Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery Hits Home19 Nov

On Friday night, I turned on my laptop and was unable to boot into Windows. Error messages got progressively worse with everything I tried and everything I found on Google led to a “you’re screwed…reload Windows” diagnosis. Considering that one of my early posts was about preparing for technology failure, I had a decent handle on getting everything restored. But now I have another thing to add to the plan:

Keep a LiveCD around and know how to use it. A LiveCD will allow you to boot up an OS (usually Linux) directly from the CD without needing to access the files on your hard drive. This means you can get access to your documents and save them off to a USB flash drive before reinstalling Windows.

The highlights from the rest of my disaster plan:

  • Most of my files were re-directed to save on my server. I never worried about losing anything critical.
  • I knew exactly which files I needed off the hard drive because they couldn’t be re-directed (mostly my Outlook pst, Access databases, and QuickBooks files).
  • I had a relatively recent list of all the software I needed along with all the license info.
  • I wish I had an automated PC setup process, but I work by myself so it’s hardly cost effective.
  • I had a “Do a backup” task on my Outlook calendar for every week, but I missed a couple recently. Now I’ve setup an external hard drive and scheduled those files to backup weekly.

If I had already had a LiveCD created prior to Saturday night, I could have been back up and running in a few hours. As it was, I spent more time getting a few files off my hard drive than I spent reloading everything.

Here’s the real kicker…not only did I reload my laptop, but I tempted fate and upgraded to Vista at the same time. How’d that go? Surprisingly well so far. I’ll give it a week and then post my thoughts.

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Granite Peak Systems, LLC
PO Box 80892
Billings, MT 59108
Tel: 406-672-8292
Email: trupsis@granitepeaksys.com


Since 2007, I have funded a Kiva account in recognition of my clients. Whenever I get a new client, or find a microloan that relates to the industries my clients serve, I contribute to the account. You can see my lender profile here: