Where did my pictures go?

Posted on 25 December 2008, 14:12

A damn’ strange thing happened to me a couple of nights ago…

I keep my images backed up on three separate hard drives and dump my best RAWs to DVD as and when needed.

One of these hard drives, a cheap and cheerful Seagate/Maxtor Basics 500gb USB unit, has trundled along quite happily since August when I bought it, until two nights ago when – in a remarkably selective “failure” – it lost nearly all of the images I’d stored on it from my Canon 40D (CR2s, tiffs and jpegs).

I say “selective”, because all of my 30D files are still there, my MP3 files are still there, the directory structures for the 40D files are there: even Raw Therapee “pp” files (the processing parameters – a bit like Adobe “sidecar” files) are there for all the missing images.

Stranger still, some of the 40D folders (which are named for the date of the shoot) are intact: it’s an “all or nothing” thing, with a date directory either complete, or completely empty – none of them have lost some files.

And other folders stored outside of the 40D “root” directory containing 40D images (like my Norfolk 2008 images) are fine too.

I have no idea how this might have happened, and neither, so it would seem, does anyone else.

Never one to ignore a learning opportunity, I’ve since managed to recover the CR2 files with a little freeware recovery program called DataRecovery. About 100 CR2s have been recovered but are corrupted, and all of my jpegs are stuffed – recoverable but unreadable.

So, although this isn’t a catastrophe, it’s given me pause for thought about my back-up strategy: redundancy across external hard drives is great and all, but I’ve decided that I need to go a bit further.

To that end, I’ve just signed up for an account with Mozy.

This is a $5 a month (which equates to a one-off annual payment of about £37), unlimited storage deal, and – using their own software – I’m backing up my images as we speak.

Great value, and if the reviews are anything to go by, the best deal out there.

The downside (if it is one) is that my initial back-up run is going to take over a week to complete, running 24 hours a day!!

Still, once it’s done, it’s done, and then I can automate scheduled updates to capture any new files from then on.

And to think that I thought I’d be bored over the Christmas!

I’d still like to understand why I lost what – and only what – I lost though.

My best guess so far is that a Nikon D300 user who resents the IQ of my 40D images broke into my house when I was at work and deleted ‘em all!

A warning:
Bear in mind that transferring as much data as I am in one go (63gb!) is going to push most ISPs’ “fair use” policies pretty hard, even with so-called “unlimited” broadband deals (which is what mine is supposed to be).

I’ve emailed my provider (Orange – yes, I know!) to get their OK that doing this as a one-off won’t cause me any problems – it had better not, given how much I’m paying for the crappy service they provide…

And as 3 January, still no reply from Orange – Christ, what a useless bunch of arseholes…

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