What I learned about working with MozBackup

Verify your freaking backups before you reformat your danged computer. The end.

Well, okay, maybe there’s more. I also learned that you can’t copy and paste an Inbox file into another Inbox file to get your old messages, ’cause then they don’t match up and you get weird stuff.

I also learned that Gmail messages can be extremely hard to find on the server once they’ve been downloaded with POP3.

So, yeah, yesterday, my laptop totally wigged out, and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I figured that it was due for a reformat anyway, so just had better get with it. It took me forever to backup stuff though (in SafeMode, nonetheless), ’cause I had NEVER backed up any of my 21.1 GB of digital scrapbooking stuff except the stuff I’ve actually bought, that’s backed up on my SSD.

But I’ve done backups with MozBackup several times and have done very successful restores at least twice before, maybe three times. I’ve never had a problem with things not coming together. But this time, for some reason, my backup file had an empty inbox for both of my Gmail addresses that I download into Thunderbird. My SBCglobal was okay, though, and any subfolders. Also okay were the few subfolders under one of the Gmail addresses. But the inboxes (and for that matter, sent mail and trash) were completely empty.

The last backup I had before yesterday was June 10. So, after trying many possible solutions and nothing working, I’ve finally just sucked it up and restored that old stuff and now I have to go through it all again and delete stuff I don’t want (but at least I haven’t lost all those attachments and what not I need). The strange thing, though, was that I had to manually do it because even that stuff refused to re-import with MozBackup. So now I’ve lost 18 days of email to my Gmail addresses. I THINK I have either managed to track down the important stuff or email/text lovely people that I know I had an email from to ask them to re-send. Anyone else, if you’ve sent me some email recently and haven’t received a reply, please re-send as well. I was able to find four very important emails on the Gmail server, and reply from there, though I couldn’t get Thunderbird to re-download them.

So, yeah, people, verify your backups!! You can bet I will next time! I’m also going to be better about emptying my trash more often than, oh, just when I reformat, ’cause that should help on backup size (currently at 2.48 GB), speed, reliability. At least I should think so.

To verify, copy your backup file then rename the extension from pcv to zip and unzip. Go in there and look for the folder Mail, then in there to your accounts, then open the files Inbox and whatever with a text editor and at least see if your stuff is in there! :P

Oh, another thing. Maybe wait a few days to empty your recycle bin and then when you’re like me and you accidentally delete something, you’ll be able to retrieve it rather than losing it forever. Dang it. Yeah, I did that last week, too.

So what sucks the most about reformatting? Mostly just the time involved and especially moving files to back up and to restore. I’m currently restoring my scrapbooking stuff, but once it moves over the network from external hard drive #1, it will already be backed up and ready for syncing whenever I do everything else. ‘Cause you know, I never backed it up before because there was just so much of it. I kept trying to clean it up but never finished.

Bah. :)