Sidekick users face irretrievable data loss; Inept backup policy blamed

It's been a weekend of pain for Sidekick owners, with last week's data outage ironically only the first step in an escalating catalog of mis-management by Microsoft, T-Mobile USA and the Danger team.  On Saturday, an official statement was posted to the T-Mobile Sidekick forum, advising users that personal data stored on their servers and not on the handset itself "has almost certainly been lost", together with the ominous advice that Sidekick handsets shouldn't be turned off, run down or reset.Check out the official statement after the cut

Although the official version of events isn't yet known, according to fan-site Hiptop3 the problem arose when Microsoft outsourced backup and cloud-data systems for Sidekick to Hitachi.  Neither Microsoft nor Hitachi made backups prior to or immediately after the handover in responsibility, and the SAN (Storage Area Network) upgrade failed, losing data in the process.  Microsoft and Danger claim to be working on recovering lost data, but their prospects are grim; they're hoping users will be able to restore much of their information from the devices themselves, hence the insistence that users don't do anything which will cause the Sidekick to attempt to refresh its local content with the now-absent version on the servers.

T-Mobile, Microsoft and Danger have promised more information today, including news on their data recovery efforts.  It also seems likely that there'll be some level of recompense for those affected, though whether it will be enough to sate the fury of owners remains to be seen.  As we remember from back in February, when Nokia's Ovi servers died and lost a mere three weeks' worth of data, users were reluctant to trust the service again.  That's one thing when you're using a free backup system, but when the data loss happens because of mismanagement of a core element of your cellphone system, that's going to put you off paying the monthly tithe.

Official Statement


Dear valued T-Mobile Sidekick customers:

T-Mobile and the Sidekick data services provider, Danger, a subsidiary of Microsoft, are reaching out to express our apologies regarding the recent Sidekick data service disruption.

We appreciate your patience as Microsoft/Danger continues to work on maintaining platform stability, and restoring all services for our Sidekick customers.

Regrettably, based on Microsoft/Danger's latest recovery assessment of their systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device – such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos – that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger. That said, our teams continue to work around-the-clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover this information. However, the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low. As such, we wanted to share this news with you and offer some tips and suggestions to help you rebuild your personal content. You can find these tips in our Sidekick Contacts FAQ. We encourage you to visit the Forums on a regular basis to access the latest updates as well as FAQs regarding this service disruption.

In addition, we plan to communicate with you on Monday (Oct. 12) the status of the remaining issues caused by the service disruption, including the data recovery efforts and the Download Catalog restoration which we are continuing to resolve. We also will communicate any additional tips or suggestions that may help in restoring your content.

We recognize the magnitude of this inconvenience. Our primary efforts have been focused on restoring our customers' personal content. We also are considering additional measures for those of you who have lost your content to help reinforce how valuable you are as a T-Mobile customer.

We continue to advise customers to NOT reset their device by removing the battery or letting their battery drain completely, as any personal content that currently resides on your device will be lost.

Once again, T-Mobile and Microsoft/Danger regret any and all inconvenience this matter has caused.