October 22, 2009


“I’ve never seen this happen before.”

That’s a sentence I never like to hear from my doctor, my dentist, or the tech guy who fixes my computer. But sadly, I heard it once again yesterday morning.

Luckily, it was my computer and not my body that was malfunctioning.

In the “documents” section of my computer, I’ve got 16 folders of data. One folder, for instance, contains the manuscript of the book I’ve been writing. Another folder contains all of my poetry. Another has all of my teaching stuff: syllabi, assignments, etc. You get the idea. Each folder contains realms of stuff I’ve written over the last 20 years.

On Tuesday night, I noticed that 12 of the 16 folders were empty. Everything in them had simply vanished. It was that moment just before drowning, when your life flashes before your eyes: all my writing, my correspondence, my teaching, all of it gone.

My sons were sympathetic, but unhelpful. “If you had a real computer, I could help you,” said Boy in Black. “But you’ve got a MacIntosh.”

The Tech Guy at the computer place, who supposedly specializes in Apple computers, had nothing helpful to say either. “Wow,” he said. “I’ve never seen that before.”

“On any other computer, I’d think it was a virus,” I said. “Have you seen any viruses written for the Mac?”

“Nope,” he said. “You’d be on the front page of the news.”

“Maybe this will be my fifteen minutes of fame.”

“Eh, better that than pretending to send your kid off in a balloon.”

I do have a hard drive that backs up my data so I was able to go the back-up from Sunday morning and find – to my great relief — all my data still intact. But now I’m going to have to plan a little vacation for my computer, a few days when I can leave it with Tech Guy so he can run some tests.

I wish it was me taking a little vacation instead. I could use it right about now.


Elias Alfred McQuaid IV said...

bahahaha, stupid macs. Another point for the pcs!

Lilian said...

YIKES!!!!! I don't think I'm getting a mac, then (we've been planning to get one for a long time). Sigh...

I'm glad you a had a backup. What a nightmare!!! I think Apple should reimburse you for your troubles!

Anonymous said...

I felt sick until you said you had a back up. Thank goodness! Good luck with getting it sorted out quickly and not too expensively!

Rana said...

That is very weird. I've never heard of anyone having a problem like that (and in all my years of owning a Mac - 19 years as of this point - I've never seen that either).

My suspicion is that it's not that the files have disappeared, but rather that something went weird in the directory - so the files are there, but the computer can't "see" them for some reason.

You'll have to let us know what the tech guy says.

(I too could use a vacation.)

Janice said...

That is a scary prospect and a great testimonial to the power of frequent back-ups!

I would wonder if the HD is starting to go -- that kind of shenanigans suggests that the directory, as Rana noted, isn't logging files in their locations.

Digger said...

The thought of losing my work like that FREAKS ME OUT! I've been using an online backup service; 2MB free, which so far is enough for teaching stuff, book stuff, thesis stuff, and other random horrible if it vanishes stuff. I use IDrive, but there are others out there also.

I hope your tech figures out what happened, and makes it not do that again!

Sarah Sometimes said...

like bsouth, I was feeling horrified until you mentioned the back-up.... Perhaps this would be a good time for me to back up my files on that little zip drive I use.

Jackie said...

All my files are backed up on my school's server, thank goodness-- hope your Mac is recovered soon, and so thankful for you that you didn't lose all that data!!

Anonymous said...

When you find out what happened... please post it. I would DIE... if my computer ate all of my stuff. I backup... but still... recovery is a long and difficult process.

PhDLadybug said...

Sorry to hear that but it's good you had backup! I have had macs for 20 years and it has never happened before. I would agree with Rana, maybe the files went under another directory. Try to make a search on it, maybe they have been filed in a totally unusual place. Good luck! And let us know!

liz said...

YIKES! You are such a smartie for doing backups!!!

jo(e) said...

Rana, Janice, and PhDLadybug: Yeah, that was my assumption too -- that the data was just under another directory. But that's not what the Tech Guy seemed to think when he looked at it. It's all very odd. And the computer is less than six months old, so it doesn't really make sense that the hard drive would be going already.

I need to find a few days next week when I can be without my computer so that Tech Guy can run tests on the hard drive.

Rev Dr Mom said...

I've lost my hard drive TWICE on my mac. In two years. But that won't make me go back to a pc.

And how funny it is for your son to say if you had a "real" computer...most computer geeks I know love macs.