how much are you willing to pay for you?

My computer died the other day. Over the weekend it had had some problems accessing one of my hard drives, and Windows was running very slowly. I attempted surgery on it Monday night, but to no avail. Indeed, I believe I may have mucked it up further by attempting (and failing spectacularly) to re-install Windows.

I took it into a computer repair company yesterday that came highly recommended by Melissa Munroe. It appears that most likely the hard drives will have to be sent to a data recovery company and I will have to pay within the range of $500-700 to get my precious, precious data back. Which I’ve never backed up. Because this never, ever happens to me. Of all people. I am the literate one! I am a computer geek! I don’t mistreat anything! I travelled to bloody England and back with this Alienware laptop and had no issues!

$500-700 irks me. It’s a lot of money. But the value in the data on that hard drive I can no longer access… is incalculable. It is (almost) everything I’ve ever written – silly childhood stories, awful teenage poetry, fierce journal entries; it is all the photographs I have taken of those I (have) love(d) in the past six years, since I went fully digital; it is everything I’ve ever designed (that wasn’t lost in my previous zip drive failure); it is even a few musical compositions from back in the day.

I’m a creative person and while my work is hardly masterpiece nor genius, it is my own, and I value it highly: to know where I came from, to be able to reflect on that and move forward and compare myself to myself, to know I am constantly improving; these things are important to me, and that is why I will fork over the better part of my spending money in a month to get this data back.

I hope it is, indeed, retrievable. I do hope $700 is the max I have to pay, but that is simply looking at it from a pocketbook perspective. I’m unsure how much I would be willing to pay in the end. How far would I let the numbers climb before I decide no, okay, that’s enough; I’m willing to give it all up if it’s going to cost that much?

How much would you pay for the things you feel define you? The things you’ve created and value (not necessarily the crappy crafts you created back in the day that look like scribbles on used computer paper)? How much is the stuff you’ve made worth to you?

Further, it’s almost criminal what these data recovery companies can get away with charging for such a service. It was described to me what they do and it doesn’t sound like $700 worth of work to me. But they can get away with charging so much because a) people have no idea about anything when it comes to computers, so they’re easy to rip off, but b) even if they do know, they probably don’t have the bit of extra knowledge or the tools necessary to do the extraction, and desperately want their stuff back and c) all the competitors charge too much as well. There’s no real price competition to beat. People will pay to get their stuff back. And that’s that.






9 Responses to “how much are you willing to pay for you?”

  1. Hasan Avatar

    That’s harsh, good luck.

  2. icrow Avatar

    Just read your blog about the laptop and the hard drive issues. You might want to ask around (unless you are in a rush to get everything back) to find more prices.

    But $700 (while a lot of money) isn’t too bad. I have been quoted thousands of dollars for data recovery. Plus like you mentioned, this information is precious and valuable to you since you are the one that created it (plus the memories).

    If you have a tech-savvy friend, you can always try and get an adapter for the hard drive and plug it into a desktop and see if you can salvage the information that way.

    Best of luck! Cheers!

  3. 19day Avatar

    I keep buying external drives to use as backup devices, but I just end up using them as storage. I have two 120 gig internal drives and two 250 gig external drives. I just picked up a 320 gig external drive which I hope to use as a backup of the two internal ones. I just hope I don’t download several dozen seasons of television in the meantime.

  4. itsmypostoffice Avatar

    $700 isn’t unreasonable depending on your hdd capacity and condition. two years ago i suffered a catastrophic data loss after preparing a trip to india and paid through the nose to recover 2 drives. looking back, this was the best thing to happened because it forced me to change the way i network my workstations/servers.

    i discovered your blog through RFD and if you require a second opinion just reply here or email me. there are no strings attached – i’m a veteran RFDer and sponsor outreach programs teaching digital media in the GTA / feel free to research RFD & heatware regarding my status and trustworthiness:

    RFD id: itsmypostoffice
    250+ heatware:

    — need to know —

    * your laptop make & model
    * last condition of laptop hdd (does it spin up? clicking noises?)
    * hdd capacity & estimated data
    * XP reinstall: did you select Repair or Full installation?

  5. noahie know Avatar
    noahie know

    try one of the ‘live’ linux installs (i.e knoppix, or the like) as they often allow you to boot the computer off the cd and copy your files elsewhere. it isn’t always what the data recovery companies do, but it works more often then you would imagine.

  6. Dad Avatar

    Hope the cost doesn’t rocket for you.

  7. Igor Avatar

    boo on the smoking thing!

  8. Trish Avatar

    So sorry to hear about the comp. What a bummer. Hope it never happens to us, we don’t back up either. What I would miss is all the photos. I think I will have to get them on discs.

  9. Melissa Avatar

    My heart goes out to you. As you know, I have gone through the same thing you have and I was recommended to eventually consider getting a server. So, just waiting for prices to come down… In the meantime, I’m sending you all my thoughts and prayers for quick, painless and economical retrieval of the precious data. (from a not so computer-literate person)

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