Saturday, March 20, 2010

98.6% Back

Pin It The sound of hard plastic striking pavement alerted me to the fact; something had fallen from my computer bag while I was taking items from my car. I glanced down about my feet and at once noticed my Western Digital Notebook Drive lying on the spidery asphalt.

For just a moment, frustration reared its ugly head, but upon inspecting the drive, all appeared to be in good order. All was well, and all was good. I slipped the drive back into my computer bag—a little deeper than it had been—and headed off to start another day at work.

It was some hours later that evening that I found myself at home, indulging in a well-deserved dinner of spareribs and scones. I plugged in said drive to access a few photos I needed for a project. This was the best drive to use as it had every photo I’d ever taken on it. I moved to the microwave to retrieve my dinner and sat down at my computer. I glanced at the screen where a message had appeared:

The disk in drive F is not formatted.
Do you want to format it now?

A feeling of discouragement settled over me like a fine mist. I simply sat and stared at the screen.

Instead of boring you with a trove of details and whatnot—telling you about all the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth—as well as calls to data recovery experts who would charge somewhere between $75 - $225 to retrieve the data (provided that there were no problems, and a bit more than that if there were) let’s instead skip those two days, and go to straight the part where the good news starts leading up to the happy ending…

I was ready to accept my losses, or fork out hundreds of dollars when I suddenly remembered that I had an external drive on which I’d backed up my photos a year ago—it wasn’t up-to-date, but it had the files as they were back in the start of 2009—albeit missing the summer of summers, and all the moments therein—including all of the recent images on my photography website, and shots of my class this year as well.

However, this was far better than what I had before, which was a great, big, steaming pile of nothing.

That’s when I remembered this. Ah, this little technological gem which, after running for 21 hours straight, allowed me access to the last year of photos which I promptly copied over to a new, larger hard drive via two days and several hours of sorting and organizing.

It is now Saturday evening. ComedySportz is on the docket tonight and 98.6% of my files are back where they should be, nestled securely on a new hard drive which will be backed up on a regular basis from now on.

Okay, so I made that number up. In reality, I don’t really know to what percentage my system is; after all, some of the old files were damaged, and time will only tell until I know the full extent of the restoration. But I do know this, the new drive looks an awful lot like the old one, and for that I am grateful

Thank heavens for backups and computer geek programs.

By the way, do you think that this might be a good time for me to encourage you to make a backup of your treasured memories? Preferably sooner than later?


Rachel said...

Thanks for the reminder. Yes!! I need to back up YEARS of photos that I would be retchedly sick over if I lost.

So sorry this happened to you and am very glad that 98.6% are back.

What a frustrating experience! I love technology but sometimes......when things break or fail.....doesn't make me too happy.

Good luck at Comedy Sports tonight.! It's Stake Mtgs. for us.

allison nadauld said...

Oh my goodness...yes!!!! I really need to make a back up. I thought i lost all my pictures last week when a virus nearly did me in.

I felt like my life passed before my eyes. Actually I should say my children's lives, since all of their pictures are on it. With the help of a friend, all worked out. Miracle, I say.

Well, have I backed it up yet? No, thanks for a reminder. And hey, I'm really happy you got most of your pics back.

Richard & Natalie said...

Yes, TF, 98.6 is a great number in percentage of restored files and degrees of body temperature. The sick feeling can relent now because it sounds like things are back in the normal range...or at least, we hope so. :)

Natasha said...

How frustrating. I'm glad 98% of your info is back.

My computer crashed in December. Unfortunately, I had not backed it up so I wasn't able to get the information off it- and I had journal entries and pictures that I lost. I learned my sad lesson: back up my files!

Gerb said...

Hooray for computer geek programs! I'm glad to hear things are 98.6% back to normal.

Shannon said...

As soon as I read the line about the drive sitting on the spidery concrete, I knew how this would feeling guilty for not backing up my files. I am extremely glad that most of your stuff has been recovered, only because I've been through that heart melting scenario more than'd think I'd learn my lesson...

Kathy V said...

Isn't there a company that will do an auto back up of your hard drive on a regular basis when you are connected to the internet? I should really look into that.

Yancy said...

My laptop is backed up regularly, but the wife's isn't and neither is the external drive that holds ALL my music...Scratch that — I backed up the music shortly after Thanksgiving when I got a new hardrive :)

I've got an extra external drive just sitting here waiting for me to put some sort of auto back-up system in place for my wife's laptop, but just haven't gotten around to it.

Funny that I should read this post today since just yesterday I was thinking that I should really take care of that project. :)

Yancy said...

Kathy V:

There are actually a number of web-services that will do an auto backup of your computer/files to their servers. Some even offer a small amount of storage space for free.

Mozy (2G Free) and CrashPlan both come to mind, but there are many others.

This article from Lifehacker may be a good place for you to get started in your research.

NOTE: Two GBs would be enough to backup a couple SMALL folders, but if you want to backup your whole computer or all your documents, you'll need a paid subscription somewhere.

Something else to remember with online backup is that if you ever needed to do a full system restore, that's a LOT of data to travel from their servers back to your machine to get you up and running again and therefore...could use up a nice chunk of time (not to mention bandwidth). The same goes for your INITIAL backup. During subsequent backups, only your newer/changed files will need to be backup up, but that first backup is likely to be a doozy.

That said, having some sort of incremental backup online for files is nice. If you really want to get hardcore, I would recommend having a regularly backed up external drive as well as something online (in case of fire, burglary, etc.).

Dropbox is also a really nice/cool service. It's mentioned in the article linked above, but you can also read a short explanation I wrote on my blog if you're interested. If you decide to sign up, use the referral link at the bottom of my post to get a little more storage space in the free account.

*Sorry for the lengthy comment*

Yancy said...

OK! I know I've written two (one long, and the other exceptionally long) comments already, but I just had to post a link to this article on Lifehacker.

Interesting coincidence that they would post that today of all days. This must be a sign that I really need to get on that whole back-up project I mentioned.

Lori said...

You KNOW I feel your glad you had a happy ending to all of this!

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Teachinfourth said...

R - Technology is great, but when it fails on you it's not so much fun.

Oh, and ComedySportz was great. Hope your conference was equally enjoyable.

A - I hope you get it done sooner than later. Heaven knows what a state you'll be in if they are lost.

N - Fingers crossed even now.

N - Ugh! My sympathies go out to you on that one. It's a hard lesson to learn, isn't it?

G - (Audible sigh of relief) I was glad when I made the discovery as well.

S - I think we BOTH should have…I, for one, am going to start now.

K - Looks like my brother found some stuff for you…

Y - Thanks for posting a few of the online options available. Also, that drive I mentioned? It was the very same that we bought the day after Thanksgiving…probably not good for anything now other than a paperweight. I don't know as if I would trust it to files now that it's failed once.

He's my brutha!

L - I feel like I really took those files for granted up until now.

M - Thanks for the invite, I'm flattered. I'll get around to it when I have a spare moment.

Yancy said...


Thanks for the heads up on the drive. With how much music I have, I've actually transferred ALL of my iTunes music to that little guy. But no worries, I still have all the files on the original (albeit smaller capacity) external drive for now, and am currently in the process of setting up that extra hard drive I mentioned to mirror the one we got during Thansgiving exactly. So...when all is said and done, I'll have:

(1) All my music on the drive we bought during Thanksgiving
(2) That entire drive backed up
(3) The older drive that use to contain all my music will then be available to host a partition with a bootable clone of my laptop as well as a separate partition with incremental backup as well.

I've got my work cut out for me.
Granted, it's mostly just a matter of pressing a button and waiting forever while files transfer. :)

tammy said...

Yeah, it is probably a good time for you to remind me to do that.

Teachinfourth said...

Y - Holy Hannah, you've got it all worked out. One day, I'll learn to do all that stuff, too.

T - Don't make the mistake of waiting too long like I did.

Cheeseboy said...

Hey Teachinfourth! I found your blog through Tammy's. Very cool to find another male blog Elementary teacher. Even if you were not a fellow male elementary school teacher, this would be a very cool blog. (BTW, I teach First Grade)


I guess I need to read about this 'Joey'. I have a feeling I have had a few Joey's in my day.

Teachinfourth said...

CB - You're welcome back anytime. I know Tammy through Tib, whom I met through somebody else and a 'makeover' post she did about a year ago…I guess that why we call this portal 'the web.'

Seems that is it bringing a lot of people together.

BTW, Joey is a hoot. I'd love to have a dozen of him in my class. Well, maybe not quite a dozen, but at least three or four.

tiburon said...

So glad you got your stuff. We backup everything and we only lost a few things when our computer died. So glad for an external hard drive!!

Just SO said...

I was in a similar situation but it was the external hard drive that failed...the one with all my pictures on it. I. about. died.

Thankfully my husband is a magician with computers and he got them all back for me. I now have them on cd's as well as on the computer.

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