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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

WD External Hard Drive Burns Out A Lifetime of Data

"I swear it. I noticed it last Sunday and pointed it out to my kids. They thought I was daft. They thought mom's really losing it, but they haven't stood watch over that spot where the wild daffodils grow anxious for a glimpse of green. They didn't know what to look for.
These are definitely reference photographs.  I can't seem to shake my fascination with lines intercepting one another, cordoning off spaces of various sizes which all go together to form a complex composition. Painting macro landscapes, the woods,  would be so much easier if I could.  Maggie's cat out for a hunt was just a fun shot, another sign of Spring, that will serve me well in a painting I did five or six years ago. She looks thin right now, but by the end of summer, that feline will need a spa reservation."
The photographs for that post are at the bottom of this post. They no longer exist.

Cancun 2012 - Beachwalk, watercolor
Retrieved from my blog
 EASTER SUNDAY, THESE PHOTOGRAPHS AND ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHS I've taken since I went into digital  photography are gone--wiped out by one Western Digital, 3TB External Drive, My Book Essential, just three months old, that over heated due to use 24/7. My family files are gone. My photography files are gone. My video files are gone. My art files are gone. All I have left are the ones I happened to take with the iPad, the Blackberry and photos I can download off this blog.   I tear up thinking about it.  I want our family's bus trip to Niagara Falls for Ellis's seventieth back! I want the silly video I took off the balcony of our room at the Ritz while Ellis was bothering me to go to lunch. I family and vacation history back most of all.

Mr. Fuzzy Pants, work in progress detail, oil, retrieved from my Blackberry
I kept saying when I got the external drive and the kids set it up for me 'keep the box, I want the manual.' They kept saying there isn't one. I didn't believe them. All devices and appliances come with how to use information. The vanity in my powder room is stacked with  owner manuals for all the appliances and devices in this house including the electric garage door opener and my hot water vaporizer. All came with an operating manual--some with a hard disk.  And they all have instruction tips and warnings--like don't use this device 24/7. It might burn out. They all have  troubleshooting in them and contact information. Not this one. Though I'm  computer short to young folks, I am a computer guru in my own age bracket.  And this old guru spent Easter online looking for WD's manual for My Book Essential. What I found instead was a bunch of other folks, young and old, crying they couldn't access their WD drive and the precious contents. It didn't make me any happier to know I wasn't alone in my despair. Their data woes and mine made me angrier at Western Digital.

Steve and Family, photograph. Retrieved from my iPad. It's these photos I weep for.
Beyond sad and defeated, I Binged  'data recovery in Michigan' and came up with a highly recommended company (Better Business Bureau)  called Digital Recovery Group Forensics, (DRG).  And that's where my WD external hard drive is now. Ron will call me today with the prognosis. If there's data that can be retrieved I have to bring in another external drive to transfer it to.  Makes sense. --BUT when Ron said that these devices only have an 18 month lifespan before they burn out, I'm thinking why would I store my data in one of these things again if there's a chance it's going to fail  a year and a half from now and I go through the same agony? A dilemma.  A reason to  buy some costly computer with 3TB of memory OR sizable space in The Cloud. I think I'm going for the Cloud.

Fifty bucks a year, I get 100 GB of storage. You can buy less for less. You can use the i Cloud if you're an Apple person for free--the way I understood  an article on the cloud in Wikiview. In the neighborhood of seven hundred dollars or more, plus the cost of another external hard drive, buys me any data that can be retrieved by my expert.

Waiting for DRG's call, I have crossed my fingers and sent prayers to Saint Anthony. An Artist's life is in photographs. Graphics take a lot of memory. Three terabytes (TB) should have lasted my lifetime, but the electronics couldn't support the capacity or frequent usage.  That's what we call a shanda in Yiddish, a screwing, a shagging  in English.

A GLIMPSE OF SPRING. Photographs that were stored in WD's My Book Essential until it overheated.

Green Springs,  enhanced photograph, Nikon Coolpix L120,

Blue Skies, enhanced photograph, Nikon Coolpix L120
Definite Reference Photo.

First Hunt, enhanced photograph, Nikon Coolpix L120


  1. What a Bummer! I am so sorry and grateful for the education at the same time. Most of my metal work jobs are are this computer and nowhere else. I don't even remember where the job sites are! Sorry your grief is to my benefit, hope forensics can retrieve them!

