Whew, that was close!

I experienced one of every computer user’s worst nightmares two days ago--hard drive failure.

Lesson: Always perform a complete backup, preferably in Time Machine, before upgrading your Mac’s OS.

As one might expect, I had become lax in recent months in my backup regimen as well.

Lesson: Automate your backups. You can try invent your own routines, but eventually you’ll get lazy.

Fortunately, on the first day I was able to grab an image of my user file before erasing the drive and starting from scratch. I spent the majority of the second day installing the latest version of OS X on my computer and restoring files from the disk image. Unfortunately, I was unable to grab a disk image of the Library, which holds important information such as your keychain, e-mail archive, and custom website themes.

Lesson: Use Time Machine to perform complete backups of everything, not just your photos, videos, and documents.

Fortunately, I was able to retrieve my custom Rapidweaver template from an old back up I had done more than a year ago. Talk about lucky. Today is the first day I’ve tried updating my website using my fully restored template. I’m praying it works seamlessly. If you notice anything that looks out of sorts, please be forgiving and notify me so I can try get it back to normal as soon as possible.

Lesson: If you spent a lot of time customizing a Rapidweaver theme, save it multiple times in multiple locations along with your website itself. If you integrate albums created in iPhoto, you’ll want those fully backed up for easy retrieval too. From what I gather, you cannot reverse engineer a Rapidweaver website from what you have uploaded, so make sure you have everything related to your website backed up so that you will never find yourself having to re-create it from scratch. My next step should be creating an off-site backup for that matter.

Hopefully nothing I just experienced these last three days ever happens to you. Take precautions and you can save yourself a lot of stress and work.