Hey Spanning Backup, What’s Up With the Red & Yellow Dots?

Mike Pav, our VP of Engineering, came up to me before I’d finished my morning coffee.

“I’m noticing a lot of errors in your backup reports.”

He showed me the following diagram, where a lot of yellow dots had suddenly appeared next to my name:

Admittedly, I hadn’t been paying much attention to my backup lately. (Don’t worry Mike – that’s about to change!) Mike was nice enough to export a list of errors for me that looked like this:

Looking at this list, I can see that some of my font files are being troublemakers. So what’s the next step? I asked Byron Shaheen, our go-to guy for this sort of thing. “

The key in this case is the ‘application/octet-stream’ part in the “Title” of the failed documents list. Usually when we see this, it’s almost always associated with the local Google Drive client on your computer. There’s typically a couple of reasons why we see this error:

  • The file didn’t transfer correctly to your web-based Google Drive account and is 0 bytes in size.  We flag these types of files with an error during the backup so you’re aware that something failed during the backup process.
  • The original file was damaged to begin with and could not be backed up.

The part of the “Title” that follows ‘application/octet-stream’ is usually the actual name of the document as you would see it in your Google Drive/Docs account.  Now that you know the name to look for, open up your local Google Drive application on your computer and locate the document.  You’ll need to check the file size to find out if it’s a 0 byte size document or not.  Once you know that information, here’s what I’d suggest:

  • If the document is not 0 bytes in size, the sync between your Google account and the local Google Drive application probably failed to properly sync that document.  In this scenario, I’d suggest that you move the document out of your local Google Drive application on your computer and wait for it to be removed from the web version of your Google Drive account (a few seconds).  Once that’s done, try adding the document back to the Google Drive application on your computer and allow it time to sync back to your online Google account.  If the sync attempt is successful, the backup should be as well.
  • If the document is 0 bytes in size, it may be damaged or corrupt.  Try opening the document on your computer using whatever application can access that document type.  If you’re not able to open the document on your computer, it’s probably damaged and you’ll need to replace it with another copy of the document.

It’s also important to remember that if you delete the document from your web-based Google Drive account, that item is going to be deleted from the Google Drive application on your computer.  It’s best to move the items out of the Google Drive application to another location on your computer when troubleshooting these issues.  That will help to ensure that you have a copy of that data somewhere other than Google Drive and the Google Drive application.”

I checked, and it looked like my original files were corrupted, so I deleted them and replaced them with uncorrupted versions. Mike, how do my dots look now?

It’s just that easy.

Backing up your data is important, but if you never check the backup log, you won’t know if any problems arise that need addressing. We’ll help you maintain the integrity of your data, but please do a quick check of your backup every day to make sure everything’s going smoothly!


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