Monday, April 25, 2016

The Great Computer Crash of 2016

Well, it happened. The computer crashed. And I mean literally.

About a month ago I was on the computer in our office (working on backing up files to the internet, ironically) when Zelda came in and climbed on the computer tower. It tipped over from her weight and smashed on the floor. Zelda was okay, but the computer was not. The screen was frozen and filled with lines, and when I restarted the computer an incredibly ominous clicking sound came from the hard drive.

If any of you have ever had a hard drive suffer physical damage before, you know that that clicking sound is the worst sound your computer could be making. It is the sound of hard drive death.

Jason took the hard drive out of the tower, and I found the best computer guy in our area and took it to him. He told me there was about a 20% chance that he'd be able to recover the data - if he couldn't, to recover the data would require sending the hard drive to a clean room (which would cost $1500 - way, way out of our budget). A couple days later we got a call from him - he couldn't get the data. We picked up the hard drive from him, and it's now sitting (wrapped in tin foil) in a box in our office closet.

The day after our computer crashed, it truly seemed like most of our data was lost forever. *Except* for the very most important stuff - almost all of our pictures and home videos were safe, because I had had a feeling earlier this year to upload them to the internet. It took me like two months of constant uploading, but almost all of our pictures were uploaded to Amazon cloud storage (they have unlimited photo storage if you have Amazon Prime, and we mooch off of Jason's mom's Amazon Prime - thanks Diana!) and almost all of our home videos were uploaded to our family Youtube account (the videos are unlisted, so they don't show up in searches or anything. We can see them, and if we share the link with people we can see them. We can also download them back to our computer).

So, most of the most important stuff - our pictures and our videos - was safe.

Then it occurred to us that we probably still had a lot of the other stuff, too. Last year we bought a new computer (this one) because our all-in-one computer(a computer where the screen is combined with the hard drive/rest of the stuff - there's no tower)'s screen broke. But the old hard drive was okay, and Jason had pulled it out and saved it to use as a back up hard drive. It's just been sitting in our closet for a year.

We bought a hard drive enclosure off of Amazon (it's a thing that you put an internal hard drive in that basically makes it an external hard drive), put the old hard drive in it, and connected it to Jason's laptop. And there was a ton of our old data! Obviously, it didn't have any of the stuff from the last year, but it did have a lot of important stuff that hadn't been backed up anywhere else.

So, after we recovered data off of that hard drive and Amazon Prime, the bulk of what we we lost from this crash is:

  • Almost all of the pictures from January, February, and March of this year. If the pictures aren't in this blog post, they're gone. I'm sad because I hadn't posted a March blog post yet, so all of the pictures of the girls that month have been lost. And I was going to do a post called "A Day in the Life of Ellie," because she's been taking a ton of pictures with my phone lately, and all the ones she took on the day we went to our local voting place so I could vote in the state's primary were really cool. Now they're gone. And also Jason and I have been wanting (basically since we moved here) to take pictures of all the awesome abandoned, falling-down buildings around us, and last month we finally did it. And we got some really cool pictures! And now they're gone too, and the buildings themselves are mostly hidden now since the spring leaves have filled in on all the trees.
  • All of the videos from January, February, and March of this year, and two from last year. 
  • The pictures from the second half of 2010 (which didn't upload to the Amazon cloud storage, for some reason).
  • The pictures Ellie took of herself with the computer last year.
  • A lot of Ellie's art scans from last year. Some we still have - we kept the originals of our very favorites - but a lot of her art we scanned and then threw the originals away.
  • A bunch of old letters from friends I recently scanned and then threw the originals away.
  • The transcription of my grandparents' interviews I did with them. This one really pains me. I still have the audio (and I am so grateful that I do!) from when I interviewed them a couple times a while ago, but I transcribed their audio recordings (about 2 1/2 hours of interviews) at the end of last year. It's a time-consuming process, and it took me months to get it done. And I was so happy when I finally had the full transcript. And now all that work - gone. I can recreate it, because I still have the audio, and I will - but the work. It's so much work. And it will take me months to do it again.
We lost some other things too, various documents and some more pictures and things. I am so glad, though, that most of our pictures and videos were uploaded to the internet (I'm sure that was a prompting), and that we had the hard drive from last year that had the majority of the rest of our stuff.

Anyway, that's the main reason I haven't posted anything this month or last month. Most of our pictures from March are gone, and I've been spending a lot of time recovering and sorting through the rest of our data. Now that you know what happened, I'll get back to the regularly scheduled programming soon. :)