I ought to be declared the queen of the tech gremlins given how much time they like to spend around me. If you didn't catch my Twitter rants, I recently had my server hacked (this site was fine). As soon as that was settled, my laptop hard drive died. The data was not recoverable. Of course, things weren't backed up as recently as they should have been.
I had two indie publishing projects in the works saved to that machine.
- A full nonfiction manuscript.
- The first chapter of a novel, both an original and edited version.
The novel edits were lost. Fortunately it was only one chapter, based on beta reader feedback. I can handle new edits on one chapter. And that beta reader still had a copy of the original, so that was preserved.
I was far more concerned about the nonfiction book manuscript. I did have a backup of this file on a flash drive. That drive worked very recently. But when I went to restore that backup in another computer system, the drive failed. Yes. My backup -- the copy that's supposed to save my ass when (not if) the main system crashes -- failed. The drive somehow became corrupted.
There was one copy of this manuscript left -- the print copy where I'm making edits. The thought of retyping hundreds of pages of content had me wanting to scream, cry, and let loose some maniacal laugher all at once. But okay. At least all wasn't lost. And my sister agreed to help me re-type the manuscript if I needed her to (I'd hire her of course).
I decided to make one last ditch effort to restore the flash drive files. I was extremely fortunate. While the file system was f*d, the files themselves still existed on the drive. There are two free tools I sometimes use for situations like this.
These darling little applications can help you find and resurrect lost and deleted files. Hell. I recently deleted files from an SD card from a trip and stored them on my now-dead laptop. Recuva helped me find and restore those files from the card, even though they were intentionally deleted. I'm in love with these tools.
So the next time you accidentally delete the latest version of a manuscript or something happens to your drive, don't give up hope too quickly. Try these tools and see if they can help you recover your data. I'd give you the same old spiel: backup, backup, backup! (Boy do I hate hearing that.) But then what happens when your backups crap out on you? Now you know.
Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media - a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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