Ever since I got set up in my apartment there was something that I needed to do and that was to sort out my hard drives. I’ve got something like 11TB of data in 5 or 6 external HDs and much of the content is duplicated. So like I said, I needed to clean it up and hopefully get to a point where I knew where everything was, had necessary backups of the important data and was confident that everything was safe.

About 10 days ago I had cleaned out one of the hard drives that was giving me problems. The drive sounded like it was going to break anytime and it was the first drive that I wanted to clear out and then try to repair it… or throw it out if I couldn’t fix it. After, it was all cleaned out and the data was in another drive I decided to reformat it.

The first reformatting didn’t work, I’m not sure why, but I did it again. This time it was taking a very long time to erase the data. I kind of expected something like this since the drive was in bad shape. After about 2 or 3 minutes, on my finder window the name changed to “untitled” and it was good. Except the other hard drives that I had plugged into my computer at the time were now also named, “Untitled” My heart sank, and my stomach went to my throat… I double-clicked the drives and they were all empty.

So after about 30 minutes of walking around saying to myself, “I didn’t do it, I know that I didn’t do it.” I started to assess the real damage that was done. I had three drives plugged in at the time, so all three were reformatted. Two of the drives had very important items that I had been working on, like my new book and temporary video projects, as well as backups to both of my computers. All the data was erased, all of it. I didn’t even know what I had lost, just that the drive that I use for everyday projects was completely empty.

So I went to work trying to restore the files, the first program that I used restored the files, but all of them were corrupted. In other words, I could see the files but when I tried to open them, I got a ‘corrupted file’ error. I thought that maybe I did something wrong, so I tried it again. Side note, when it comes to restoring files, it can take quite a while. For just the first drive that I tried to restore it took about 35 hours for the program to go through the drive. Now I was going to have to do it again, at least I could see the files were there and I felt that I was going to get them back.

After another 30+ hours I tried again and the same thing happened. The files were there, but they were nearly all corrupted. It’s about Wednesday or Thursday about now, four or five days of this.

So I gave up on that software and went to another. It took another day or two to realize that it was going to give me the same issue as the other software. I tried another application and I didn’t feel as if I understood it enough to take a chance on my very important data.

So on Saturday I researched and looked around for something else to fix my situation and found the software that I’m using now. It’s slow, just like the others, but to my relief it is working. Yesterday I started at about 11 or 12 and by 6 it was done with the initial scan. I decided that I would start saving the files to a backup drive. Unfortunately though it took much longer than I expected and by about 8 or 9pm I realized that it had stalled at one file for about a half-hour.

The software gives you to ability to save the initial scan, but for some reason I didn’t do that and was forced to ‘force quit’ the program, losing the file structure that I had waited for about five hours to complete.

To sum up, about 8 days ago I accidentally erased two hard drives, both 2TBs, that contained valuable files that I absolutely have to get back. I’ve been working on restoring them since it first happened and I think that I have found a solution. Now if I don’t screw up any more, I should have both of the drives restored by at least next Friday, it will be about two weeks wasted for a stupid mistake… that I want to emphasize I still don’t think I made the mistake.




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