Are You Prepared For A Computer Crash?

Jim Luff
Posted on July 6, 2011

A birthday celebration is marred by a computer disaster.
Friday morning, June 24: I was very excited about the day knowing that there were surprises planned for the day in celebration of my birthday. I don’t think I knew just how big the surprises would be. The biggest excitement was a birthday lunch at an undisclosed location with undisclosed guests. Someone made the mistake a day earlier of letting me know they would see me at my birthday lunch the next day. Oops!

At 10:30am, the power suddenly goes out! I don’t think this was part of the surprise.  The office staff takes their office chairs out to the parking lot as we sit and wait for power to be restored. On a side note, we killed the time by having office chair races.  This was really fun. Next, we decided to go to the local mall and shop.

We returned to the office about noon and found the power was back on. We were surprised to find that our computers were not back online. I rebooted the server and received a message that said a file was missing or corrupted and needed to be replaced. Being a freak about data disasters, I wasn’t overly concerned. I called our computer tech to come in and fix the problem.

Inside our server are two “mirror drives” so everything is duplicated onto another driver. If one fails, we are good to go by putting the other drive in another computer. Or, so I thought. The tech tells me that the mirror drive quit working sometime around March of last year and the main drive was having a problem, although he restored the missing file.

I am still confident that our data is reasonably safe as I subscribe to I-Drive, an online cloud computing service that backs up our computer nightly. Or, so I thought.

The tech had to take the computer with him. We ended up buying a new server and installing one of the two mirror drives in it. All of our Quickbooks payroll data was gone.  All of our FastTrak reservations data was gone. The i-Drive backup system was not properly set up and did not have the needed files backed up. It was a disaster of the worst kind.

We began reconstructing our orders for the next few days using emails, paper notes, tickets printed in advance, and our automated phone system that informs our drivers of their assignments for the next seven days. We knew the hours they were assigned but not all jobs. Gradually we rebuilt our data one day at a time for four days. I was thankful to Brian at FASTTRAK Livery Systems who worked with our tech over the weekend and reinstalled our software. The tech eventually retrieved all the FASTTRAK data and by Monday at noon we were back to normal on reservations.
We had to send our old drive to Oklahoma and pay $1,500 for a data recovery firm to get our Quikbooks information back. This was clearly a bad way to find out that none of our backup systems were working.

-- Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor

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Jim Luff Contributing Editor
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