I recently had a problem with one of my external hard drives. One day it was fine, the next it wasn’t. Normally, I wouldn’t panic, but this time I did, as it was the main storage area of my digital air check collection.
Most of what was on it I still have on CD or cassette, and even mini disc, but the chore of having to transfer everything over again is daunting to say the least. I tried running a free data recovery program that someone suggested to me, but it crashed just as it was ending it’s run after 5 days.
Needless to say I didn’t know what to do, and mourned for those lost air checks. A lot of those air checks I down loaded from other air check collectors, or received in trades. Some I remember, most I don’t. I wrote to two people I traded with over the years, and one guy said he had what I wanted, while the other told me her hard drive also got messed up, and the files are all over the place with incorrect names.
I called Western Digital, hoping they would have a solution to the problem. The best they could do was have me download a program that “might” fix or solve the problem. It didn’t.
On their website is a listing of companies that specialize in data recovery. I called one in Dallas, Texas, and spoke to a very nice guy, who told me they charge $150 an hour. What, I gulped. I only paid $100 for the drive and there was no way I was going to spend that kind of money with no guaranteed results.
During this hard drive meltdown, I was talking to Dick Summer, yes, the Dick Summer, and in the course of the conversation, I mentioned what happened. He told me about “his guy” that did all his computer work, Kevin, and his prices were very reasonable. Dick gave me his number and I called.
I got Kevin on the phone right away and explained my problem. He said his fee was a flat $150. For that price, I said yes and shipped it out the next week. I tracked the shipment and I knew that he got it two days later. I sent him a text the next day and received a reply the day after that.
Instead of texting back and forth, I called him and we talked about what he was able to recover. It didn’t look like everything was saved, but about half. I’ll take that over nothing. Kevin said he would put all the recovered data on a memory stick, and ship that back with the hard drive.
In the meantime, I still needed more storage space to replace those 500 gigs I just lost. I found a 2-terabyte external hard drive on sale for $109.99; that’s what I bought.
When I got the package, I transferred all the files from the memory stick to the new hard drive and started to organize them. At this point I have a long way to go, with lots of listening to do, since many of the file names don’t make any sense.
We never, ever think a name brand hard drive is going to fail. Well, guess what? They do and we’re never prepared. So once I get all those files straightened out, I’m going to figure out where and how to store them.
I recently saw a commercial for Carbonite; a cloud storage company that automatically backs up your files and lets you recover them if anything fails. I’m going to check that out to see if it’s for me.
I don’t feel like going through this again. Neither should you.
Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.
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