My Surface Pro 3 (vintage 2014) is still chugging gamely along in my office. I use it as an Insider Preview Slow Ring test machine. Each time I upgrade the OS (about weekly, these days), I clean up Windows.old and make a backup of the newly installed OS. Entirely routine and ho-hum. But this morning, when I went to check my backups on that machine, I found none for the past couple of months. By looking at the dates available on the Insider Flight Hub, I can tell it’s been failing since Build 18908. That’s ultimately how I figured out that protecting backup card proves essential, too. Let me explain . . .
The source of the problem on this dual mSATA USB card was electrical, and my own stupidity.
[Image Source: Newegg SYBA Dual mSATA RAID Adapter]
Why Protecting Backup Card Proves Essential
Operator error can strike in strange ways. First, I have to explain that the backup device on my Surface Pro 3 (SP3) is a dual mSATA USB card. (See preceding image link for details). It’s just a naked circuit card. It’s attached via a short connector cable into a USB3 port at the rear of the Surface Pro 3 dock. By happenstance, I’ve got the SP3 on a baker’s rack next to my office desk. Turns out that the SYBA card somehow moved (the Boss dusts my office regularly) from its usual place on the plastic covered dock base onto the metal shelf on which the dock rests. I can only speculate that at least two of the contacts on the back of the circuit card must’ve made contact with the metal wire shelving. Result: a short that prevented the circuit card from doing its job (and the backup from completing).
Sigh. It’s always something. I could fix the problem permanently by putting the card (which has the same form factor as a SATA laptop drive) in an enclosure. I may very well do so. But for now, the card is back up on the dock and working perfectly (I just made a successful backup). I’ll ponder adding something like the Inatek 2.5″ USB 3.0 Hard Disk Enclosure (FE2002) to my next Newegg order. Heck: it only costs about US$18 and will prevent future backup failures. I probably should have done this in the first place!