This post is the first in a two-part series sponsored by Gillware.
In January, Matthew was looking for a photo on our external hard drive. While doing so, he pulled the laptop over to his couch, thinking the drive cord was longer than it was, and the hard drive crashed to the floor.
Immediately, the drive stopped working. We would plug it into a computer and NOTHING would come up.
That drive had all of our photos on it for the past THREE years.
I remained calm at first. But after plugging the hard drive into multiple computers and the drive not working, I began to freak out a bit.
Then a friend and colleague said that he would look at the drive and see if he could get it to read. I was optimistic. However, after a few days, he brought it back to me at work, saying that he didn't think the files would recover. He said he could see the files on the drive, but they were all empty.
At that point, I began to cry. And then got a bit hysterical.
You see, I had no back-up system in place. Nothing. Yes, I had uploaded some photos to sites like Shutterfly and Walgreens, but 95% of the photos (particularly those since Adeline's birth) were NOWHERE but on that drive. (I had gotten especially lazy at uploading photos online since getting a home photo printer.)
Pictures like this.
And thousands more. THOUSANDS.
The feeling of losing all those photos was terrible.
I posted about this awful experience on Facebook and had multiple people say that hope was not lost and that I should contact a company named Gillware in Madison, Wisconsin. (Sidenote: I loved that they were located where I went to college and that many of the team members were UW alums.)
I also did specific research on my hard drive (a WD 1 TB drive) and learned that WD recommended Gillware for drive support.
After researching a variety of options, I kept coming back to Gillware. Though I was nervous about shipping my drive to somewhere out of state (vs. using a local company), I just sensed that they were the best fit. I contacted Gillware to see if they could help with my crashed hard drive. They thought they could – and they offered to cover my recovery fees in exchange for me blogging about this experience, which I planned to do anyway!
I hope that my experience is helpful to some of you, should you ever go through having a hard drive crash and losing all your photos/documents.
- Contact: The first thing I did when I was researching options for my data recovery after my hard drive crashed was to go to Gillware's website and submit a case. I was impressed that I received a call right away to follow up on my case. Gillware's customer service is really top notch.
- Ship the drive: After I decided to go with Gillware for my data recovery, I shipped my drive. I wrapped it in lots of bubble wrap and sent it via UPS. Gillware confirmed when they received the drive and said it would be about 7-10 days for them to review my case.
- Data Recovery: While my case proved to be difficult, Gillware was able to recover more than 95% of my files, which was unbelievable. They sent me a zip file where I could view everything that was totally recovered, partially recovered and not recovered. They also said that if there were any critical files that I wanted them to verify, I simply could reply to my email and let them know what files I wanted them to take a closer look at. I was so impressed by the kindness of everyone I spoke to at Gillware and was SO thankful they were able to recover so many files.
- Drive received: After I went through the list and let Gillware know that everything looked great, they loaded the data on a new drive and sent it to me. Here's a fun video of me opening the box and plugging my drive in for the first time.
- It's not if, it's when: Hard drives crash. It's not if they crash, its when they crash, so it is INCREDIBLY important to have a strong back-up system. That leads me to:
- Back-up, Back-up, Back-up: Tomorrow I will be talking more about back-ups, but for now, just take to heart how important it is to back-up your data and photos. Don't be like me and just put your photos on one drive and figure that's good enough. It's not good enough.
- Talk to a professional: Just because someone knows a lot about computers, doesn't mean they will be able to help you if your hard drive crash. You need to work with a professional service like Gillware if you really want to recover as much data as possible.
- Data recovery is not cheap: Data recovery is a very specialized and time-consuming process, which means that it can cost $100s, if not thousands of dollars. So, back-up now and often so you don't have to pay for it later!
Tomorrow I will be sharing some specific tips from Gillware regarding protecting your photos and data.
Connect with Gillware on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You never know when you might need their service – though I hope you never do! I really can't recommend their service enough. I will forever be grateful that they were able to recover my photos.
Have you ever had a hard drive crash? Did you lose all your photos/documents?
Post also linked up on Works for me Wednesday because Gillware sure worked for me!