Comments: MOST OF MY LIFE IS GONE

I'm really sorry to hear this, Sarah. Most of my diary is still on paper back in Hawaii. If my house there ever burns down ... oh well, at least I'll still have my memories. (And that's *all* I have of the years before 1993, before I started writing a diary.)

When I shudder at imagining such a loss, I try to comfort myself by saying, it's the act of creation that's more important than retaining the creation, and I can still create. Losing the ability to write would be a far bigger blow.

Since I got a CD burner in 1996 I've always made at least two copies of everything, and for the most critical files (e.g., my diary) I have many copies. When my hard drive died after only one year of use in 1997, my policy paid off - I got a new, bigger hard drive and moved everything onto it.

A couple of years ago, I started transferring my CD-ROMs to DVD. So far almost none of my CD-ROMs have gone bad, with the exception of one or two CD-RWs. Fortunately, all key files survived on other disks, and nothing important was lost.

I know one guy who has an external drive backing up everything in real time (?). Turned out to be a lifesaver for him after a computer crash. I should do the same thing. Maybe I'll get myself such a drive when I buy a new laptop at the end of this year. Backups are a big issue for me because I'm constantly changing computers. My laptops wear out very quickly. If I'm not asleep, I'm using a computer - both at home and at work.

One more thing - be careful when selecting CDs and DVDs for backups. Lots of good advice here:

http://www.digitalfaq.com/media/

I can verify its DVD ratings from experience. It's really hard to find reliable DVDs.

Posted by Amritas at September 17, 2007 09:28 AM

It may have cracked during your last move - changes in temperature that kind of thing. There are many ways it can happen.

I don't know what the price might be - but there are data recovery specialists out there. This is one that I've found by searching...

http://www.datarecoveryspecialist.com/

you may want to try googling up a few more. I chose this one as they seem to work with personal data as opposed to business data. You could also check your area for computer businesses and call them they may have leads in the area. But for now, until you find you absolutely can not get it back... don't thow out the disk!

Also, for really important stuff - it needs double backups - two different sources stored in 2 different places. That's about the best you can do to keep your data from being lost. There are even free online backup places that let you back up your data and they store it (encrypted sites only please) for you. So then you have the CD and the online backup... not to say they can't both fail - but there's less chance of total loss.

Posted by Teresa at September 17, 2007 11:59 AM

Thanks to Teresa for pointing out data recovery services exist. Many of Sarah's readers could benefit from this information.

Here's a tip I recently learned that I left out: don't write on CDs and DVDs:

/cs/docs/leaflets/g81/#heading6
(at cam dot ac dot uk; mu.nu won't let me post the URL)

"Don't write on CDs or DVDs, even with a soft marker pen as the ink damages the surface. Use a CD label instead and write on it before affixing it to CD."

Even labels make me uneasy. Stickers don't necessarily stick forever, and I'd hate to have a peeling sticker impede disc playback. I store my discs in jewel cases with paper labels that I handwrote or printed using my computer.

Posted by Amritas at September 17, 2007 12:56 PM

Sarah, I'm not a computer person, but found this site through a search and thought I'd pass it on for what you might find here to use. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&hs=SDm&sa=X&oi=spell&resnum=0&ct=result&cd=1&q=isobuster&spell=1 Rosie

Posted by Rosie at September 17, 2007 09:19 PM

Sarah,

I am so sorry to hear this.....ugh...I have lost so much in the past off my computers...I feel for you with the loss of your backup. I have recently backed up my POS laptop, by the way I hate Dell products.....sorry off topic there....

And of course none of this will help you with your current issue....so {{{hugs}}} on that but here is what I do now....

I also recently bought a 250 gig external backup harddrive (no I have not used it yet....I have good ideas, bad implementation) but the last time our desktop had it's major issues, I had a computer guy (friend of my husband's) make two copies of that hard drive on CD's and then a DVD of it as well...they are in cases and are labeled with sharpie permanent markers...and kept in our safe.....as are all of our back ups.

Also when I upload new photos to our computer I move the old ones after I back them up to a folder in the computer itself that says they have been backed up so I know what I have to burn....this will all become much easier once I begin to back them up. I also have now begun to upload all my favorite ones to a photobucket account and I use box.net for important documents.....that way if I do not have my computer with me and I need to access any of them I can from where ever I am.....not to mention, if I lose them, much like your paper, I will not really have lost them, they are online....

Of course, I do need to remember the darn passwords....

Okay, now I really need to get busy using that backup hard drive....cause this laptop will be lucky to survive another crash, it may end up in the back yard!!!

Posted by A Soldier's Wife at September 18, 2007 11:57 AM

One of my teachers said she backs everything up on a thumb drive. hat way she has it wih her at all times and can pull up anything she needs right now.

Posted by Reasa at September 18, 2007 05:02 PM