A cautionary true tale

I’ve just reconnected a 1TB external hard drive to my laptop and I now feel sick to the stomach.  Every single file, photo, family video and other bits have gone.  Completely.

I used to feel an enormous sense of well-being safe in the knowledge that I wasn’t going to be one of those poor devils for whom dataloss was inevitable.   To save space on my laptop I also stored years of video snippets of my young family on there too plus a huge iTunes library of music.

All was going well until about a month ago.

I hope you have a backup

I started to receive some worrying emails from Western Digital, the back-up drive manufacturer, saying that a recent upgrade to my laptop’s operating system was causing complete and total backup data loss for many users with the same set up.

Was this spam?  The birth of an urban myth?   No.  It was quite real but impressively two emails later WD had sorted some fixes out for the poor folks who’d fallen victim.

Western Digital released a firmware update and shared the link in their email but I had no need for their fix.  I was an elite back-up ninja who had successfully dodged the bullet.  A month passed and it looked like I’d got off scott free, right up until 30 minutes ago when the drive just formatted itself and caused me to write this post.

I reconnected the USB cable and noticed that the backup wasn’t mounting and after much Googling I remembered the WD emails, dug them out and forlornly followed their instructions.

Within the last 3 minutes after a firmware update, a restart and much sweat the empty hard drive has literally just re-populated itself.  From nothing came something and like anyone who has ever had something precious returned to them I don’t know or really care how this worked but I’m just glad I can see my family growing up again.

The moral?

You think it’ll never happen to you but it probably will.  Hard drives break and software will go pear-shaped.  Perhaps I need to sort out a Cloud based back up solution that’s more than just the free version of Dropbox though it is does do a very good job and this last hour I was very glad to have it. Time to go and watch some videos now that I thought I’d lost but if you’d like to share any backup horror stories or successes do feel free!