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When to "Recover" and "Is there a problem, really"

Question asked by RickWhitelaw on Jan 14, 2010
Latest reply on Feb 24, 2010 by RickWhitelaw


When to "Recover" and "Is there a problem, really"


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My apologies if this post ends up being a bit of a polemic . . .  I’m actually writing it off line. Recently I had a problem involving a certain layout (as it turns out). Error 401 wasn’t being captured after a find without results and I couldn’t figure out why. Laretta posted a very fine example , to me, of extended error checking. Comment suggested the problem might be corruption. I saved a compacted copy . . . no change in behavior. Then I did a “recover” and viewed the recover log. It reported no changes in indexes. . . the data seemed fine. However the log reported two “items changed”. In the original file I found a field dependant on a non-existent custom function,corrected it, and ran Recover again. The log reported only one error or“change”. Finally I, in the original file, deleted the offending layout and created a new one, adding the required fields. The problem was solved.


            Out of curiosity I recovered the last three “ordinal” backups of my solution. By ordinal I mean significant changes. On the first one different tax codes were introduced . . . another may have introduced a different use of drop down menus etc. I keep these on CD/DVD. I use Time Machine and Super Duper as well, so I feel reasonably secure with my backup strategy. All three recover logs of these three backups gave me the same message . . . there were problems. The thing is that, excepting the failure to capture the 401 error, there really weren’t anyproblems I could discern. The error capture failure had made me nervous though,so I found and solved the problem.

            My first question . . . when would a person normally use “Recover File”? When a file doesn’t open? When data is scrambled? I had at least had a clue that something was amiss even though it wasn’t crucial . . . a window that should have closed didn’t and that tipped me off.

            Second question . . . prevailing wisdom indicates a recovered file should never be used regardless of the message delivered. “Use a recent backup and update records in it from the Recovered File” is what I’ve heard. In the case I’ve described the data seemed intact. This one particular file has 107 tables (I’m a bit of a normalization freak). Does this suggest I should import records from the recovered file into a recent backup? For that many tables? And further, the problems encountered did not involve DATA corruption.

            Thirdly,do developers routinely create scripted strategies to recover files and import data from the recovered file into a recent, and assumed stable, backup? 

            Finally,how much attention should I be paying to this? The only problem I’ve ever encountered was one corrupt layout. As a result I’m aware that problems can occur. I’d like to be ready should a real disaster happen.


Thanks for reading this,





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