Today I think I’ve had one of the most absolutely frustrating experiences of my life. As the daughter of a man who could and did fix anything electronic just for the fun of it, I was raised to be cautious where electronic equipment and electrical storms were concerned. As a child I remember vividly the experience of a lightning strike on our fence that travelled into our house and literally burned out all of the television sets and radios that we owned plus causing tremendous havoc in the wiring of my parents’ fairly new home of two years.
I have always been very careful to make sure that my computer, printer, electronic equipment in general were all turned off or even unplugged when a storm comes through. This spring has been one of the most active in recent years. Last night as the latest series of storms rolled through, I made sure to turn off my desktop and printer. I honestly can’t remember if I turned off the external hard drive or not, but I think I did. (You already see where this is going, don’t you?)
In any case, after the storms were through, I did sit down last night to do some work, some internet surfing, and answering some email. I spent about 45 minutes going through my Jpeg photos, optimizing them to send some really cute photos of some of my students in class via email to some of my Kindermusik families for them to enjoy.
I did some work on my lesson plans for this summer as well as my website. I also used iTunes without any problems and downloaded some cool, free mp3 files that I planned to load onto my iPod this morning. Everything worked beautifully, including iTunes which resides on my external hard drive due to the massive amounts of music files (mp3′s and mp4a’s) that I have, as a result of my Kindermusik collection and other numerous CD’s that I own. Everything that I use in my studio is located on this 250GB external hard drive as well as my own personal stuff. I moved it all over from the desktop last year to free up space for my family’s use.
Well, this morning when I was awakened by my husband as he was preparing to leave for work, he mentioned that “that little box-thing you’ve got sitting next to the computer is making funny noises. It’s flashing off and on. You might want to check it.”
My eyes flew open at that announcement, and I rapidly got dressed and headed for the computer. I didn’t need my usual chocolate macadamia-nut coffee fix to get out of the bed this morning. My heart was already sinking, saying, “Please, no. Please, no” while my head (and mouth) was saying, “Oh, crap!” (Yes, Kindermusik teachers do swear from time to time. We just don’t usually admit it.)
After working with it, disconnecting all cords, using the compressed air, reassembling and powering up again, I got —- nothing. Not even a blip.
At first, I was still hopeful that it might be a short in the power adapter as I could tell juice was flowing from the power strip *to* the adapter. I just couldn’t see any evidence of juice flowing through the adapter *to* the unit itself. So, after “chatting online” with some idiot named “Ray” who ostensibly is there to “help” the Iomega customer but only wanted to sell me on the idea of buying a *new* IOmega external hard drive, I learned that I could find a new adapter at their webstore where they’d be glad to sell me one and send it from California. Depending on my shipping choice, I could probably have it in 3-5 business days.
Instead, I turned around and called my local Staples store where I bought the hard drive last year, asking if they carried any such thing as a 6-pin, 12-volt power adapter for said hard drive. The very nice guy there first apologized for not carrying what I needed and then advised me to call Radio Shack.
At this point, I decided to just put the entire thing, power cords, USB cord, *everything* into a bag and headed for my trusty, local Radio Shack where the very nice saleslady winced when she heard my story and told me she had never even *seen* or *heard* of such a thing as a universal power adapter like I needed.
At this point, I began to realize that I really and truly might have a *very* serious problem on my hands. Where the idea came from, I don’t know – possibly an online pop-up ad or a television ad I’d seen one of the few times I watched television, but I remembered that Best Buy had the Geek Squad and turned my van toward Turner Hill Road and Best Buy.
Upon consultation with the Geek Squad guy, I gave the go-ahead for him to try a new housing unit for my hard drive to see if it actually *was* the power adapter that was the problem. He first tried their universal adapter to find that it would not work in my case. After paying $40 for the labor and $60 for a new housing unit, I waited there at the counter while he took my unit apart and moved the hard drive itself into the new housing. With a *LOT* of prayers on my part, GS guy powered it up and plugged it into his computer. We both waited and watched his screen to see if the G: drive would appear.
GS guy picked up the new housing, put it to his ear, and pronounced, “You’ve got a bad hard drive. It’s just clicking once in a while.”
The next words were “data recovery.” I’m not sure how much of that information I actually retained. Suffice to say, Best Buy could send my hard drive off to Kentucky to recover my information, but it would probably take 2 weeks or more and cost anywhere from $250 to $1200.
“Don’t you have anyone local who can do this?” I asked.
“No, I’ve got a friend who had this happen to his computer, and he found someone local who could do it in about a week, but I don’t know who it was.”
Despite repeated appeals to this GS guy and another GS individual working in the same area, I was unable to obtain any recommendations.
I’m not asking for blanket emails or comments, but if any reader with experience in data recovery, either from a perspective of client or provider, comes across this post and can provide some *good* advice, please contact me in the comments section. I would prefer dealing with someone in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area, if at all possible. Four years of hard work, a collection of photos of all of my Kindermusik classes, and a lifetime accumulation of music is not something I’m willing to just let go.