technical difficulties – again

I has them.

I will update this post later. IF I CAN.


I don’t know what to say. I want to cry. Even though things could be worse. I think. Maybe. Forgive me, there will be abuse of capitalization.

I was having some issues with my computer (laptop) itself – the Explorer program (not the ‘net browser but the one that shows your folders and such) kept stopping responding. Part of the problem was a recent update (Vista service pack 2 is bad for Toshiba laptops! apparently!), but even on uninstalling and reinstalling and so forth, the problem was persisting. And starting up and shutting down were dicey. The issue appeared to be connected with my external hard drive (EHD). The one I keep all my photos and digital scrapbook supplies on. Why? Because there’s two-hundred-and-ten or so gigabytes of them, that’s why.

I thought all was good because I have an online backup service (I will not name them yet. Yet. I’m not ready to bad mouth them yet. YET). Except that about a month ago my EHD was inadvertently left unplugged – actually, let’s be specific. My laptop was “asleep” and in its bag, with, of course, the EHD unplugged. Somehow the computer woke up and performed a backup without the EHD plugged in. Fine, it’s happened once before. What you do is plug the drive back in and then wait (and wait and wait) while the backup re-synchronizes. It’s not actually backing up again – it’s just verifying the things that haven’t changed, and so on. The problem is, my internet here in the FREAKING STYX isn’t the best and so it was taking a long time. (And in the meantime, what about new things? Are they backing up, or what? How does it decide what has priority?) And then on top of all that, the backup started stalling, just sitting there, and I didn’t know if it was the internet connection, or what. And then throwing errors at me sometimes. So I started emailing with tech support, all the while wishing they could just back it up, revert to the backup from before the EHD was unplugged, and then go from there, backing up any changes, instead of this mindless, irritating “verification” process.

Tech support was not the happiest experience ever. It started out well, with “send us the log file” and “try updating the software.” Okay fine. But then it was “uncheck the problem directories from the backup” and HELLO THOSE ARE THE ONES I WANT BACKED UP. But okay.

Anyway, then the computer problems started this week. And the EHD seems to be causing them. And now the computer won’t read that it’s plugged in either… on and on. THE PROBLEM IS – that old backup, the one before the EHD was left unplugged, the most complete one I have? IS SCHEDULED TO BE DELETED TONIGHT. Because after 30 days they delete the old backups. I found this out when I called tech support to figure out what was going on and can they delay the deletion (I knew it was going to happen I just didn’t know it was TODAY). The answer to that last is (supposedly) no, by the way.

So I’ve been LOSING MY MIND most of the day. It feels like a conspiracy, this horrible confluence of bad timing, errors and so forth. All conspiring to GIVE ME AN ULCER. Because I can’t even start telling you how many photos and digi supplies I have on there. No, wait, actually I can. More than 90,000 files total. Almost 70,000 of which are the actual (unzipped and so forth) files. Probably almost 50,000 photos. Scanned photos, photos of my kids, on and on.

SO – This is where we stand. THANK THE LORD (I say with the utmost sincerity) that my husband is a techie. He is working on recovering the drive. I can request a restore of the early October backup – but it has to be on DVD, because, again, scheduled to be deleted. Which burns me because it costs almost $200 and I assure you that is NOT in the budget, and HELLO I PAY YOU FOR THIS SERVICE ALREADY. The problem is that the backup is so large and the free web restore is not going to cut it, particularly with my crappy internet, PARTICULARLY with that whole scheduled to be deleted thing. There is just no time for it. So I have to do it.

AND buy another portable hard drive (cuz my laptop hard drive can’t take that much and still function) AND buy another hard drive for backup. OR PERHAPS THREE. OR MAYBE I SHOULD GET MY OWN SERVER. I am now questioning the use of online backups for me, because of the volume I need and the sorry state of my internet connection (would I be able to ever restore files without paying out the nose for it?). I should start burning DVDs too but that just makes me sad because it’s a lot of work and DVDs have been known to go bad just sitting there. Though obviously EHDs have that problem as well.

So the quote unquote summary is:

  1. I’m really glad I didn’t delete the Halloween pics off my camera card yet, because they aren’t part of the backup I’ll be retrieving.
  2. I probably won’t lose my photos and digi supplies but OH THE STRESS.
  3. Super redundant backups are really necessary. Really. Not just one but SEVERAL.
  4. I guess I need to get back to printing more individual photos again. And uploading them systematically to photo printing sites that won’t delete them.
  5. Anyone have any advice? How do you back up your data? Where? What is the back up of your back up? Especially if anyone knows pro photographers and other people with lots and lots of files, I’d love to hear about it. Must I get a server? (As if I know anything about that.) Is that really the only answer?

Basically, even though it could be worse, I’m still stressed out and reeling. And left wondering bitterly, why computer, why? Why do I have to use a computer at all? Why do I have to love photography? Why’d I think digital scrapbooking was a good idea anyway? Isn’t there a backup solution out there somewhere that won’t let me down?




One response to “technical difficulties – again

  1. Ugh — I’m sorry for all the stress — that sounds aweful! As to what I use . . . . the answer is “probably not enough”.

    But, what I do use is Flickr. Pretty much only Flickr. I upload everything I take as soon as I take it (I upload big chunks overnight). I also order DVD backups from them every few months (once I get enough new stuff to warrant one).

    I only have one big issues with my method: while my Flickr account holds pretty much an infinite amount (at least, I’ve never had an issue), it gets SLOOOOWWWWWW once you get a large number of photos or sets on it. Especially when I go to buy anything . . . like a backup disc.