One morning back in April, my Lacie 3TB Porsche-designed hard drive failed. It was just barely two years old, and already, it wouldn’t mount to our iMac. I had bought it when my last Lacie external hard drive failed. Thinking it was an anomaly, I replaced one piece of shit with another piece of shit. I attached “the Porsche” to my work laptop, my wife’s laptop… you can see where this is going.
Failure. Failure. Failure.
Fortunately, for three years I had been backing up several key RAW files (anything starred 3 and above in Lightroom) to a cloud-based service called JustCloud so I had a safety net. I was selective, so each backup took me a half hour of work, totaling probably 80 hours of selecting, color-coding and drag-n-dropping files to their uploader.
Problem was, I hadn’t backed up files since November, so gone were our family Thanksgiving photos, several photos from our Puerto Vallarta trip, and even select folders from last summer’s road trips.
Gone. Gone. Gone.
So I packed up the hard drive and sent it to a company that knows the value of naming itself with SEO in mind: DriveCrash.com. Long story short: they salvaged everything, but it cost me dearly (let’s just say more than $1,000).
“Damn, Kevin…” you are probably saying. “All that cash for a few folders?”
Well, here’s the real reason I’m writing about this: shortly after DriveCrash told me how much it would cost to fix everything (which was three weeks of waiting, agonizingly, for a straight story), I discovered that several random files from my JustCloud restore weren’t downloading. The files displayed in their library. They just wouldn’t do anything when you clicked on them.
After several rounds of emails with their tech support, I got a straight answer:
Regrettably the files in question have been deleted in error.
It would have been nice if they told me this in March 2014 so I could have re-backed up those files when I had a chance….
So, yeah, I paid the a few grand to have an engineer in California reassemble a piece-of-shit hard drive with tweezers so that we could recover the RAW files of two trips to Italy, two trips to Mexico and a portfolio of work spanning Switzerland, Germany, the Dominican Republic, Maui, Kauai, Oregon and dozens of road trips around Colorado. Not to mention, the most precious “physical” thing I own: RAW files of my daughters’ first years of life.
So in sum:
- Don’t buy a Lacie Hard Drive
- Acknowledge that most hard drives will fail at some point so have a backup of the backup of the backup
- Get a RAID drive (or two or three) with dual action backup and duplicate your folder copying
- And avoid JustCloud like its a cloud of sewage odors.
I really don’t know what to say about backing up to the cloud. It is a great idea in theory, especially if you have a fire at your house. But given the hours it takes to upload and how even they are susceptible to failure … I’m more inclined to fill up another hard drive and store it offsite.