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.