I don't care who you are; every once in a while, you're going to do something so stupid, it defies rational belief. That happened to me last week when my external hard drive suddenly just crapped out. It actually wasn't so sudden; when I got my new laptop in August and connected the external HD, which contained hundreds of gigs of data (mostly MP3s, but also photos and documents), it started making this loud clicking sound. I Googled it and read that it likely had something to do with the power cord. However, if I had delved a little deeper, I would have discovered that it was the warning sign of bad things to come.
Ultimately, I should've known better because the drive itself was four years old, purchased when my last computer died on me.What I should have done a long time ago was back up the backup, either with another piece of hardware or via the cloud. I had made a note to myself several months ago to investigate backup services like Carbonite, but just never got around to it. The thought of copying all those files gave me pause. Stupid.
So when the drive just stopped working last week and wasn't showing up on my desktop, I knew I was screwed, although I was hopeful the data could simply be retrieved like it was when my old laptop died. Unfortunately, a buddy of mine said it was likely the thing was completely fried. I spent much of the next several days lamenting my stupidity and investigating data retrieval possibilities, which were either expensive or long shots, or both.
Then on Sunday afternoon, I was reading about how to attempt to get the hard drive out of the device when I figured I'd connect the HD one last time to see if it showed up. And sure enough, it did. I got an error message and tried to repair the drive, but when that didn't work, I just tried to copy all the files over to my laptop. I thought I was successful but I'm discovering some of them didn't copy over, but most of them did. I was so relieved that I essentially had a second chance.
Of course, I need to determine a backup solution for the laptop so I'm not stuck with all my eggs in one digital basket. But rest assured I will, because I don't want to go through that feeling again. It was like I had lost a bunch of my possessions in a fire, but one that I set myself. Here's to lessons learned.