At the end of my junior year second semester (the very last day, in fact) someone (its better if names aren’t mentioned) accidentally tripped over the cord connected to my external hard drive. This sent my 320gb external falling desperately to the cold, hard floor. Now, this shouldn’t have been much of a problem if I routinely backed my files onto other formats (i.e. another external hard drive, flash drive, cd, dvd), but this was a long, arduous task that I had actually been saving for the summer break since I would have time to organize and so on.
I was devastated when I received a call from my local computer tech telling me there was nothing he could do to resuscitate my external. ALL of my school work leading up to that point, ALL of the photos that my girlfriend and I had accumulated, ALL of the music I had since high school; ALL of it, right down the drain. It really was a heart-breaking moment. I felt as if that fatal crash wiped those images from my memory and I would never have them again, not to mention I would have a tough time putting together a portfolio with no work to show.
I was told about drive savers out in california (http://www.drivesavers.com/). Basically they take your old, busted peices of a hard drive and put them back together again, much like humpty dumpty. About 2 weeks and $2000 later they sent me a new external hard drive with all of my old work and photos intact. It may have been WAY out of my price range (thanks Mom), but thats the cost of a lesson learned.
My professor, Leslie, told the class to not only back up your work on an external hard drive, but ALWAYS make at least 2 dvds of your work. One that you can keep in a safety deposit box, or your parents house (wherever), and the other at your house organized neatly in a filing system. I now know what it feels like to lose it all in a matter of seconds, so this is YOUR WARNING. Back your files up regularly. I know how boring it can be, but in the long run your time spent on that is well worth it.