Recovering a machine with Acronis

We had one of our server crash this last weekend.  Thankfully there was a spare, so we didn’t need to come in over the weekend.  But on Monday we set about getting the broken machine back up and running.

On an external machine we had a Acronis backup of the machine from February 2012, which might sound like a lot, but this machine doesn’t change much if at all (other than Windows updates it doesn’t!).  So I set about recovering the data.  First I downloaded at 15 day trial of Acronis (think you!) and got it installed.  Here’s a few things we ran into that might help you out in a pinch!

  • Our backup was from a fairly old version of Acronis…the new version still worked…so version’s don’t appear to be an issue.
  • Copy the backup files to your C: drive or a drive that not be removed to image the new drive (see below!)
  • Acronis might not recognize your backup.  Keep trying.  It’s there. When I initially installed the external drive it wouldn’t find it. Through trying many times it did find it.
  • If you are restoring to a new hard drive, such as what we did, don’t restore to a ‘caged drive’ (ie: a drive that is hooked up through USB in a cage).  You’ll need to physically install the drive into your system.  This has to do with the byte sectors.  It appears that if you try and do this through a USB attached device you can’t do 512 which is what Acronis uses.
  • When restoring make sure that you modify your drive selections so one doesn’t take up the whole drive (ie: don’t get in a hurry…slow down and check stuff).  I had a problem restoring all of the drive partitions (3 total). Eventually I got it figured out and I “selected” were each partition should start and stop and what size.  When I did that things worked great.

I’m not going to call this one a point, but just point it out.  If you’ve backed up from a server/computer that is on Active Directory you might have issues getting it back in your domain.  This has to do with the security ID.  I’m not sure what causes this issue, if it’s because we installed a new hard drive or what the deal is.  In the end we removed the computer from Active Directory (initially did this and banged our heads against the wall for a few hours!) and then added it back into Active Directory by hand (create a new computer object).  Once we did the manual creation of the computer in Active Directory we were in luck.  One other thing that might help, but I can’t confirm, is that having a boot media for the crashed hard drive might help as well.

Acronis really bailed us out, however it requires some other information (in my haste I didn’t read anything…just jumped in. So maybe if I’d read something I wouldn’t have used about 11 hours to recover this machine!)

5:30 AM

For the past two weeks on Tuesday and Thursday I’ve been getting up 30 minutes earlier than normal.  This is 5:30 AM. I suppose some might be asking why I’m doing this to myself.  Well it’s this.  I’m trying to make something happen.

Of course I could be doing this at night, but I don’t. At the end of the day I’m just wasted.  However at 5:30 in the morning my brain is firing on all cylinders.  Of course it takes me a few minutes to get rid of the cobwebs, but I’m good to go.

I’m not building the next Google or anything like that.  But I’m getting it done thirty minutes at a time.

If your looking to get something done, find your zone and get to it.

Goodbye PyroCMS, Hello WordPress

As some may have noticed I haven’t posted much about PyroCMS in awhile.  Perhaps some have asked why that is.  Well here is the post explaining that.  I’ve gone back and forth on if I should write this, but I feel like I should for anyone who may have came here for thoughts on PyroCMS.

I had made pretty good progress on my modules for PyroCMS (for those catching up I was working on moving our newspaper site over to Pyro).  I had articles imported into the system.  They were categorized.  I was able to pull in photos and I had even got the front end working (not complete but pretty good).  It was going well.  And then I tried to figure out how to get slugs working (slugs being what creates your URL so it’s SEO friendly).  And I proceeded to bang my head against the wall.  This went on for a few days.  I checked the forum, I checked the ‘secret’ Facebook page and I hung out on the mostly silent IRC group.  While some answered my questions many were just as confused as I was.  I eventually emailed Phil and asked him what the community could do to help.  I had found the documentation was severely lacking and I thought it would help move the project along.  In typical fashion he promptly replied to me about it (which is awesome).  Phil’s response was documentation sucks (it does) and to submit requests for more information.  Not due to Phil’s response but just due to the over all banging of my head against a wall I took a pause on my PyroCMS project.  Well the pause became a goodbye when I started working with WordPress.

In a lot less time I was able to get my content into WordPress, with slugs (it’s automatic if you use the API) and I’ve pretty much got a template up and running.

Is that to say that it’s better than PyroCMS?  Nope.  I have some worries about using WordPress, security being a pretty big one (and the speed), but for the time I have to dedicate to this project WordPress currently appears to be the best choice for me.  The documentation far surpasses what PyroCMS has.  At lot of that has to do with (1) the amount of people working on WordPress and (2) the amount of time it’s been around (it has been frustrating at times as well but eventually I’ll find what I’m looking for). Both of those are things that PyroCMS can overcome in due time.

So what I’m saying.  If you have the time and the will to learn PyroCMS, I think it’s a great thing to learn.  It’s growing and the community is mostly developers which I think is a strength but also a weakness (see documentation).  Support and documentation can be pretty spotty in places.  Wordpress can get you up and running fairly quickly, but it also has it’s issues that you’ll need to address (security being a big one and using older versions of PHP)

If you have any comments feel free to post them up.


Welcome home. Here’s a flat tire!

This last week my family and I took our summer vacation.  We traveled ‘home’ to where my wife and I had grown up.  Both of our parents still reside there and for the most part it’s where we go for our vacations.  It’s quite the drive, 900 miles one way, but we break it down into two separate days since we have our little boy.  This makes it a bit more bearable, and with him getting older it’s easier. We arrived home yesterday after a 400 mile push.

I had parked my Jeep in the garage while we were gone and I needed to get it out so we could dump stuff into the garage and be on our way to chilling out for the rest of the day. However someone had other plans.  I had a flat tire on the Jeep.  Thankfully it was Saturday and I was able to find an open tire shop, the spare is flat as well, and they quickly repaired it for free.  When I got home the garage door was off of it’s track. Dang it!  Apparently I had left the caddy the carries my jack in the path of the garage door and it knocked it off of the tracks. So I quickly figured out how to remount the garage door and tightened up some of the screws and then put the tire back on.

It wasn’t really what I wanted to do when I got home, and I got a bit hot under the collar, but compared to the past I kept it cool.  I’ve been trying my best to do this. Keep cool and roll with the punches. Sometimes there are things that you can control and sometimes there are things that you can’t.  This was one of them that I couldn’t control. Well I could have controlled the garage door thing.