Recovering lost manuscript

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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Bukarella

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Has anyone successfully restore lost manuscripts? I lost 40K due to a hard drive failure, and I am starting the painful process of rewriting.

Any "been there, done that" stories?
 

maestrowork

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I back up like a crazy mother... I also use DropBox, and I have been able to "retrieve" an older version twice recently.

As for hard drive crash... sometimes you may be able to salvage the files on it, even though the file system is trashed. You may want to go to a specialist. There are also applications that do file salvaging.
 

shadowwalker

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I lost a bunch of stuff years ago - I've heard that if you can find the right tech person, they can 'find' files on bad hard drives, but don't quote me on that.

Anyway, I use Mozy now - never have to worry about losing anything again (as long as I remember to add the file to their backup list! :tongue)
 

Chris P

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My boss had to have his data recovered by a professional a few years ago, and it was NOT CHEAP.

*backs up files right now*
 

Lauretta

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I use DropBox too. Best back up system so far. As for recovering a file, a tech person will be able to help you. Not for free, though.
 

whimsical rabbit

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I lost a bunch of stuff years ago - I've heard that if you can find the right tech person, they can 'find' files on bad hard drives, but don't quote me on that.

Anyway, I use Mozy now - never have to worry about losing anything again (as long as I remember to add the file to their backup list! :tongue)

Yep, you may want to find a tech to help you out there. Just use google or the yellow pages or whatever to get some quotes.

And then install Mozy. Probably the greatest invention after the wheel...
 

Alan_Often

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In my old apartment it was so hot that the inside of my computer literally melted. When I removed it, the motherboard looked like a something Salvador Dali would think up. Point of the story is that my hard drive also died and I needed to hire services to recover it. The entire process cost 800 dollars (Canadian). The recovery service said they'd never seen a computer look like that, and when they came over to do the recovery, said the heat in the place was adversely effecting their laptops after only two hours. Definitely not fun, but yes, you can usually recover the data.
 

Chris P

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This suggestion will only work if it's a software problem. Get a hard drive enclosure (about $25 at Radio Shack). Take the old hard drive out of the computer, change the pins on the back from "master" to "slave" (there will be a diagram printed on the HD to show you which pins to jump), hook it to a new computer and see if you can find your files as if the old HD was a non-bootable storage drive, which it now is since you've changed the pins.

Best of luck!
 

dangerousbill

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Has anyone successfully restore lost manuscripts? I lost 40K due to a hard drive failure, and I am starting the painful process of rewriting.

Any "been there, done that" stories?

Been there, didn't do that.

The first thing you should do is sit down and start recreating what you lost. You'll be surprised how much will come back, once you start writing.

Since having my computer wiped in a thunderstorm around 1998, I've had a regular backup schedule. Currently, I use a thumb driver and two external hard drives, one for each computer. Also, current files are backed up onto a Yahoo Group I created for the purpose.

Three months ago, my hard drive failed. Data Doctors had a look at it ($149 cost) and said it would cost $1300 to attempt to recover the data. They explained the process to me, and I could see why it would cost that much, but it was still too rich for me, especially since there was no certainty of recovery.

My backup was a month old for business files, two months for personal photos, ebooks, etc. I had to recover the lost business files by scanning printed documents. I got most photos back from relatives and friends I'd shared them with. A thumb drive contained my current writing projects. So I lost just a few documents.

Now I have Carbonite ( carbonite.com ). For $55 a year, they back up everything dynamically, ie, every time you save a file, it's backed up to their servers, wherever they are (Leningrad? Tehran? Beijing?). Anyway, I've tested the system. When I accidentally overwrote an old invoice, I was able to recover the original file from Carbonite within two minutes.

Dangerous Bill
 

maestrowork

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Now I have Carbonite ( carbonite.com ). For $55 a year, they back up everything dynamically, ie, every time you save a file, it's backed up to their servers, wherever they are (Leningrad? Tehran? Beijing?). Anyway, I've tested the system. When I accidentally overwrote an old invoice, I was able to recover the original file from Carbonite within two minutes.

Dangerous Bill

$55? Dropbox is free and gives you up to 2GB... good enough for manuscripts, etc.

I also use Time Machine on the Mac. My back up drive is $150. Best investment ever.
 

ether

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Unless you're wanting to backup everything on your hard drive, something like what everyone above mentioned would work. I just use Gmail for my MSs. Once a day or every few days, I just email it to myself and archive it. So not only am I saving recent versions, but I'll have access to older versions if I ever need them.
 

illiterwrite

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This just happened to me. Have had one tech take a look, but he couldn't do anything. Am taking the thing into a recovery place this week to get a quote. While I'm in the computer area of town, I will also be getting an external hard drive and using Time Machine. Dammit.
 

Miriel

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I just periodically g-mail myself, though I'm going to have to look into this dropbox thing.

Sorry, someone already posted this while I typed one-handed.
 
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whacko

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Was it a hard drive failure for sure, or a Windows meltdown?

ChrisP makes a good point. I've got a collection of old hard drives, from failed computers, that I read via disk caddy. So if it's a software problem, you may still be okay.

I probably sound ancient, I'm just old, but my first HD, from a late 80s machine, has a massive 4MB capacity. That's only three floppy disks. If anybody remembers them.
 

tko

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find some local tech help

yes, it's possible. I've recovered data from hard drives, thumb drives, even floppies (remember those.)

