Losing Data

I had a very disappointing event happen to me today that will take me at least a week for me to recover from regarding the loss of data of hundreds of hours of notes and information collected from the last six months.  I lost all of my data on a USB stick that I us for keeping notes on from my laptop, and with other computers, when I am out at meetings and attending other functions relating to my academic life. The USB stick was not damaged, as it still works, but I learned a valuable lesson on why I really need to keep my tools safe, and be very weary of using them on other people machines.

What happened was, when I used it on a friend’s computer, who uses Window$ XP. You have to disconnect the device by closing the device manager off before you disconnect the USB flash drive from the machine. The result is a possible loss of unsaved data. Window$ is the only OS that I know of that you need to this with. With MAC and Linux machines that I work on, you can pull the device out and then reinsert it without any risk of ruining your unsaved data. I do a lot switching back and forth when working with different platforms. But in this case, when I pulled the SUB flash drive out from my friend’s machine, it crashed it, i.e., the OS froze, and he had to reboot.

When I returned home, I inserted the USB flash drive into my PC and waited for it to call up the file manager window as it usually does, but this did not happen. The stick appeared to be dead. I tried a couple of times more and it the same result kept appearing – the USB flash drive would initialise as in the PC would detect it, but it would not recognise the device as holding any data. The flash drive was virtually dead – zombie.

For whatever reason, using it on that machine, my friend’s Window$ XP, and the combination of not following that SO’s disconnect routine, caused the destruction and loss of my Data and that USB flash drive. When I tried to reuse the device, my system could not add any data to it, or change anything in its memory. I tried reformatting it and using it on a different machine, but to no avail, the USB flash drive seems broken.

Fortunately, like a good student who majors in Computer Science, and from the school of hard knocks, I keep regular backups of all my data. I only lost work that I did today. And as painful as that sounds, I can reconstruct most of today’s notes and information from memory. So, I guess, another addendum to my backup scheme: keep my data storage devices away from cheep machines and proprietary OS’s which are outdated.

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