Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This is your warning

Even though I can manage blogging, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, I am actually quite technologically ignorant. Basically everything I do online is what I've taught myself through trial and error, but when it comes to the mechanics of the computer or trying anything complicated, I get all flustered. It probably has something to do with that part of my brain that disallows me to retain math skills, follow written instructions or learn to play card games.

Have you ever seen that Sex and the City episode, My Motherboard, My Self? If you haven't, Carrie Bradshaw, who is a writer, loses it when her computer crashes in a big, bad way and she loses all her columns. "My whole life is on that computer!"

I totally get it.

Late last year, our computer started making a weird sound when it started up. It was a clicking sound. I mentioned it to Hubby, but when he didn't seem concerned, I didn't worry.

After a while, it started needing to be restarted a couple times in order to "catch" and actually start up. Again, I mentioned it to Hubby. "I think our computer is dying," I said. He said we'd start thinking about getting a new one, perhaps a laptop.

Then it started getting really bad and it was taking a long time and a lot of restarts to get the computer to "catch." I remember one day as I was driving Logan to school, I heard a radio ad about Carbonite Online Backup. A person I know who had fixed a virus issue on our computer earlier in the year had also mentioned Carbonite to me, so I decided I would go home that day and do the backup, just to be safe.

It took a really, really long time to get the computer started that day, but being the idiot I am, I didn't get around to backing up. Laziness is my only excuse.

Then it happened.

The next day... no computer. Couldn't get it to start up for ANYTHING.

I took it to a local fix-it shop. The two guys behind the counter visibly winced and said "ooohhh" when I described what it had been doing. They had the computer for a couple weeks before they called back and said, sorry. Your hard drive is completely fried and we can't recover your information.

The last time Hubby had backed up the files on our computer was in January 2009. One month before my second son Jordan was born. That meant his entire life worth of photos was gone, all my columns for the past three years were gone, everything. I was sobbing before I was even off the phone with the computer guys and I was very, very sad.

How could it be possible that everything was gone? It made me physically ill every time I thought about it.

I started scrambling, trying to find someone that could help. I found some companies, but you know how it is... with online businesses you don't really know who's shady and who isn't, and they were asking for a LOT of money. Thousands and thousands of dollars.

For a brief moment, I'll admit, I entertained thoughts of selling my wedding ring to get my photos back. That's how important they were to me.

So, anyway, that was that. All was lost. I was brokenhearted. And we were without a computer for a long time. That's why this blog has been stagnant.

Christmas rolled around, and we did our family Christmas morning thing. We always save our stockings for last. Generally, we open the gifts under the tree, play for a while, maybe have some breakfast, and then it's time for stockings. Well, it happened that way this year, too. We were opening our stockings, and I got to the very bottom of mine and pulled out this black box.

I looked at it.

What was it?

What IS this? I asked Hubby.

He looked at me and said the most beautiful words.

It's the entire contents of our old hard drive.


I lost it. I bawled my eyes out for whole minutes before I could even manage to squeak out a Thank You.

I also received a backup system for Christmas, which immediately backs up several times a day, every time the computer is on. And we got a new hard drive for the old computer. The laptop will have to wait.

I have my photos back. I have my newspaper columns back. I have my LIFE back.

It might sound melodramatic, but I take dozens of photos of my kids and my life in general every single day. It is important to me to document things and I truly enjoy looking back on them. I am so happy that photos like these aren't lost forever.

I hae thousands upon thousands of memories captured in photo form that I thought were gone.

So, Carrie Bradshaw learned a big lesson about backing up. So did I. Now here's my public service announcement for you.


I never asked Hubby how much it cost to salvage my stuff. I don't want to know, because I know it was a hell of a lot. He had to send the hard drive to another state, and the people there had to suit up, take it into a dust-free "clean room" environment and somehow bypass the fried part of the hard drive to get to the data. It's terribly impressive. I have a new respect for engineers!

So, I don't care if you use Carbonite or some other service or just an external hard drive, but please, back up your stuff today, and often.


likestocook said...

I also suggest backing up to multiple places, especially the important stuff. I have pictures in 3 hard drives, and 3 different websites. I learned the hard way too, but mine weren't recoverable