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I lost once again a lot of family photos and videos. How to proceed?

Hello, everyone! First of all, yesterday my gf dropped my external Seagate HDD (6tb) and now it makes two loud clicking noises when I plug it in but nothing shows up. It is dead. On that hdd there were all family photos and videos as well as documents (basically everything digital of value). In 2015. we also lost 2.5tb of data from another hdd and we could not recover it. There is a chance to recover data in service and we shall try it as soon as we gather some money to do so (I am from Serbia and data recovery is around $450-650 and I work for $320/month – which is average here).

Now, whatever happens to our data, I would like to ask you (considering that HDD’s here have around 30% higher price than in US and pay is waaay lower) how to proceed? I know I *have* to have backups in multiple locations/hdd’s and that is my bad that i haven’t bough two HDD’s but I simply do not have enough to do so. My mom is devastated once again and I will do everything from now on to stop losing our digital legacy again. Dad is angry because he does not understand how “I just lost our pictures *again”*. Please help.

Should I buckle up and get some credit from the bank to buy some HDD’s? Which ones? To put them in RAID or just to mirror it manually? What cheaper brands do you find best? Is there good cloud storage cheap and good for huge amount of personal data use? Please have in mind that with taking credit I can take around $1050 from bank minus recovery cost =~ $500. That’s my potential budget.

Thanks. Igor.

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26 Yorumları

  1. Consider backing up your photos and videos onto some DVDs. Easily and cheaply make multiple copies and keep multiple locations. Make sure you get discs from reputable manufacturers and try to get discs that are intended for archival purposes, which will have longer lasting dyes/pigments

  2. Pay $70/y for Backblaze and you will never have to deal with this headache as long as they are around.

  3. always keep your main archive stored away, in a dark, soft, dry and low place.

  4. Hi friend,

    Your post scared me. May I suggest this?

    I have HD1 in my desktop, and I load all my photos, videos and important stuff on it. My whole family history and hundreds of thousands of photos are on it. I then have HD2 also in my computer which is a mirror of HD1 which I manually mirror using freefilesync software. Then every month I take my external drive 1 and sync it to HD1 and my external drive 2 and sync it to HD1 so I have HD1 and 3 copies of it. I upload all my photos from my phone and stuff every month so that’s when I sync my drives to al match.

    Recover your data and make copies and keep them safe. Even if 2 drives fail, I still have 2 more and can quickly replace and get back to a minimum of 4 drives with all my stuff.

  5. Not trying to be funny, it sucks to loose data, but the problem was your girl friend just tossed that in the car on her way to u.

  6. This is janky AF but if you get 3x2TB storage from Google Drive (not sure of pricing in Serbia but it’s about $10/2TB here) you can pay for one month and then cancel the payment.

    Google won’t delete your data but the email part of the account will no longer function. This is probably the cheapest way to backup 6TB of data.

    Also just as a rule of thumb don’t move things like a hard drive that are so so so important. I’m sure you realize this in hindsight.

  7. Hello I like to help you however we are not magicians and can not do magic.

    >Please help.

    We can not do magic.

    1 )

    > yesterday my gf dropped my external Seagate HDD (6tb)

    I think this is the root of the problem. How did this happen ? Do you have enemies in your home ? Or special people in your home ?

    To cut a long story short I tried to explain some things to the people I live with or used to live with and this resulted in fascinating exchanges of words like me telling a woman that HDDs are like babies and not to be moved ESPECIALLY if they are plugged in, she did not understand and misbehaved next to my HDDs.

    I used to have fascinating adventures and talks with normies like me coming back only to see my room flooded with water because it rained and the window was open. They where opened by a specific woman who was thinking :

    >b-b-b-b its summer and you need to have a cool room

    No amount of explaining that the flooding got close to computer equipment and would permanently damage electronics was getting to her.

    So I simply lock the room with my computer stuff when I leave the room. These people seam not to grasp what you are telling them about technical stuff however will not break the door when it is locked. They understand locked doors. These are special people.


    > (I am from Serbia and data recovery is around $450-650

    > can take around $1050 from bank minus recovery cost =~ $500.

    I recommend you keep your HDD unpluged and do not plug it in since it is broken. You can only damage your data more. HDDs can store data on its magnetic discs for a long time. Unplug the HDD from everything, power and data etc. Keep it in a safe place where no special people will accidentally decide to play foot ball with it or decide to flood the room. Some shelve in an office like environment (not to hot or cold and no moisture) is perfect for this.

    You really need to think if you have special people like this in your life, also small children think if there will not be small children.

    No need to get credit for this simply wait and decide to send it to recovery later even 1 year later.


    >My mom is devastated once again and I will do everything from now on to stop losing our digital legacy again. Dad is angry because he does not understand how “I just lost our pictures again”. Please help.

    Yep this is digital for you it can break easily and all of it is either lost or hard to recover now.

    I hope you can learn from this especially that a new 8 TB HDD costs less then $200.

    >Dad is angry because he does not understand how “I just lost our pictures again”.

    Maybe instead of getting angry dad would contribute some money to get a second HDD or even better dad buys himself an external HDD keeps it in his home, you mirror your HDD to your dads HDD and if your dad lives far away then you are safe from fire damage and can recover data from this backup in this way.

    Another backup method for family pictures etc is DVD or better yet blu-ray you can get 25 x 25 GB BD-R for $35 (this is not cost efficient VS an external HDD) and when you finish putting your family photos in a folder like 2010 family get together. You also burn a BD-R containing this folder. Sure getting all the photos from all the discs will be a pain however can be managed.

    There are cloud backups however they also can have problems or simply bleed you dry of money with the payments you will need to do every year.


    >o put them in RAID or just to mirror it manually?

    A beginner like you should not play around with RAID. Also RAID is not backup.

    Copy them manually, there are gotchas this way especially if you have long nested folders under windows (I recommend simply creating a file container this solves this problem simply directly copy the container from the root of one HDD to another).

    However this is the best option for you.

    5) Zero cost exploits.

    Now that I think of it there are ways for you to get free “cloud backup” if you are clever enough and abuse some services enough.

    I think Mega.nz lets you have 25 GB of free space.

    So simply create a free blog like tumblr etc. With a memorable name.

    Use it to not forget all the accounts you are making.

    Now make a free Mega.nz account and the photos you made in one get together drop them there.

    Next get the mega link to this content and drop it as a link in your blog.

    If you generate enough data create a new free e-mail, make a new free mega.nz account and keep repeating this. Even if you loose the local files you are using to coordinate all your alt accounts and alt e-mails all you need to do is remember your blogs name and can get to your family photos this way.

    Keep in mind this is borderline abuse and gaming a system, there is no guarantee that tumbler will not go crazy and delete your blog or that mega will not detect the abuse and delete everything on every account you used on mega or that mega changes its policy.


    >Dad is angry because he does not understand how “I just lost our pictures again”.

    You can start by explaining to your dad that if he understands photos burning down and getting lost this way he can grasp what happened.

    Try to explain it this way

    >Imagine a picture made of glass

    >Now imagine my GF dropping this picture made out of glass

    >This is what happened, it can be put together for money however no promises.

    If your dad can understand this he can understand what happened in some way. Only in reality probably some drive head or micro controller got destroyed.

  8. Quickly checking the comments it seems like no one has recomnended Backblaze yet for cloud storage. Take a look at their solutions, pricing is quite reasonable, I have a couple hundred gigs backed up there and my monthly bill is only a few dollars.

    Also, you might want to prioritize. I’m pretty sure those TBs of photos have duplicates or many similar picturea at least. You could select some key photos like you would in an album which can then be backed up to cheaper, smaller disks, preferably multiple locations.

  9. Dude, that’s terrible, you should have been backing up ages ago but what’s done is done. Since local space can get troublesome, get at least a “lifetime” cloud storage deal. Lifetime aka lifetime of the company, you just pay once. Also don’t rely on those “unlimited google space” semi-scams, since G suite for non-profit will get limited to 100TB per domain and you’ll lose your data again.

  10. Sorry for your repeated loss, but at some point you should have learmed your lesson… its 2021, no reason not to have a copy of your family’s picture in at least one Cloud somewhere.

  11. I dropped my Seagate that I was backing up and when I plugged it back in it would make noise but wouldn’t read. I thought I had lost everything, but I found a program that worked on my drive got everything back. It is called disk drill, they have a free version so you can see if it can read your drive, if it can you can buy the full thing for around $90.00 USD.
    I don’t know if you can get it in your country. It was really easy to use and it got all my data back, the down side is that it takes quite a bit of time to do it.

  12. Hopefully this is a lesson for everyone to have a decent backup strategy.

    Me personally, two small externals. Once a month or so I plug them in, copy photos and video over then unplug and put them back in my wardrobe.


  13. OP…you should periodically back up to BD-R. That is what I am doing with my Archive right now. Every few years I back it up to M-Disc or at least quality BD-R. In the interim I back up to BD-R when the material gets to about 21.5 gb. If you don’t produce a lot, back up intermittently to DVD or even CD.

    If you are just saving to BD-R for short term temp work, cheap BD-R is OK. For archival preservation use high grade BD-R or M-Disc.


    Sadly the hi-grade Japanese BD-R I was buying at Amazon are discontinued, so will have to see how the Taiwan Verbatim BD-R holds up in the sun next year. I’m in the Rustbelt and sun testing season is over. Bottom line…if it is not of hi-grade optical disc or laser engraved quartz and it is digital…it is not archived.

    Good luck!

  14. Just use your backup, the data there still should be fine, obviosly make a backup of that too before your transport it anywhere with your clumsy hands.

    The HDD would have died anyways after a certain time so how it died doesn’t matter.

  15. Everything that everyone pointed out plus one thing.

    Compress all that shit.

    Because you had 0 backups or mirrors, and becouse this already happened to you in the past, I guss you are an average person and not a professional data hoarder like some people in this sub.
    6tb is quite a bit for an average user, and counting that you are extremely limited economically, the best option for cheap storage, is simply to buy less storage.

    Compress your videos and your pictures.

    I guess most (if not all) of your stuff is in h264 and jpeg. Look in to compressing to h265 and HEIC.

    You have to be careful not to fuck up, lose data in the process, or compress it in such a way that you lose too much quality.

  16. Maybe check the price for a dvd-rw drive and media. Depending on price, you can keep multiple copies in different brands, on case of bad quality or wear.

  17. Wow. I am confident more than half of us have had this happen to us. But to not learn and allow it to happen twice? That’s practically unheard of.

    Anyway, as others have pointed out, your first step should be recovery. Don’t try to fix the disk yourself. Don’t use a computer shop/internet cafe on the corner of your street. They might make things even worse. You get what you pay for. Decide what your photos are worth to you.

  18. WRT to data storage on the cheap at that budget, it’s hard to beat HDDs.

    I’d go for two good disks in RAID-1.

    From what you are describing, you need something like at least 10TB drives, probably 14 TB if you want some extra room for expansion.

    And probably a couple of BluRay disks just to make separate stash of most precious stuff.

    I’d go for ones that are priced low because there is some sale related to storage centers etc.

    You might want to start here:
    [Geizhals list](https://geizhals.de/?cat=hde7s&xf=3772_3.5&sort=r#productlist)

    Before going for purchase, Google for actual reliability report for the drives.

    After purchase do thorough check. Make long SMART read-write check on each of them and make them run for a couple of days at least, before deploying them.

    If you decide to use them constantly, make sure that they are cooled properly and there are no great temperature oscillations, dust buildup or condensation or vibrations. They shouldn’t run hot.

    They also shouldn’t constantly switch on and off while trying to save energy ( by parking heads). Each such cycle strains heads.

    If you decide to connect them just when you need them, make sure they are stored in antistatic bag in a place that is clean, cool and dry.

    After you power them off, give them at least a minute for spindles to come to rest before moving them.

  19. Trim the family. ;o)

    On a more serious note, I don’t think you can avoid seeking help from a professional.
    If that is not an option, you can check for example for stuck head.

    Sometimes disk can forget to park the head and over time it can stick to the platters.
    But for that you have to open the drive and risk totally ruining any chance of data recovery.
    If you decide to open it yourself, do it with drive inside sealed plastic bag.

    But before doing that, you might try cleaning contacts toward drive motor and head on main PCB. It is far less risky and it often helps. Take PCB down and clean the contacts on it with hard rubber and some alcohol and try again.

  20. IDrive in the U.S. is offering 5Tb of cloud backup for an intro price of $7.95 the first year. The website is a bit glitchy and will try to get you to sign up for $59 if you don’t go in through idrive.com.

  21. I actually have the same issue, my HDD was dropped and it’s making the same noise, can it be fixed to be reusable again or only to be backed up?

  22. For long term backup redundancy at home, I buy smaller but multiple shock/drop resistant drives that don’t cost any more than regular external drives. Two 4TB drives to duplicate photos/videos every 2-3 years worth. ($56 USD each) This is on top of my unlimited cloud back ups.

  23. Without meaning to be rude, you should realize that from what you are describing the problem isn’t that you do not have multiple backups, the problem is that you seem to have NO BACKUPS AT ALL, not even a single one.

    I can’t help with recovery; that is probably going to be as expensive as you fear from what I’ve heard.

    Cloud storage for amounts of data you have is most likely going to be on the expensive side for you as well, but Google still has it’s free 5 (or even 15 ?) GB storage for photos and video files, so maybe that is a path forward for you.

    RAID and mirroring is no backup. Deleting a file on a RAIDed or mirrored drive array will mean the file is gone no matter how many disks it’s mirrored on. RAID is not for backups, it’s for resiliency. Your best bet is likely to have multiple external drives (ideally different models, so they don’t all fail in the same week) that you only plug in to update the backups and then unplug and ideally move elsewhere.

  24. First, if you really need that data, do not power up the drive or handle it more than you have to. Leave it to the professionals. Powering up the drive may only damage it further.

    Do not RAID, do not MIRROR. BACKUP! Use the cloud. Look into free photos storage or even with a nominal monthly fee. Amazon has it, others have it, albeit some may compress the images a bit, but still better than having nothing. Keep up to date on where you store you photos though, as many frequently change their terms of service changing from free to paid or limiting amount of storage.

    Otherwise just backup to another hard drive regularly and keep it separate from your main drive. Even if you only update it once a month, better to have 95% of your stuff than 0%. Also use some form of snapshots, versioning, read-only backups or something similar so you don’t accidentally delete files from your backup. Even if you get an online backup, try to have a local backup on a hard drive as well.

  25. For clumsy people the only solution seems to be a cloud backup. Do you have Amazon in Serbia? Amazon Prime offers unlimited personal photo storage.

  26. First of all I’d focus on recovery. Recovery companies usually supply some media for the recovered data if that’s a hard drive you may end up paying twice.

    Get some quotes and find out what’s included.

    If the cost of a single drive is too high, maybe use AWS (Deep) Glacier or Azure or Google to store a backup once / if you recover.

    Good luck