I thought I knew what I was going to write about for this week’s reminder. A few days ago, someone contacted me (through the Podcast Asylum, natch—perhaps I need to make my FileSlinger™ e-mail address easier to find on the Backup Blog) to ask about online backup, which has been the theme of the past couple of weeks.
The specific problem, however, involved an intersection of factors I don’t know enough about to explain: Vista x64, Office 2007’s .docx format, and Mozy, or rather why Mozy didn’t seem to want to back up .docx files from a Vista x64 PC.
I don’t use Vista, and don’t plan to, at least not for as long as I have this particular machine. The Ur-Guru says that the x64 version isn’t bad now that Service Pack 1 is available, but the overall Vista adoption rate is so low that the only pressure to “upgrade” comes from Microsoft. (Even the Ur-Guru only has it installed on one system, and that’s only because the software he develops has to work on it.)
As for Office 2007, while the Ur-Guru has been using it happily for some time, none of my clients use it, and I would be creating more problems than I was solving if I switched now. So I don’t know much about the new .docx format for Word files which Office 2007 for Windows shares with Office 2008 for Mac, except that it’s based on XML. And while I found a number of articles and blog posts talking about the difficulty people with older versions of Office have opening .docx files, I didn’t find anything that would explain why uploading them through an online backup service should be a problem.
Likewise, I found some “don’t use Mozy” stories from a few dissatisfied customers who had experienced file corruption or other problems, I didn’t notice anything specific to Vista. So that was the end of that idea.
Though this is by no means a data security blog/e-zine (blogzine?), I have mentioned before that if you are giving away a computer or a hard drive, you want it thoroughly erased. There have been special shredders for CDs and DVDs at least since I wrote about destroying outdated backups in 2003. And computer recycling facilities have powerful electromagnets designed for completely wiping the data off any magnetic drive.
The Hard Drive Crusher is not a home-office solution. For one thing, it weighs 85 lbs. For another, it costs $11,500. Even the Ur-Guru doesn’t go through enough disks in a year to make it a sensible purchase. But it’s the kind of thing your local electronics recycling center or data protection service might want to invest in, and let you use for a small fee if you don’t think a magnetic wipe or repeated overwriting of the drive is sufficient.
And it has to be a pile of fun to operate if you’re suffering from computer-induced frustration.