Coping with Data Loss.
Saturday 31st August 2019 was a big day in Ballygowan. Ninety two (yes, 92) marching bands were parading through the village in an event that was last held here 39 years ago. (And I was present then too). The next time it happens I’ll be 104, and I’m not sure if I’ll be fit to stand with a camera all day! So, with a great opportunity for street photography right on my doorstep (literally 100 yards away) I spent the day making around 700 images.
Now, because this wasn’t work, and because I wanted to be reasonably unobtrusive I took the Fujifilm X-T30, the cut-down version of the X-T3, a small but powerful mirrorless camera. (Had I been shooting professionally I’d have used the X-T2 or the Nikon D750, both of which have double memory slots.)
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I lost all my data – except for one single shot. This one.
It didn’t happen on the camera. It happened after I’d transferred the files to the computer and it’s no-one’s fault but my own. I deleted the wrong folder, then reacted too quickly when the OS reported that the trash was full. It’s gone. Probably forever.
The first moral of this story is that when you accidentally delete files it’s almost impossible (for the average computer user) to get them back. Especially, it seems, on a Mac. So you need help.
The second lesson to be learned is never to spend money in a panic, for there are people out there who will cynically exploit your anxiety. That’s why data recovery software is among the most expensive programmes on any App Store.
I tried two of them before I realised it was pointless.
The first was an app called DiskDrill Media Recovery, which I bought from the Apple App Store. Billed as ‘the most reliable data recovery app on the App Store,’ its blurb is compelling; ‘…the most user friendly data recovery app for Mac…’. Believe me it’s NOT! It can’t access the hard drive OS, so it requires a ‘Disc Image’ be created. That’s where the problems start. You need another download – a ‘helper’. Then you need an external drive to contain this image, and that drive needs to be bigger than your hard drive, so when you’ve found an SD card with 128gb+ of space or more, you can start, – only that the Mac then reports that you don’t have permission for this operation. So, you email the support team, who email back, telling you to follow the instructions (as I’d already done) and offering to sell you more expensive software – Disk Drill Pro. After all, that just might work…. Or maybe not? Anyway, buying on the App Store is always a good decision, for Apple always gives a 14 day money-back guarantee.
My now well addled brain was still feverishly working though, and I came up with a brainwave! Why didn’t I think of this before! Simple – get the deleted images off the SD card that was in the camera! Surely that should be easy. So I typed into Google, ‘Recover deleted data from SD Card FREE – MAC.’ I discovered a programme called S****** Data Recovery.
Hey! It’s FREE! Let’s get it. So it was downloaded, – except that its only the download that is free – to actually get the thing to work requires an activation key, and that is NOT free. But hey, it’s already taken 30 minutes or so to do the scan – let’s not be miserable, and look, – there’s a special offer if you buy today, just £59.99 instead of £70+…. So, what the heck, – and anyway the front page of the website offer the assurance that there’s 30 day money back guarantee if you’re not completely satisfied, so what’s to lose? Click BUY, and the next screen informs you that the price quoted is actually PLUS VAT, so now its back to £71.99. Still, what’s that when a full day’s photography is at stake – after all, there’s a 30 day guarantee, right? So, you have to agree to accept their 11 page ‘terms and conditions’ written in legalese, pay up and get your activation key.
So it’s all done, and the diet is inserted and the programme is run and…. It doesn’t work. It shows all the files, some deleted months ago – except the very files that I want. They are not there. Nowhere to be seen, so they can’t be restored. Ut that’s all ok, ‘cause there’s 30 days guarantee. In fact there’s even a helpful link in an email to claim your refund, so I click the link, and enter the required information, and back comes the message, ‘You are not LEGALLY entitled to a refund.’
I tried another 4 ‘free’ programmes, and not one of them was able to penetrate the Mac’s super-protected operating system.
You can see from my rantings above that I’m pretty miffed with all of this. I’m miffed by companies who heavily advertise products and use misleading language. I’m miffed by the way you can be drawn in, – little by little, ensnared by a free download, that won’t let you complete the job unless you pay, miffed by meaningless promises that are then surrounded by hardly intelligible legal caveats. Mostly, Im miffed by myself, – for trying to do a task when I’m too tired, with too many distractions going on, and with not stopping to think before I press the return key.
Lesson learned. Rant over.
PS. The one single shot, of the smiling bass drummer, got well over 400 likes on Facebook. So, every cloud has a silver lining!
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