Many users don't test their backups. This is because they
don't take the time or they don't know the steps to take.
This means that there is a risk that the restoration
of their system will not work nor can they be sure that they
are able to retrieve individual files.
You should use a backup program which gives you a full report
with verification which highlights possible errors when
the backup is completed.
If the backup is taken from a server, then the backup
administrator should get an email backup error report.
To test the backup, try to recover some of the files from
In case the backup is spanning over several consecutive CD's,
DVD's or tapes then examine some files by restoring them
from the last tape or CD.
"Spanning" by the way, is the term used to describe backup
that canít be stored on one CD or tape but has to be divided and
stored on more than one.
Special consideration must be given to open databases.
Many data backup products are not able to backup open databases.
If that is the case you have to look for special backup solutions.
Tragically many users who donít test their backups find
that data canít be recreated from their backups.
This even despite that backups have been made and
everything seems to be OK. Tapes may be bad or the setup
parameters are set wrong.
This is especially true if the backup is made with Ntbackup,
the standard backup utility included in Windows.
Note: In Windows XP Home edition this program
is not included in the installation.
One problem with Ntbackup is that it is hard to use and it is
difficult to set up a backup schedule.
There exist other alternatives to choose from. Some are
expensive. Often with a multitude of functions.
These products are targeted to the high end corporate market
and should be avoided by small and medium businesses.
Backup should be easy to do and the instruction easy to
NTBackup doesn't gives good enough information on
It's easy to make something wrong.
If you use a tape backup as your backup media then there are
several things you can do to reduce these risks and make the
1. Make backup with verification.
Use a backup product which verifies the backup. The verification
will take up extra backup time, but it is well worth doing.
2. Tapes rotation.
Use several tapes and rotate them according to a
time schedule. There are several different rotation models
you can use.
3. Keep the backup at a safe place.
Keep the backup in another building to protect the data from
disaster such as fire or flooding. One option is that one
employee keeps backups at home. The place used for storage
should be fire protected and burglar proof.
The location should have a normal stable temperature and
should have no humidity or electric fields.
4. Maintain your equipment.
Maintain the tape driver and keep it free from dust. Make sure
that you can get service of the hardware.
5. Keep track of the expiration date.
This is something you need to watch if the tapes are in heavy use.
All tapes have a limited life time and will wear out over times.
Normally this is when the tape has been used well over
6. Test the backup at regular intervals.
Test the backup by restoring files as described above. As an
alternative you can restore files on to a different
server or computer.