Monday, December 11, 2006

A cautionary tale

Yeah, I had all the usual excuses. I had a new computer; I was using a rock-solid writing program. Our server had just died and we were learning to live without it. My writing files were far too big to fit on one or even a couple of CDs, and backing up was a hassle. Sure, I thought about buying an external backup drive; but our kids are in high school, and our house is twenty years old, and the unexpected emergencies (new roof, anyone?) just kept coming. So for the past year I've been working without a net, and I didn't worry too too much. After all, my computer and my writing program were rock-solid.

But what I never expected was the day HAL (aka my Acer laptop running Windows XP Home) would wake up and decide to reallocate my entire D partition to swap space. I never authorized this change, folks; I just came back after a particularly busy week during which I hadn't used my laptop, which is my primary work computer, for anything but email -- and discovered that every file that couldn't be replaced was just freaking GONE. Ten years of work on the series I plan to start publishing next year: G-O-N-E. Ten years of digital photos. You get the picture.

Last night we downloaded Stellar File Recovery ( which went out and found most of the things that HAL thought I didn't need anymore. The bad news is that my rock-solid writing program (Power Writer) uses a proprietary file format, and at the moment all of my recovered fiction files are pretty garbaged up. But Stellar promises total customer support, and I already know Script Perfection, who develop Power Writer, are very responsive; so hopefully we will find a way to un-garbage all of the Most Important Files in the World.

I will keep you posted. Meanwhile, I'm sure you know a HAL. Don't trust him.

No comments: