Sunday, April 20, 2008


(LONG STORY, SORRY...but I needed to get this out and it might help someone in the future)

Drama on my blog's birthday (that's just not right) cousin Kerry (aka Dupree) was taking care of some "house-cleaning" issues on my computer and well, all hell broke lose. We were there from about 11am until 10pm and what everyone thought would be something easy and fine, turned into a living nightmare. What Lennye would call a MAJOR debacle. The reason Kerry was doctoring my computer was because one day last week I made up my mind to back up all picture files on my computer, because there were a lot and I couldn't find my last back up session. Little did I know how many precious pictures I had on my computer...I'll get to that.

Every time I tried to copy a file, I would get an error we weren't sure if something was corrupt in the files or possibly my dvd drive just wasn't reading correctly for me to burn the pictures on a disk.

I was pretty concerned about it, seeing as if all living creatures were out of the house safely if there were to be a fire, my computer tower, because of the pictures, would be the FIRST thing I would grab. At least 8 years of my memories, Art, and life is all documented through photos kept on that computer.

So, Kerry was going to PIMP out my computer, make it run faster, etc...even put in a new hard drive with a sick amount of space on it JUST to store my ridiculous amounts of photos and music on so that the other hard drive on my computer would house/run everything else. I spent what I feel (being a non-computer person) was an obscene amount of money--though Kerry and his computer buddies see that as just pocket change for making your computer greater--not even the greatest--at Best Buy to buy these things Kerry needed to make it run better. In this process he was going to erase my hard drive by moving all of my important documents onto their server they have in their loft. (I will include the fun parts of the visit later)

It took hours for everything to copy properly and we watched it "say" that it copied all of my pictures. Kerry erases the hard drive, we go out and take pictures, he starts my old hard drive off on a clean slate and starts putting stuff back onto the new hard drive...we go to open the "MY PICTURES" file to find ABSOLUTELY NO pictures whatsoever.

At this point, I had to sit down. I truly felt like I was going to vomit. One could say I deserved this because I didn't have a back up...but that was the reason I was repairing things so I COULD back up. No photos. Not one picture from college, not one picture of moving into the new house/renovations, not one picture of one cute puppy out of four cuties, not one vacation set...nothing. He kept looking, only to find nothing and then I couldn't hold it together anymore. I broke out into an ugly was worse than just a cry. I'm pretty sure slobber was falling out of my mouth. Pretty embarrassing.

He of course felt like crap and didn't know what happened and sent us home. He was going to stay up and call some computer guru friends and get more minds on the issue. When Julie and I got out to the car, I'm pretty sure I cried harder than I have since they called me on the phone in Valdosta and told me my Uncle had lost his battle to the two types of cancer he was dying from. I know it seems silly to think about crying over pictures, but when I cry it's usually a short thing and I do my best to suck it up and move on...I let myself have this all out sob fest for a few minutes and when it got to the point where I felt like I was going to throw up, I cut myself off and we jammed out to some upbeat hip hop tunes on the way home. It was still on my mind though. I could still cry about it!

I think it upset me so much because those photos are my hobby and my Art. They document so many years of my life and it wouldn't be something I could get back. It would be like it never happened and as my memory started to fade about things, I wouldn't even be able to remember half the things I did and took pictures of. That felt devastating to me, to not have something to look back on for memory, for recognition of something happening once upon a time.

The latest in the drama is Kerry found an online program written by pro-photographers to recover lost photos on computers and cameras--when you think they've been deleted. How amazing is that people? The software is one of the free ones, because ones do exist that cost hundreds of dollars. After spending $300 just to have a computer that would house my photos, it was pretty sucky not to have any photos to do anything with and I'm fortunate not to have to pay for anything extra.

IF (IF the big word, keep fingers crossed!)they all get recovered and Kerry said that he saw it was starting to recover 750!! photos, they wont be organized in nice, neat little files labeled all beautifully like I had them, BUT at least I will HAVE them.

The new plan will be that it's easier to back up on a flash drive (with many gigs) and keep that somewhere safe. If all of this turns out ok, I'm going to get a small fire proof box and every time I update the flash drives, they will get locked in the box. Much easier to grab in case of crisis than unplugging a computer tower. I will be doing this, because apparently they REALLY do mean that much to me.

If I were you, besides the people in your household, think seriously about what means the most in your house and (what you could never replace) and how you need to be maintaining its safety daily, and how you would SAVE it if you ever had to leave your house...and do whatever it takes to insure what means most to you. I thought I knew how much mine meant to me, until it was gone and now I know better than before. Sometimes you can go back and recover something, but most times you can' it's better to not even have to worry over the "what ifs."


Natalie April 20, 2008 at 8:11 PM  

OH MY GOSH. Your blog made my stomach curl up into a tiny knot. It would truly be hell on earth to lose all those pictures! I am only semi-good at backing up my pictures (future clients, do not read this...) so I have had many 'what do take in a fire' thoughts that keep me up at night. Hadn't thought of the flash drive option....will have to consider it. Crossing my fingers SO hard that you get back all of your pictures!!!

