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Hundreds of Hours of Work on ‘Toy Story 2’ was Nearly Lost to a Bad Data Backup Plan

Proving Data Loss Can Happen to the Best of Us

Losing locally-stored data to some random digital mishap affects even the best of us eventually. I’ve fallen victim to it a few times in my lifetime of working on computers. Well, to be more accurate, I fell victim to it once, and that one time taught me a lesson about backing up valuable files.

My incident happened way back in the 1990s, a time when things like Zip Drives were among the common methods used for file backups, and what happened made me so sick, the project I was working on at the time remains unfinished to this day.

I was working on a project I imported from a template stored on one of the aforementioned Zip Drives. I spent the first six hours of my day working on this project, and the only reason I stopped at six hours is the computer locked up while I was trying to perform a software function. It wouldn’t respond to anything. I had no choice, but to shut it down and reboot.

No worries at this point. I had saved it to zip drive, where my source document came from, about an hour earlier. What was really going on at this very moment was overconfidence and arrogance on my part.

Once I got this computer rebooted, and Windows NT, yeah, that’s right, this is an old story, fired up, I logged in and tried to access the zip drive.





Somehow everything on that disk was destroyed, corrupted, fouled up, and now kaput.

My entire work day to that point instantly became wasted time because I had absolutely nothing to show for it.

If you’ve never lost data, you might have no idea how it feels to realize things have gone horribly wrong. To give you some idea, think back to one of those really embarrassing moments you’ve experienced in front of a large crowd of people. You feel your cheeks fill with blood and go flush, the sweat begins pouring from your pores, your eyes start twitching, and then you realize your entire body is trembling spastically. Now add that feeling to what the normal person experiences when standing at the open doorway of an airplane, about to leap out and parachute to the ground for the first time in your life. Those two situations might combine to equate to what overcomes you when you realize you’ve lost vital data. And that’s how I felt after losing just a few hours of work.


I can’t imagine how it must have felt for someone working on Toy Story 2 felt when their actions wiped out hundreds of man-hours worth of work stored on a local drive. We’re talking tens of thousands of dollars worth of time and effort gone in an instant. To make matters worse, it wasn’t until the data had been destroyed, that the filmmakers realized their backup plan hadn’t been working for at least a month.

Check out the story here.

The fact anything was recovered for the Toy Story 2 crew was purely some kind of miracle. What are the odds that someone in your office just happens to have nearly all of the files backed up on their home computer? I’m guessing slim to none.

The lesson here is a simple one. Data wipeouts happen to EVERYONE at some point, and every time it happens when important data is involved, it immediately sends people into crisis mode. The crisis is then usually accompanied by pure pandemonium.

With proper off-site backup policies in place, combined with diligent adherence to a backup routine, accompanied by routine checkups on the backups themselves, these meltdowns can be avoided. Rather than facing the disaster of losing months, or even years, of business data, putting your business out of commission for days, weeks, months, or even for good, you might not lose anything at all, and only be down for a few minutes to just a few hours before things are fully restored and things are back to business as usual.

For more information on Data Backup and Recovery keep watching our blog for the month of February as we will be posting numerous stories about the subject. You can get a free, no-strings-attached evaluation of the safety and reliability of your own network by registering here.

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