Imaginary Skies Art by Carina Bruce-Kadow

Backup systems and their fallibility


So, my backup system, this Monday it failed.

Originally I was pretty proud of it, especially since I was working on multiple machines. I have an icloud folder setup on which I work – save directly to cloud – and another one in which I archive finished work. I was traveling a lot and used a different machine at work and on road. One of those machines was my Macbook with timemachine hooked up, so I had backups on cloud, on multiple computers and an external harddrive. Was a genuily nice setup. It worked splendidly for multiple years.

Then Clipstudio Paint decided to screw me over.

Did you know that if you open a chapter file in Clipstudio Paint and it cannot open them for any reason, it automatically replaces the page files with blanks.

I do now.

empty pagesDid you know that it automatically overwrites the original files with blank files, without even asking?

Oh, it does. It does.

A bit of shitty ui design, that’s what it is. I couldn’t even abort the opening of the file. Just *poof* blank pages. And while iCloud saves deleted files for a short time, it doesn’t do it with overwritten ones, so my master files on itunes were gone, too. That’s when I found out the hard way that somewhere during updates windows 10 switched had switched off its own file versioning, and file restore, which coulda easily fix that, was empty.

Nice. Nice. Very nice, Isn’t it?

I lost the whole comic file. I spent the whole Monday morning piercing a new one together: I had my iterative saves in the icloud archive, and, yes, the save-to-macbook was still working.  But I am not traveling weekly anymore, so I am mainly using my home machine. And the last layer of my backup – my physical copy on my macbook –  was exactly one week out of date.

A weeks worth of stuff – a whole full scene, full or characterisaton – is just *poof* gone.


I’ve redone half of it already, so it’s not an unrecoverable loss. I still remember how I did the layout and the diablogue, and the stick figures I use for the layout are easily to redo. I’ll be back where I was before this week is over, perhaps even tomorrow. And I am so, so, so glad it happened when I was laying out my scenes, and not preparing a book to print. So. Silver Linings and so.

But what a way to start my week.

I made some changes. Clipstudio Paint isn’t allowed to save to iCloud anymore. If it overwrites without asking, it doesn’t get access to my masterfiles. Bastard. Right now I am archiving them manually via good ol’ copy+paste. I am also looking into ways to automate this, so that I don’t have to remember it. I looked into dropbox, but right now their pricing is outside of my budget, so that’s a no-go. I’ll review the system in future, but for now I’ve ensured this won’t happen again.

Eitherway, let that be your reminder to not only backup your data, but also to test if your backups still fullfill your needs.

By Carina
Imaginary Skies Art by Carina Bruce-Kadow