Where are all the pictures? (Updated -Fixed!)

If you happen to peruse through here or the old Blogblivion that was never fully ported from Expression Engine, you may notice pictures of the kids are gone. Mostly. Argh!

Once upon a time, when it seemed there was far more space on the web hosting account that has elhide.com as its root, my original one, than on this account, which has accidentalverbosity.com as its root, I started storing the pictures on the other account, linking them from posts here. Just required whitelisting this domain for hotlinking. Looks like I started doing that in 2006. In part of 2009 I recall switching back to here, due to role reversal. Went so long between posting pictures, though, I reverted on the last one because it was easier. Thus the post below for Valerie’s birthday without a picture (as of now).

Recently there was a brief spate of outages for this server, which went away, only to be followed by massive outages of the server hosting those pictures and various sites. I felt as if I broke the camel’s back, because it started, as far as I could tell, as soon as I setup my new Frugal Guy Cook blog over there Sunday. Before I did that, I backed up all three hosting accounts, which I do every 1-2 months. There is a utility that compresses and downloads the stuff for you, and can restore from the downloaded backups. Alternatively one might do a straight download of everything via FTP, which I wish had been a habit, even rarely.

They ended up migrating everything on the server that hosting account had been on, which I’ve gone through before and is not generally a problem. Or not a serious one, anyway.

I gathered what must have happened. But my blogs were gone! At least, the ones I checked, including the new one. I started investigating. Here’s what I know so far, sans another reply from support, which at last report had recopied my files and sounded like I should be all set.

The root of elhide.com was there, but the entire /solo folder was gone. That was my original, premarital blog, which had become a postmarital blog. It would have been hard to recreate, being in pMachine, which is ancient and no longer available. Luckily I had a recent copy of the whole thing, so that was fixed. Some of the blogs are there, worst problem being one of them has errors from widgets that aren’t even being used, due to a change of permissions due to the server change. The legacy XTreme Computing site is gone. Married Guy/Daddy Guy Cook is gone. Some various files and folders are gone, like ones with pictures from Las Vegas.

Probably hardest to fix, pictures from 2007, 2008, 2009 and the one from 2010, and possibly part of 2007 but haven’t drilled into that – at least the 2007 folder is there with some in it – are gone.

Well great! I made a backup Sunday. When I wasn’t sure when or if the host would be able to restore things, I tried my first ever restore from the backup I’d downloaded. It took forever, and in fact I snoozed a little while it was happening after work this morning.

That didn’t help. I found some stuff I hadn’t looked at before was up, but I think it always had been. Just didn’t look closely. I’d seen that the add-on domains existed, and I’d see the mySQL databases existed and seemed to have everything at a quick perusal. Which is why the old pMachine blog was fine once the files and folder were replaced.

Eventually I wound up opening the backup files on my hard drive, starting with that recent one. What they contained was what was on the hosting currently! I spot checked all the way back to late 2007 and found the same thing in all the backups, obviously adjusting for the fact that some newer things wouldn’t have been there in the older backups.

It’s as if some of the files/folders flagged themselves “don’t back me up” and proceeded to exclude themselves!

Which would be bad if it happened to the utility customers can use to create backups.

What’s truly scary? If the same thing is affecting backups by the host. Whatever they restored from clearly lacked all those same files. The question is whether they have another backup that hasn’t been afflicted by the same problem and can or will restore from it.

Scarier still? By posting pictures on the blogs, I always figured if the building burned down or something, if we lost all the computers, if no pictures were left in our hands in digital form, we’d still have what I had posted.

Anyway, if we’re toast, I’ll see what I can do to restore everything. I should be able to generate a list of file names and locations from mySQL, locate and upload them in possibly even a semi-automated fashion. Either that or I’ll have to start fresh, but go way back. I was thinking of all pictures going forward being at a new location anyway. Just didn’t plan for there to be a disaster associated with it.

Update:
This is why I love my hosting people. Turned out a single corrupt file apparently caused backup failure. All the files except the one have been manually copied from the retiring server to the new one. There is some tweaking associated with a server change that I will need to do, and one single picture from May 2007 is now missing unless I replace it, but otherwise I am back in business. Yay!!

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