Network around. You can probably find someone who knows someone who can help you. Maybe someone's son, husband, whatever.

The basics steps are (if the person who's doing the work doesn't understand these steps look elsewhere):

(1) Don't touch your hard drive as is anymore.
(2) Remove it from your computer and add it to another computer as a 2nd drive
(3) See if you can access it at all, or whether it's completely dead dead.
(4) If you can access it, you're in luck, use the right software to get the old files off.
(5) If you can't access it you can try freezing it. Yes, it can really work - a few times, you'll have maybe 2 minutes to get your data off.

If all else fails you can use a professional data recovery firm but that's $$$.

For the future:

Back up to a thumb drive, simple and it works, 10 full novels would fit on the smallest one you could buy today.

Back up the thumb drive to a 2nd computer.

If you use Gmail, email a copy of your work to someone every few days. Nothing is lost in Gmail land!

Always change the name of your novel once a day by adding a suffix (-1 -2 -3).

Anticipate flood, fire, and theft - assume the worst. With a little work you can make it impossible to loose more than a day's work.

Good luck!
 

jallenecs

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I use DropBox too. Best back up system so far. As for recovering a file, a tech person will be able to help you. Not for free, though.

My tech guy works for free. But then again, I gave birth to him. More importantly, I'm holding his PS3 hostage.

I, too, keep multiple backups, on an external hard drive, on my other computer, on thumb drive, and by emailing my work to myself. Finished drafts get hard copied as well.
 

Arch Stanton

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This suggestion will only work if it's a software problem. Get a hard drive enclosure (about $25 at Radio Shack). Take the old hard drive out of the computer, change the pins on the back from "master" to "slave" (there will be a diagram printed on the HD to show you which pins to jump), hook it to a new computer and see if you can find your files as if the old HD was a non-bootable storage drive, which it now is since you've changed the pins.

Best of luck!




Good advice. Do not erase that drive. Your data may still be readily available.

I like to do a couple things with my important data. The first thing I do is never put it on my OS drive, because those drives tend to fail more often due to the constant writing and caching of operating system files. So I have one hard drive devoted to the OS and all programs, and my "D" drive (a separate, physical hard drive) is relegated to data only. On top of this, after every writing session, I copy my fiction folder to an external USB hard drive and label it with the date. The final step is copying the fiction folder every month to a SD or CF card.

Since moving my OS to an Intel SSD drive, I have not had any failures, and the speed of my system increased to freakish levels. Solid State technology is far superior. I plan to upgrade my outdated platter drive eventually, so my data can be even more secure.

By following these rules you should be able to cut down on incidents. I truly hope you can get your manuscript back. Not fun.

I am guessing you will find the file once you hook up the drive to another computer and search it. If not, take it to a professional and have them search it, or try one of the many freeware data recovery programs out there.

Text takes so little memory that it's very easy to make frequent backups. Keep your writing folder strictly your writing and not loaded with pictures and video.
 

c2ckim

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I lost 175 pages once and had to do the rewrite thing. Now I save everything to documents and a flash drive. It takes a few minutes but its better than loosing it again.
good luck!
 

BradCarsten

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Has anyone successfully restore lost manuscripts? I lost 40K due to a hard drive failure, and I am starting the painful process of rewriting.

Any "been there, done that" stories?

that is horrible...... as others have said, you can get the data back sometimes, but it may involve swapping out components from a new harddrive with that of the old one, so it can be a little expensive. That said, how much is that time worth to you. You should contact some computer stores and get a quote.

I back up onto everything I can- I send encrypted copies to my email address, back up on 2 flash drives, write backups to dvd as well as store backups on another computer, so hopefully this will never happen to me- I would be devastated.
 

college boy

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I store everything in a subversion repository and have a cronjob to back up the subversion repository to a thumbdrive every night at midnight.
 

RJK

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My PC was infected with a particularly nasty and persistent Trojan. As a last resort, I wiped the hard drive and installed Windows 7. Luckily, I had all my documents and my email backed up to Mozy.
After Windows 7 was up and running, and Microsoft Security Essentials was installed and was running, I began downloading my files from Mozy. MSE scanned each one as it was downloaded, so I am reasonably sure they are virus free. The only things I lost were some old programs I never use anymore, and some old docs I didn't care about and never bothered to back up.
 

Logicbomb

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Been there.

When I tried to rewrite what I had lost the story changed so much it became a different story. When I realized it I said "eh to hell with it."

No I backup on my flash drive, my email, zoho.com and even have a few printed out versions laying around.
 

FOTSGreg

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I managed to recover the data from 2 hard drives from older co putters that did not survive an 1800 mile move in the back of a truck. Both those drives had a lot of info on them plus some older and more recent writings.

I completely lost all the data on several zip disks including a 3-inch thick (when printed) series of gaming documents. Those were never recovered.

I've lost lots of paper only writings, many of which were unrecoverable (including the frusta story I ever submitted anywhere (rejected by T.E.D. Klein at Twilight Zone Magazijne)).

I have 3 thumb drives (4GB & 2x8GB), a 320 GB pocket drive, and a750 GB external hard drive. I also back up to CDR, email them to myself, and you'll occasionally see one down in SYW here. I'm backed up so many different ways and in so many locations today that it's occasionally been difficult to locate the most recent versions of a story.

:)
 
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