    1. Thanks Gus, but it was for your benefit that I wrote this post. I was amazed on Sunday at how many people were out there complaining about losing their external drive--and when the data recovery guy told me that these things are not meant to be used often--and needed backing up themselves--I was shocked. All our construction photos are in there too. If he can retrieve them, it's going to cost me. As my commercial would say: Family photos. Priceless. Everything else MasterCard.

  2. Devastating! All gobbledegook to me of course. I've lost all my pics several times, but mine aren't precious. I was hoping for a cheerful post today! Hoping you had several masterpieces to show!
    Sorry, I'm not trying to make light of your problems and I do hope they get solved.

    1. Who can paint when suddenly all their painting records are just gone! I spent the day trying to initialize the drive, but kept getting dialogue box telling me there was something wrong with the device, which didn't show up when you looked into the information on the device. According to that, it was working fine. Very annoying. Very sad. When I realized the extent of the loss, I couldn't talk. Tears just rolled down my cheeks. I was devastated.

      My photos were records--personal family event records and art business records when you think about it. Every painting painted sold and waiting to be sold was in those records.

  3. Nightmare scenario. Let's hope Ron over at DRG, an Saint Anthony team up.
    But your loss is gut wrenchingly awful and for that I am truly sorry and will say a little prayer for you tonight. Oh don't need or deserve this.

    I'm not going to say look at me aren't I clever, but, here are a few things I do that may help in the future:
    I also plug a 'memory stick' into a USB inlet and backup everything as I go. No help to you now, but it could help in the future. I also post a lot of my writing manuscripts to myself, as email attachments.

    1. Learn as you go computer users, me, learn the hard way. While I lost digital photos, I do have boxes of film negatives and hard copies in boxes. My family isn't totally lost. Vacations and family shot digitally are the photos in peril. --My art is my art. I have what hasn't sold. And what has sold hasn't been that much. I can reshoot it if I want to go through the trouble? I'll survive. Meanwhile, memory sticks, what are they? And what's their capacity? Hard disks don't hold that much. Should DRG want a ton of money, I'm thinking of letting it go and getting a graphics laptop for heavy duty gaming.

  4. Dear Linda, I know that hard disks,here, do not have external ventilation mechanisms, so use too long is never recommended.That normally used hard disks last for such a short time (18 months) seems strange to me, at least here in Europe is not so.
    I strongly hope that the data can be recovered.
    When I think of what is precious in my house, my thoughts turn to the data ... The future is in the cloud?
    I wish that your bad period would end soon and that you have the time to paint peacefully.
    (Nice to see the joy of the family in the picture).Hugs,Rita.

    1. From what I understand from this experience, external hard drives are simply for storage. The idea of using one to free up memory was a good one, but not for a person who uses their graphics 24/7. My error was not buying more memory for my computer or getting a new one with the larger capacity for graphics.

  5. "If it wasn't for bad luck you wouldn't have no luck at all". - famous old blues quote. Desperate news. Hope the guys retrieve your data.

    1. Got my fingers crossed--but the problem that this loss showed up means there's some work I have to do to insure secure graphic data storage--the proper use of external hard drives? New graphics computer? I still haven't heard from DRG. They say they are working on it. If restoration runs above five hundred dollars, I'm going to let them go, a hard lesson in digital photography and storage issues.

  6. Linda,
    I can only tell you how sorry I am for your loss and I'll keep my fingers crossed that your recovery is successful.
    A long time ago, we belonged to an on-line photo storage company called, "Club Photo". After a year or so, I decided that maybe it was time to order an archive album and luckily did just that.
    A couple of weeks after I received the archive disc, the company went out of business. A competitor offered to accept all of the victims into their fold, but we wanted no part of another chance to lose our photos.
    Again, I'm so sorry this happened and wish you all the best with whatever decision you make for the future.

    1. Thanks so much Gary. I've recovered somewhat--I'll always recall what photos were in that box with sadness. (It's funny how you recall each one you took). But it was fault. I didn't know enough about the use of external drives. I'm considering getting a Mac. Apple stores data for free in iCloud from what I understand? I'm considering getting a gaming computer with TBs of storage on the drive. I'm still waiting for a diagnosis, so I still have a bit of hope and a whole lot more to learn of about computers. I hope your new life in Hawaii is grand. I am jealous--of your new location as well as your great talent.

  7. Sorry to hear about your misfortune, Linda. I've lost a bunch of files due to corrupted disks but none as important as what was in your drive. I have made it a habit to store any important files on multiple platforms to be safe though. That said, while you may not get everything back, I'm sure you can always make new ones. I hope all is well. :) -Kurt @ Tab Data Systems