Google Desktop as a Backup Strategy?

I had an interesting experience at the end of the day yesterday. One of my Law Library colleagues looking quite distressed came into my office and said, “I think I just lost a VERY important file.” My response was, “no problem! Worst case we can restore it from backup.” That’s always my response when someone says they’ve lost a file – it usually calms them down and reassures them. She followed up by saying, “I just created the file today. Will it have been backed up yet?” Her face dropped when I said no. Our backups only happen at night, so a file created today would not yet be backed up.

So I started looking for the file. Sure enough, she had deleted it from the file server, so it didn’t go into her recycle bin. I tried doing a windows search (she’s running Vista Business Edition), and could only find a link to it in favorites, but not the file or a temporary file. Lastly I tried doing a Google Desktop search as we have it indexing her computer and her file share. It thought it found the file, but the link was dead (because the file had been deleted), but we could look at the full unformatted text of the file with the preview option. So we copied the text from the preview, and pasted it into a new Word document. I had one relieved customer. She had to reformat the document, but it saved her hours of work writing it from scratch.

So… Google Desktop is not only a great desktop search tool, but it can also help restore deleted files that have not yet been backed up!

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