Friday, November 28, 2008

A Close Call

"Red Rock View"
Oil on Panel

Everyone reading this blog do yourself a big favor and back up your computer files ASAP if you don't already do it on a regular basis!! Just a little reminder from a moron who didn't and almost lost everything two nights ago...

You would think I would know better than this. I've lost hard drives before, and it's never pretty. I've been saying for months that I need to backup my files, and when my computer started acting suspicious a week ago, I knew that I really needed to get on it. I kept having certain songs freeze up in itunes, and I suspected that the files were corrupted. I had Nate get me an external hard drive when he was in Denver on Wednesday, and planned to back everything up that night.

Unfortunately, by the time I got the drive my computer was not recognizing any of my USB ports, so I couldn't download anything to the drive. I decided to go with plan B and burn DVDs of all my data, but that didn't work either since my computer got hung up everytime it found a corrupted file, and apparently there were a lot of them! So, there I was finding photo after photo that were corrupted, and panicking because I couldn't get any of them onto another disk - not good at all.

It was at this point that I realized how dependent I, an artist, am on my computer. I have 3,000 photos from this year alone, categorized on my computer as possible reference material for paintings. I have another 2 GB of photographed paintings from this year alone, which are the only visual record I have of my paintings, other than the photos on my website. I have a database with information on every painting I've ever done, in addition to collector contact information and notes. I have multiple spreadsheets of my financials, including the one I keep up-to-date for my taxes. Some of this could be replaced, but the photos could not. And so I spent Wednesday in a state of panic - I hadn't backed up my files in over a year - eek!!

Luckily my Dad was here for Thanksgiving (yay for computer expert Dad!!), and he reminded me that I could run Windows check disk to find and mark all of the corrupted files. I bit my nails for 5 hours while it ran (and while I watched it flag photo after photo as corrupted), and said a prayer as it rebooted. Luckily, it had removed the bad files so was able to burn DVDs of everything left, and also back everything up to external drive. I spent Thanksgiving breathing a gigantic sigh of relief (and ordering a new hard drive).

So, if you don't have backup of images of your paintings, database files, contacts, or anything important, DO IT NOW!


  1. What? Computer stuff? I can't even pay attention to what you are saying, all I can do is look at this painting. I don't even care much for red rocks and western landscape but this piece sure has my attention!

    Anyway, are you saying that I should be setting up my backup program-the one that has been sitting under my desk since I bought it last winter after my computer crashed and almost took all my info with it? Maybe I should install it, but I gotta look at the painting a bit more:)

  2. oh stacey, i am very happy to hear you were able to save your data, at least most of it anyway. no need to remind me, i posted this summer about a somewhat similar situation, but mine did not turn out so well. i actually stored all my files on an external HD, but hadn't backed it up in two years (bad me, i know better).

    short story: freak accident, chair leg caught the cord, sent it crashing 3' to the ground. toast. a local recovery company wouldn't even touch it, i sent it to one of the best, and very expensive data recovery companies...they tried and tried, but the damage was so severe they could recover nothing.

    i lost, images of long sold paintings, my databases, financials, all of my apparel company accounting records, all the files for my graphic design clients, everything. but all that i could live with, it was every photo i had taken of my daughter since the day she was born that still brings me to tears today.

    lucky i had a collection of her first year uploaded to shutterfly for books i made. but i lost 12-24 month photos. :(

    so yes, back up, and then back up your back up, because you never know.

  3. Oh No! I'm so sorry to hear about this...I am very fearful of loosing data. EVERYTHING I do is some how related to a digital file somewhere here on my computer. Because of this I invested it what I would call the "rockstar" of backups - the DROBO. I can't recommend it enough. The DROBO is a bank of drives; a bank of smart drives. This thing rocks! Check it out at I'm sure by now you have been thinking of a "better" system for file management. Before you spend money on external drives from the local office supply store, I think you should at least give the DROBO a test drive.


  4. Thanks for the warning Stacey. What about us Mac users? Are external hard drives, or DROBO (havent looked yet) universal or PCvs Mac specific? Thanks.

  5. I have been meaning to do that since Christine's incident, but since I am a procrastinator.

    Thanks for warning me again.

    Nice piece by the way.

  6. Thanks Tracy - that means a lot coming from someone who doesn't dig red rocks!

    Christine - now that you mention it, I remember your post about losing your files. I'm so sorry you lost all the pix of your daughter - had I not recovered most of mine, I would have lost 12-24 months pictures too - probably the worst thing to lose.

    Michael - thanks for the suggestion - I'm going to check that out!

    Marc - I'm not a mac expert, but you should be able to use an external hard drive the same with a mac as with a pc.

    Frank - I'm a procrastinator too, which is why this happened. Now, go backup your files!!

  7. Right you are Stacey! I just plugged in my external hard drive!

    This little piece is incredibly beautiful!

    I have FINALLY acknowledged your tag. Thanks. Come by to see who else was chosen.

  8. Oh my goodness - this has such rich brite but realistic color. So hard for many of us to achieve. An absolute beauty!!!!

  9. STACEY - yet another great painting.

    MARC, I am a Mac user. Be sure to upgrade to the newest operating system and use Time Machine backup program (it comes with the system) with an external drive, the bigger the better. It works and the interface is the coolest thing ever with the exception of Stacey's paintings.

    STACEY - I know you have been anxious to get back to large canvases. I have to say your small work is delicious.

  10. stacey, this painting is AWESOME. I think I'm beginning to like it almost as much as I like your aspens. almost. hope to see you guys soon!

  11. Beautiful painting!

    Thanks for the advice -

  12. 3000 photos! That would have been tragic. Thanks for the advice.

  13. Apparently Kresta lost the last 4 years of all their family photos recently -- despite having a computer expert for a husband. This is why I put all my photos on Snapfish as soon as I load them to the computer, and keep them on both our computer and the one at Dad's house... where I know they're getting backed up at least once a week if not more.

  14. I'm back again. Just a stunning design. I think you should appologize for the envy this is causing.

  15. I was just there and that's exactly what it looks like. I hope I can do as well.

    About the data.
    Ok, I'm convinced to go out and buy the external hard drive. I am getting low disc space messages :(