Monkey April 20, 2008 at 8:45 PM  

Thanks Nat...if anyone besides Julie and me would understand, I knew you would for sure. You totally GET what it's like to tweak pictures, spend all that time and effort on them. The thought of losing them is devastating really. Another option Kerry mentioned is there's a place that will automatically back up your files for you for 50.00 a year...but I can't even put my trust in that--that it would all be ok--I'm one of these "I'll only believe it's good enough if I see it for myself" kind of the fire safe box with memory stick back up for me to grab in a fire is the way I'm going. Still no word on if everything is ok with the pics yet.

Sarah B. B. April 20, 2008 at 9:52 PM  

I cannot BELIEVE that happened! My boss's wife almost lost her dissertation, but GEEK SQUAD found it on their totally collapsed hard drive, so they might be a last resort if Kerry can't work any magic. SO, SO, SO sorry.

Lillian April 20, 2008 at 10:07 PM  

I am so sorry to hear that this happened to you. I was just looking at your flickr pictures a few days ago (I'm a crazy NYC cat lady who fell in love with Lucy over at Daily Puppy, and your family of pups and open-hearted personality keep me coming back to your blog.)

Not that it will make you feel any better, but this morning I lost a huge file I had spent hours editing yesterday (file was corrupted somehow and irretrievable). Due tomorrow, of course! So I'll be up all night redoing my work. Mercury isn't even retrograde right now, what gives! But I'm with you in spirit, in any case.

I'll say a prayer that you get all your photos back. Good luck, and again, I'm so sorry you have to go through this.

Lisa Wood Photography April 20, 2008 at 10:35 PM  

Oh my. I am so sorry this has happened. About 3 years ago my old (it was one year old) computer got struck by lightning. I lost all that years photos. Reading your blog brought back sad memories. I missed my little girls 2 birthday party, our family portraits while I was pregnant with my little boy, and a few holiday photos. I sure hope everything works out for you. I always back up my pictures now on cds but I am going to look into that flash drive thing you talked about. Well, keep us posted on any progress.

Lennye April 20, 2008 at 10:46 PM  

OMG! I need to start this immediately. Not just for pictures, but I have all this research on the computer now!!!! That would send me over the edge. As a matter of fact I thought of that today.

I've spent tonight looking for a picture of me and my mom taken when I was a junior in high school before she died. I can't find it, I'm freaking out around here. Also, we can find no picture of Dan and his mom alone. For goodness sakes people, GO TAKE A PICTURE WITH YOUR MOTHER!

monkey April 21, 2008 at 3:14 AM  

i've been documenting my life with photos ever since i can remember. i used to have a steamer trunk full of photo albums and when i lived in hawaii i had to leave it in our carport for awhile during a move. i thought the steamer trunk was sealed properly. it wasn't. humidity and photo albums don't always co-exist peacefully. i opened the trunk after we moved in and noticed mold on every single album. i had to throw out about 70 percent of my pictures. i sobbed and sobbed and mourned the loss of so many visual and tangible memories. my boyfriend at the time didn't even own one photo album and really didn't know how to deal with me sitting in the middle of the living room, drinking a bottle of wine and reliving each memory (aloud, nonetheless) as i lovingly gave one last look to every single photo before ceremoniously throwing them in a trash bag. it was emotional, traumatic, terrifying and (eventually) liberating. i realized that i had all the memories in me. the ones that mattered, anyway. and every now and then, while visiting the in-between world of dreamy waking up, a lost image will sneak up behind me and put its hands over my eyes and whisper hello. and my chest will bruise with swelling familiarity.
i want nothing more for you than to get those photos back. but if you don't, know that they are there.

kerry April 21, 2008 at 12:36 PM  


Everything is A OK with the photos! I was able to recover all of the photos. Turns out I didn't need to. the folder wasn't empty. Apparently when I copied over the files it saved the file permissions of the user so when I reinstalled windows it was a different user, so it hide the files from us. This is why i was able to double check that the files where copied before I erased the 1st drive.

I've been working with computers for a long time and I've had job with them since I was a freshman in college. I cant tell you how many times some one has come up to me with a floppy (now flash drives) and asked if we (the school IT Dept) could recover their super important paper for class that was due tomorrow! At VSU professors would even come to us in tears looking for help. MAKE BACK UPS!!!! I email things as attachments to myself and keep them in my gmail box. I also keep a copy on my web server, my desktop, my usb key, DVDs, and an external Hard drive.

So some suggestions to non-techie artists out there:

***Keep copies of stuff on different media in separated geographical locations!***

#Email stuff to yourself

#Keep things on a flash drive (multiple ones in different places to be safe)

#Have and external Hard Drive. They are cheap 1000gb (1TB) for ~$200


#Find someone with a web/ftp server and keep a copy there. I've got plenty of space and I'm going to setup Monkey with some of my space. If any of you are interested send me an email.

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