Crash!

It was late morning yesterday when things started to go sideways. I was trying to move a file into the folders where I keep my mp3s, on my external hard drive. It wasn’t working, and I thought that the computer was just being slow, so I tried an alternate route, and that didn’t work either.

And as I puzzled over things, I heard soft little clicks coming from behind my flat screen, where the speakers and the modem and the external drive hang out. I rose and leaned over the screen, and I determined that the little clicks were coming from the external drive.

Seated again, I tried to get to the main mp3 folder on my external drive, and the computer said that it couldn’t find the drive. Seriously concerned now, I unplugged the drive and plugged it back in, and the computer told me that the drive needed to be reformatted (adding helpfully that doing so would erase anything on the drive). I decided quickly not to do that, and called Dale, the computer guy down on Wilson Avenue.

“It’s making little clicks?” Dale asked. Yep. I told him. “Well,” he said, “folks call those ‘The Clicks of Doom’.”

I didn’t like the sound of that.

He told me the drive was likely lost. “It’s possible to get the data back,” he said, “but you’d have to pay someone a lot of money.”

“So it’s all gone?”

“I think so,” he said. “I’m really sorry.”

So was I, thinking about what was on the drive: 98,000 sorted mp3s, about 590 gigs’ worth. About the same total of unsorted mp3s scavenged from various places. The scans of my slides from my college days in Denmark, as well as about a hundred scans from Dad’s slides. All gone, from what Dale had to say.

Any bright spots? Well, in a strongbox upstairs sits my old external drive, a 500-gig piece that I stored away when I got my three-terabyte drive a few years ago. It should have about 450 gig of music on it, I think. And there may be a way to salvage some data from the three-TB drive.

A Facebook friend of mine told me that freezing the drive overnight might allow me to get some of the data back. From what I’ve read at various websites and boards over the last twenty-four hours, it might be worth a shot. I don’t quite understand why that would work – something about minor contraction of the drive and its innards due to cold – but I’ll think about that later. If it doesn’t work, I’m no worse off.

So I think tonight, I’ll nest the drive in two freezer bags and set it in the freezer. Tomorrow morning, we’ll see what happens. I have enough room on my main drive for the sorted mp3s, should I be able to salvage them. And I’ll retrieve the 500-gig drive from the strongbox and see what that holds.

And we’ll go from there. Sometime in the next week, I’ll go shopping and get two external drives: one for main use and one to use as a back-up once a month or so.

There is one bit of good news: At the computer, as I’ve mentioned before, I listen to my music through a program called RealPlayer. Right now, all of my 98,000-some sorted mp3s are still listed in the program menu, but they all have a little red X denoting that RealPlayer cannot find the file. That means that I have a list of everything I lost, should the freezer gambit fail. I can then make note of things that I gained elsewhere that I would have to go find again, if they are still around to be found.

I still have the CDs that were the source of maybe 75 percent of the mp3s. The thought of re-ripping something like 1,000 CDs is daunting, as is the thought of re-researching the release numbers and dates to re-tag the mp3s of all of the vintage music I have on CD. But that’s how things are when things crash.

Here’s Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs with their cover of Bob Dylan’s “Down In The Flood.” It’s on the duo’s 1968 album Changin’ Times.

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2 Responses to “Crash!”

  1. David Young says:

    sorry to hear this. I guess you didn’t have back-up. 🙁

    I have a back-up to an external drive HD and also to the cloud.

    I’m also on a Mac and use TimeMachine as an automatic back-up. Good luck

  2. Yah Shure says:

    Ouch! (crosses fingers that the freezer trick works.) If Hallmark made hard drive crash sympathy cards, I’d send you a dozen of them.

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