Last week I was traveling with an external hard drive containing a large portion of my images. Why was I doing this? Because I had a lot of work to do and I assumed I would get it all done while traveling. I have done this before, so why would this time be any different? I've gone through security, the xray machines and never had a problem. I always have the drive with me securely wrapped in bubble and in a protective case.
I know the first thing you are thinking is, of course I wouldn't travel with it if it wasn't backed up. Well, yes and no. This is a hard way to learn a lesson in professional work flow methods. It was not all backed up.
When I got home my Mac couldn't read the drive. Having recently relocated to Florida I had no technical support system in place. I decided to go to the geek squad at best buy. Still feeling confident that this couldn't be a big deal, but anxious none the less. They barely knew what they were doing at best buy. They were not set up for mac and they gave me no feeling of confidence in handling this problem. There was a lot of confusion. I decided not to leave it with them for retrieval, imagining all kinds of horror stories. They suggested I buy a black widow box, crack open the hard drive and try to retrieve the info myself. I did as they suggested and the mac wanted to initialize the drive when it loaded up. That would have wiped out all the images and data, so that was a bust.
I went to the local camera shop here in Delray Beach and they were much more helpful. In the end they suggested I get in touch with the manufacturer of the drive and see what or who they recommend, which I did. The company they suggested for retrieval is called ESS Data Recovery Inc. They offer several levels of service mainly in terms of time and money not based on the size of the drive. I took the standard option (7-10 days) for between $400 to $1900.00 retrieval costs, especially because there was a cap on the service of $1900.00. Their emergency service has a $250.00 estimate charge and runs between $2000.00 to $5000.00 for retrieval. Well, I received the estimate today, and, of course, its for the maximum amount of $1900.00. So I would have been charged $5000.00 if I had taken the emergency service. I don't know, but something seems wrong here. I'm at their mercy though. They claim the good news is that they feel they can retrieve between 85 to 100%. I have to wait and see. Tense, no! What a drag.
The moral of this story is back up, back up, back up!! I'm truly bummed, depressed and feel very stupid. I've learned this lesson the hard way.