems.

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