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My life's documents lost

January 28, 2013
by Kathleen Mears
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When I got my new computer last September, I transferred all my files to a 16 GB flash drive for the first time. In the past I used zip drive disks or an external hard drive. But computer techs convinced me that a flash drive was the way to go.

I have always known that backing up my data is very important. But I do not like to be reminded to do it. I also feared I would lose data if I made an error backing up. Also, using an external hard drive plugged in constantly can cause my computer to run slower.

This new computer has given me many problems. The tech installed a default hard drive that was too small and I wanted it exchanged for a larger one. But when I was told it would cost me $300-plus, I decided to wait. Therefore, I did not transfer my files to my computer's larger hard drive. Instead I left the USB flash drive plugged in to allow access to them.

I thought about getting another flash drive to recopy the data. However, I would need an aide's assistance to plug it in. Because I see everything as difficult when I cannot do it by myself, I kept forgetting to do it.

Last Friday, I noticed my USB flash drive was hanging down. When my aide pulled it out of the USB port, the connection broke completely off. The flash drive was unusable and I was aghast I had lost documents from many years of my life including receipts, taxes, correspondence, photos, a slide show of my family, the beginnings of three books and all of my other writing.

Because my room is small, aides compact things by pushing my typing table towards the computer when I’m finished with my PC. The flash drive was probably bumped, maybe more than once, and it eventually broke off.

To remedy the situation, I went online searching for data recovery and found an article in the New York Times recommending a certain company and warning consumers to be knowledgeable about which company they choose. I e-mailed that company but their bid was high at $500–$1500. So I e-mailed another company and found they charge $250–$400 for recovery of data from a USB flash drive. Most companies do not charge if data is not recoverable.

I am trying to decide where I should send it. I want my data desperately and I hope the company with the lower fee will do the job.

Today, I discovered there are data recovery centers closer to me. But since no company is closer than 50 miles away, I will probably ship the flash drive to the company that is most economical. If they recover the data, it will be returned on CDs.

Please learn from my experience and backup your data frequently and keep extra copies in a safe place.

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Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...