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Hard Drive Failure


What’s the worst that can happen to a photographer?

Top of that list has to be hard drive failure. This happened to me, losing around 60% of everything I have shot over the years.

There was no warning, no hints, just one day when I turned on my PC it would not recognise the drive. It was one of those stomach chilling, nausea inducing moments. Rather than panic, I asked a few friends for advice and they took me through some steps to see if the drive could be read. I am not that competent when it comes computers so when I ran out of talent, I took the hard drive to work.

Fortunately they had some pretty decent software that would scan the drive. It took 6 days to find data on the 1TB drive and then a further 2 weeks to recover it. I went through a raft of emotions during this time trying to come to terms with the fact that I might well lose everything. I started to hunt around for a replacement drive and then a back service of some sort. I opted to go for a Western Digital My Cloud service and a Western Digital Passport. This way I can work on the Passport at home or at work and then back up to My Cloud when I am done. The “My Cloud” allows me to access the storage over the internet or through an app which makes life easier when sending last minute things to a client.

Naturally I felt awful at the fact that I had lost so many images. Frustration soon boiled over into anger which then melted away into despair and regret. I had heard this story numerous times before, it even happened to many of friends. I had no idea when I decided to ignore the warning signs. Ultimately my old external drive gave up the ghost. I guess it had been written to and read from too many times over the year.

For now this is the setup I will use, I will however change my Western Digital Passport each year once they have been fully backed up. This way I will have one physical copy and one virtual/physical copy. I would ideally like a third backup just to be safe. I am looking at Amazon Prime Photo, it just has terrible upload speeds at the moment. What backup storage systems do you use?



Posted by

Automotive CGI Artist and Photographer

3 Comments Join the Conversation

  1. What a dreadful experience for you. You offer great advice to others. I use SeagateMedia as my own cloud server back up, plus the cloud- but have some minor anxieties about potential hacking safety risks in the cloud.
    I have been through your dead drive experience too, I would rather have a tooth extracted!!! Although my backed up work is training and coaching materials and some photographs, I am self employed, so it cost me a pretty sum to retrieve what I could through a computer whizz kid. Not all was retrievable sadly.
    In addition, I replace leads and USB sticks from time to time & like my car, I take it for a service from time to time.
    I hope you never lose another of your amazing photographs. You are talented and it is a damn shame that any of your work has been lost..

    Great post, thanks.


    • It is just never easy and never fun. Backup systems seem to pray on this too with cost of purchasing said systems amounting to a small fortune. Routinely swapping out components is a good tip.


  2. Pingback: Why YOU should print your images | ShootingDave, the blog

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