Well yesterday I didn’t follow my own backup rules and got burned! On my main desktop I had a 500 GB Seagate drive connected via an eSata dock to the system. I was trying to copy files to this drive (an XP CD and SP3) to make a bootable XPSP3 CD for a client when I started to get drive errors!
Eventually I couldn’t access the drive at all. I tried several things to get access to the drive including several data recovery software packages and had no luck. While most of the data on this drive was backed up folders or data that I had backed up in another location, there was one folder containing pictures that I had shot of both my son’s and daughters soccer teams in various games and tournaments this season. In total there was about 3500 photos there. Unfortunately I didn’t back up this folder anywhere (against my own rules)!
Regular readers will know that I am an Adobe Lightroom user and luckily I didn’t store the catalogue for these photos in the same folder (they are on my main drive and yes these are backed up regularly to my various NAS devices).
I opened the Lightroom and could see that I had the previews for the images in the database, and so I searched the web to see if these could be extracted to jpg files. I ran across this post http://lightroomsecrets.com/2009/05/recover-lost-images-with-lrviewer/ which in turn led me to this software http://basepath.com/ImageIngester/LRViewer-info.php. I downloaded the software, installed it and was able to save all of the preview images as jpg files. Earlier today I found that my favorite Lightroom plugin author also has a similar plug in on his site that is available here http://regex.info/blog/lightroom-goodies/preview-extraction.
While these are lower resolution files than what I originally had at least for posting to the web and allowing the parents to print 4 x 6 images they will be fine. Another thing I noticed is that not all of the preview files were full sized. Most of the images that I had marked for export were in a larger size however there are a few images that were a little smaller.
Thanks to these two tools, I was able to get back some of the images that I wanted to share with others.
All in all I learned my lesson yet again. I will remember this problem and have already set up MS Sync Toy to run as a scheduled task on my system and backup all photo related folders to my Drobo on the DroboShare or my HP WHS.
Once again I hope that this is a lesson learned for anyone about how easily it is to lose data if you don’t back up properly!