Thursday, April 4, 2013

Back up, back up, back up

My husband is pretty awesome.

And computer savvy.

In the seven plus years we've been together Jesse's built me four different computers. The first one was around six months into our relationship. The second was a couple years later. When he built the second one he commented on how the first one was quite crappy. When I pointed out that he was the one who built it, he replied with "I must not have love you yet when I built it". Ha. What a guy.

I had been having some issues with speed on my computer when I got the third upgrade, but I'm fairly certain that upgrade had more to do with his computer than mine. Many of my computer parts are those that come from his. He builds his computers to be optimal for playing video games, whereas I use mine for general computer stuff and storing pictures.

In the third upgrade, I also got a back up hard drive. Before then I tried to make it a regular habit to burn all documents and pictures to discs. I actually wasn't really that great about doing this on a regular basis, and probably got lucky that I didn't loose anything, but I did do it from time to time. And every time I got a new computer I sat down on the old one and sorted through all of my files... anything I wanted to save was burned onto a disc.

Last week, my husband announced that I needed a new computer. I haven't really had any issues with my computer so I was skeptical of his suggestion. However, he did point out that my power button was wonky and my mouse keeps disconnecting (at least a handful of times recently). He was right, but I wasn't looking forward to the manual saving of all my information and hoped to delay the rebuild if possible.

The next morning my decision was made for me when I attempted to start the computer. Attempted over and over. It just wasn't happening. My husband fixed the start button, and that might have been fine to keep using the computer, but this gave my husband the go ahead he was looking for to build me a new computer.

A couple days later I came home from work to discover that the husband had decided on all my new computer parts (and parts for a new computer he planned to hook up to the TV in the basement) and had them ready for pick up at a local computer store. He sat me down in front of the computer and I stared at the C, B, and E drives in front of me. Apparently, my main drive is split into two: C and E. B is the back up drive. Jesse walked me through the drill to save what I needed off the C drive. When he pointed out that the C and E were the same drive split I asked why there was soooo much more data on the C drive. He blew this off (lots of programs I probably don't need). We talked about having to reload Windows, but then said he might have a way around that. I commented that I would probably still save things to disc and he laughed. Apparently, that's old school and I should use my back up drive.

Since I had to work that day (it was a Saturday and out of the norm), I decided to go hang out with my kid while the husband went to pick up the new computer parts.

After Jesse came home from the store he went into our home office while I continued to hang out with the kid. I figured he was on his computer, but not long after I saw him walk out of the office towards the basement with my computer. Huh. I assumed he'd know that I didn't spend the last half hour clearing the C drive and that he figured out a way around me having to save all the files I needed to. Or maybe he was doing something else, right? I didn't know. But it turns out that he really was taking apart the old computer and putting the new parts in because a couple hours after our initial conversation my new computer was done.

After I put Riley to bed, I logged in and started reloading a couple programs and then I went to put my recent girls weekend pictures on Flickr (which I very recently started doing as an additional back up), but I could not find them. In fact all my pictures were gone from when Riley was 18 months on (she turned three in February).

Pit. In. Stomach.

I didn't know whether I wanted to cry or yell. No, I wanted to cry. Definitely cry. I told Jesse I couldn't find the pictures. "Please tell me you can retrieve these." He said "no" and then made some silly comment that they were JUST PICTURES and that I still have my memories.


He started talking about something else, but I couldn't concentrate on this new conversation. I just wanted to cry and then yell. I know it sounds rather dramatic, but taking pictures is something I really like and put a lot of effort into... taking the picture, processing some of them, saving them in a large and resized format. I'm no photographer, but they mean something to me. They were mementos of my life (mostly my kid). Sure I could pull pictures from the blog, but it just wasn't the same Not all of my pictures are on here they aren't in a large format for printing).

I finally interrupted Jesse and asked again what we could do about the pictures. Turns out that the recovery places he contacted wanted $500 - 700. To be honest, I might have actually paid that, but he downloaded a program online for $25 and gave it a try.

And it worked.

There was a lot of manual clicking and sorting. It took days, and I actually want to go back as there are some that were saved in the resized format instead of the large and I think I can get the large ones yet. I had what I thought was an organized system in how I saved my pictures, but it created some confusion when pulling pictures from this program as both larger and resized had the same name... they were just saved in separate files. Back in the day I added 'print' or 'resize' after the name of the picture. Need to rethink this and determine how I should name things moving forward.

Jesse did a lot of the manual work in retrieving the pictures as I think he realized he jumped the gun when he should have let me take the time to save stuff from my computer in the first place. Apparently, he thought I was saving stuff on E when most of it was on C (which explains why it had so much stuff on it).

Months ago I tried saving everything (after reading about another blogger who lost all her pictures) on the back up drive to discover it was waaay too small. I mentioned it to Jesse then, but we both promptly forgot about following up on that. After this whole debacle Jesse pointed out that the back up drive was his old one, and fairly small, and probably ready to blow up... so potentially useless anyway. I wasn't sure why that wasn't included in this upgrade, but the next day he went out and bought me a new one that is over 5 times larger.

And just to be clear, this post isn't about ripping on my husband as we both could have been more careful. It more of a friendly reminder to all of you to go out and save all your pictures right now... all those ones you would hate to lose.

As far as how I organize pictures, I usually have a main folder (Riley) and then additional folders based on time or topic (3 - 3.5 years) where all the originals are housed. Within that folder I create two more folders (print and resize). How do others organize photos... especially if you have an obnoxious amount of them? What do you find works best for you? How do you back up your pictures and how do you remember to do it on a regular basis?

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