It’s 2021: Have you checked your backups?

As the expression goes, no one cares about backups, they care about restores. Do yours work?

Some lessons learned over the last few days:

  • Apple has disabled single user mode as of Mojave, and many recovery options are not available if you use a firmware password. Do not forget that availability is a security property.
  • Using a pi.hole made getting to Apple’s network Recovery Installer difficult.
  • According to the Internet, Time Machine and Synology NAS servers don’t play well together. I have not been told this by Apple support reps (who have generally been very nice if not effective at solving my problem).
  • There’s a cool business mode in Apple’s Messages.app where it can send text messages to Apple for you.
  • Time Machine has an undocumented internal format that you can’t look at without Apple tools. And when they don’t work, you are officially roughly out of luck. There’s lots of very large files which contain data, rather than copies of your files in something that looks like a mirror of your file system.
  • Amazon can deliver hard drives overnight, but there’s no obvious way to search for just those. Add to cart, see what the fastest delivery option was. I ordered at 7PM, had a spare drive when I woke up. 4TB USB3 drives are under $100, and by the time you read this, will be under $50.
  • Disk Warrior doesn’t yet have full support for APFS.
  • Data Recovery does, but somehow the app is not yet signed and so you get Gatekeeper errors.
  • Agilebits no longer lets you download your license file if you have a standalone 1Password installation.
  • Updated to add: Time machine works better over a wired connection. If you encounter failures, try connecting via an ethernet hub.

If you don’t – RIGHT NOW – GO AND CHECK YOUR GODDAMNED ABILITY TO RECOVER, I will, on your worst day, jump out of your disabled computer and say “I told you so.”*

* Terms and conditions apply. Offer not valid without coupon. Subject to locale restrictions. Not available in Quebec.

1 Comment on "It’s 2021: Have you checked your backups?"


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