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Digital tools and the proverbial question


Janel

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Ah hmm mm, some throat clearing here...

 

I had a very serious scare today. The proverbial question, "Did you remember to back it up?" has been often advised but less often regarded. For perhaps five years my trusty little external hard drive has stored what I have dumped on it, but my intent to get a back up for that device remained just that, a good intention. Until today.

 

After one round of disappointing news, I plugged in my little external hard drive to retrieve some images for use with a show application. Uh-uh. The device was not recognized, time after time. When the gravity of this little message window sunk in, I cracked. It has now happened to me, and I did not listen to my own advice! An appointment was made to speak to a genius later in the day, who was very helpful in showing me a way to first attempt to fix the problem, if in fact it was not a total crash of the storage device.

 

Meanwhile, as I did other things prior to my appointment, I called a friend and spoke about this problem. As requested, I later call the person back to report the outcome of the meeting with the genius. Well,,, is it catchy? The friend's external hard drive also became unrecognized by the friend's computer. Nothing worked to bring it alive. But, this friend has redundant back ups, the computer for the original, and a second external hard drive that is kept in a safe deposit box at the bank, and was not too concerned. OK, that is what I was going to do long ago, as per this person's advice back then, but then...

 

To end the story, I learned that the disk utility with my computer would in fact recognize and run a repair on the external hard drive. This was very good to learn about, since I did not yet know that the disk utility would recognize the external drive, though I have used it on my computers before. Phew! The repair was made and I have five years of stored and not redundant information available to me once again. I will now make redundant back ups, and put one in the bank, to be updated periodically. The other new one will reside at home, beside the old one that I will retire and be available if needed.

 

What a scare. Bigtime!

 

Have you backed up your files lately?

 

Janel

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Whew, close one Janel. I used to back up routinely to CD's and now have a shoe box full of unreadable disks. All of my photos for work done over the past ten years were apparently created with a program that I no long have and really can't remember what it was. I am now backing to hard drives with redundancy and use an online backup service called Carbonite The online service works in the background and does a fine job. I recommend off site storage for all your important files.

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Usually computers and related hardware hum along quite well. My friend Daniel who is the floor manager at Small Dog Electronics says hard drive failure(either internal or external) can and does occur without warning at any time, in the first day of use or after years of use. Sometimes you get warning noises, but not always. For these reasons, if you have data it would be hard to function without, I would recommend on site frequent back-up and an off site redundant back-up, which I do less frequently, but still regularly. Only you can say how valuable your photos and documents are to you.

 

BTW my own scare that Janel mentioned(how weird it happened just on the same day as hers) was sorted out by searching and finding a suggestion online. Apparently the type of external drive I have has issues that can develop around power delivery. Turning off everything and unplugging everything and letting it sit for half an hour and rebooting solved the problem. The drive is nearly 4 years old so I think it's time for a new one. It didn't have any data that wasn't elsewhere, but I get nervous if my computer or any other drive is the sole repository.

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Oh ! bad news for you but I hope it is resolved... this happened to a friend... he decided to back up his girlfriends work from the last 3 years (she's a jewler/smith) and accidently overwrote all of it.... and fried the external drive too.

Seems like there are tools that will allow you to scan back through your hard disk listing all the previous files like a palimpsest - ie even if you deleted the file it can sometimes still find it.

He was thinking of buying the same model and rebuilding it with the harddrive and another option was posting it to a specialist data recovery shop... not sure what he decided on but his other half was not impressed...

 

Mine is due for a crash any time soon... maybe now is the time to burn that backup !

Another friend keeps offsite backups with Amazon I think ? They rent space cheaply as do other places... you can get really fancy and have daily automated backups.

Ed

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