HP Backup and Recovery Manager: Misleading Statement Causes Data Loss

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CopBlaster.com has lost the ability to edit the source code of this website due to a misleading statement made by Hewlett Packard's HP Backup and Recovery Manager. When the administrator of CopBlaster.com found his development machine disabled due to his Windows 10 installation becoming corrupted, he tried everything until he was forced to acknowledge the fact that he was going to have to let HP Backup and Recovery Manager re-install Windows. This appeared to be the best option because HP Backup and Recovery Manager led him to believe that his documents would be backed up before the drive was wiped. What HP did not say was that only certain file types in those directories would be backed up.

After restoring the computer to its factory default state, the admin tried to copy the backups that HP created. At first it all looked good. HP recreated all the directories he needed to keep, but then when he went into those directories he noticed all of his source code missing. Turns out that HP Backup and Recovery Manager does not backup all file types. Important file types that any web developer needs are not supported. As a result he lost all of his files that ended in extensions like .aspx, .cshtml, .js, .php, .bak, and others. Fortunately, he was able to retrieve copies of his websites and databases from his remote servers. Unfortunately two of his websites including this one have a new problem.

Microsoft recommends that websites be precompiled for performance reasons, so he decided to precompile this website. Unfortunately it is not possible to edit compiled code and since the most up to date source code is now gone it would be better to just not be able to make edits to the CopBlaster.com code than to roll the site back to the last version that was backed up elsewhere. A lot of work has been done since then and because this does not impact database administration it makes more sense to seek a way to decompile the compiled code.

Unfortunately, Microsoft did not disclose the fact that one cannot simply decompile a compiled project in Visual Studio. A logical person would conclude that since Visual Studio can precompile a site at the click of a button that it would be able to decompile it just as easily. This is not the case. There are tools out there to help decompile ASP.Net applications and we will try to find one that makes rebuilding the source code easier, but until then we can only alter the database.

Lessons to be learned:

1. Always convert your backup folders to .zip or .rar format so that HP Backup and Recovery Manager will back it up if something goes wrong with your system.

2. Do not precompile ASP.Net web applications unless you have the source code backed up in multiple locations and those backups are recent.

3. Always use an external drive for backups so that if Windows becomes so corrupted that you have no choice but to do a clean install, the backups are not lost.

Whose Fault is This?

Ultimately the responsibility for this falls on HP because if they had made it clear that they only backed up certain file types in the directories they backup, the victim here would have chosen to take his hard drive to someone that extracts data from hard drives. That way he would have been able to keep his work. He was denied that option by Hewlett Packard.

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