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I Feel Utterly Sick with Loss

Our computer was acting wonky, so I took it in to a local pc support company, a mom and pop operation I used before to replace the keyboard on the laptop a few months ago. I told them, first and foremost, I want to back up my data, specifically my photos. The guy backed up my data and told me on the phone that it all fit onto one DVD and one CD. Had I given the matter more thought, I might have realized that he could not possibly have fit our photo archive onto a single DVD (had I gone and researched the storage capacity of a DVD -- which I did not). I simply accepted his report that the data had been backed up and authorized him to swap out the hard drive. Which he did.

I arrived at the store, collected my computer, the new external hard drive I bought from the guy, and the two disks which supposedly contained my data. I took the whole mess to my kiosk at the Siloam Springs Wal*Mart, and set about reassembling my digital life. I first fired up the laptop and immediately got the blue screen of death.

"Okay, the laptop isn't fixed, but at least I've got my data."

I put the home laptop away, fired up my work laptop and plugged in the external hard-drive. I put in the DVD of our backed up data, planning to put the photo archive on the external drive for a redundant back-up.

The external drive did not show up on My Computer, though I did get a little pop-up notification that the computer detected the new hardware. So, the computer wasn't fixed, and the external hard-drive didn't work, but at least we got the pictures backed up.

I looked for my photo archive on the DVD. It wasn't there. I looked on the CD, even though I knew the entire archive couldn't possibly fit on a CD. Of course I didn't find it there. So now, having paid three hundred and something dollars and relinquished the family computer for a week, the machine still didn't work, the external hard-drived sat useless, and my photo archive... What about the photo archive?

Speeding up the story now, the external hard-drive just needed formatting. It works now, but our precious photo archive has entered a twilight zone of the theoretically-retreivable-at-great-cost. The guy had reformatted my old hard-drive twice in an attempt to reinstall Windows. He has data recovery software that might recover the photos had he only reformatted once, but now he can't retrieve the data.

Turns out that the problem had nothing to do with the hard drive. It had to do with a RAM stick. We never had any need of a new hard drive. Had I done nothing with the computer, ignored the error messages and just waited for the RAM to totally give up the ghost, my computer would work as well as it does now, I would still have the $300+ bucks I paid the guy, and most importantly, I'd still have all of the thousands of photos I've taken of my children over the last three years.

The last time I spoke to the guy, he called to ask me if he should remove the new hard drive, and reinstall the one that we now know never needed replacing. He expressed his willingness to accept a return of the new hard-drive he'd sold me and provide me with a refund. Should he go ahead and put the old hard-drive back in place and reinstall windows on it?

Do you see the implication of his question? "Have you reconciled yourself to the loss of your photo archive? Should we add another layer of obliteration over it and start writing anew?"

Of course not! Of course, we have to retreive the data. It has not passed into the realm of the unrecoverable. It has simply passed into the realm of the unaffordable. It may cost as much to get the data back now as it would to buy a new computer. He isn't willing to pay the price to recover the data that he wiped out? Seemingly not.

And how could he have filled a DVD and a CD with data and not saved the photo archive? He copied all the data in the the My Documents folders for both Lara and me. He did not copy the Shared Documents folder. Guess where we kept the photo archive.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 23rd, 2006 03:36 pm (UTC)
You have my sympathies regarding your frustrating ordeal.
May. 23rd, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC)
You have my sympathies regarding your frustrating ordeal.
Thank you.
May. 23rd, 2006 06:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, oh, arrrrrghhhh.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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