An All Too Human Error Recovered From With Acronis True Image
Who are you? William (Bill) van de Water. I am 71 years old, and a retired accountant living in Adelaide, South Australia.
What did you do before you retired? The latter part of my career, 25 years or so, working for three different employers and using enterprise financial systems, involved systems administration. And whilst I would not describe myself as an IT specialist I learned a lot about large scale computer networks and PCs. I also learned the importance of backups, having been present when network failures necessitated the restoration of various parts of the production environment.
I carried the lessons learned in my employment over to retirement. I spend my time volunteering for three different charities. I am the treasurer for these organizations, and rely on a reliable computer environment to perform these functions.
What is your backup history? At first I used native Windows backup, and I then misapplied Nero CD burning technology to attempt some backups. A friend told me about Acronis True Image. I loved its automated backup facilities. And I’m very satisfied with its performance.
I also learned the importance of backups, having been present when network failures necessitated the restoration of various parts of the production environment.
We heard you recently had a problem? As a result of a prolonged internet outage I decided to try connecting via Wi-Fi instead of my normal wired connection to the router. My desktop PC does not have built-in wireless capability. But I have an old Realtek Wi-Fi dongle that I installed. It didn’t seem to work – for reasons that escape me.
I gave up trying to connect the PC via wireless, so I uninstalled the dongle. However, there still seemed to be some problems with the computer, which I thought was due to an incomplete uninstall (which happens sometimes, as we all know). This is where my troubles began in earnest.
I looked for and deleted all instances of the Realtek software files on my C:\ drive. Some of them were protected, so I used administrator privileges to force their deletion. I also deleted them from the recycle bin. Then I used regedit.exe to delete all keys and instances of Realtek from the registry. The PC seemed to work fine after that. “Done!” I thought.
No so easy. After the internet came back up I could not connect my PC via the Ethernet cable anymore! My broadband router was indeed still active and supplied a connection to my Wi-Fi devices (laptop, iPhones, smart TV, etc). To my horror, the Control Panel and Device Manager reported they could not find a network adaptor. I discovered that my PC’s Ethernet adaptor is a Realtek — and I had deleted all its software! What to do? Panic!
Every Tuesday night I attend rehearsals of a men’s choir I am a member of. I use that weekly opportunity to let Acronis True Image perform various backups to an external USB hard drive
How did you solve this? Several swear words (and a few beers) later I remembered my Acronis True Image backups. Every Tuesday night I attend rehearsals of the The Adelaider Liedertafel 1858 men’s choir. I use that weekly opportunity to let Acronis True Image perform various backups to an external USB hard drive, the last of which is a full image disk backup followed by an automatic shutdown. I decided to use it.
I must confess that I wasn’t 100% confident that restoration from a full image backup would work. I remembered that during my employment we had many problems restoring from backups. But I sat down, said a silent prayer, and set Acronis True Image to its recovery work. It took slightly over an hour, but it worked! I rebooted the PC (and had another small heart attack when it went into the “Blue Screen of Death”). After another reboot the PC came up, connected to the internet -- and I started dancing around the office!
The Adelaider Liedertafel 1858 Choir. Source: http://www.alt1858.org/
How much time each week do you spend on backup? Generally, the backups run unattended and run well. I set them to wake the PC from “sleep” if I’m not home. Each backup sends me an email to report on its success (or otherwise). In fact, I get these emails on my iPhone while I’m at choir practice. Ain’t technology wonderful? Aside from that I don’t have to do anything!
Sometimes a backup will fail, in which case I check it the next day. The reasons are usually associated with a missing flash drive, or similar problem I introduced. But problems are rare.
What lessons did you learn from this experience? The lessons I’ve learned from this exercise are:
- Always, always, always backup!
- Whenever you have system problems never “fire from the hip” to solve them. Do your research first.
- Buy a reliable full image backup system, preferably one that automates the process so you can basically forget about it.
How do you to convince other people to back up regularly? With great difficulty. Because of my systems background I find myself in demand from friends and relatives who have computer problems. In almost every instance, when I ask them if they backup their computers I’m met with a mystified look, as if I’ve asked them the question in Swahili. People who come to computing later in life just don’t comprehend how systems work, and consequently have no comprehension about what can happen when they don’t work.
In fact, I get these emails on my iPhone while I’m at choir practice. Ain’t technology wonderful? Aside from that I don’t have to do anything.
The things I always tell people are along the lines of: “Back up. Buy good software such as Acronis. Use it, and if you need help I will help you. But if you don’t use it, and you lose information from your computer, don’t come to me for help because you’ll be beyond help.”