Slaying the Maxtor Beast and Retrieving my Photographs!

One of my best memories… Daisy’s gift of deer medicine to Zoe’s wounded eye.

Back in July, I wrote a post called, “The Day Mr. Maxtor Ate My Photos”.  I was quite disappointed at the time, to learn the last two years of wildlife and personal photography where no longer accessible when our external Maxtor hard drive quit working.  FD had tried a number of fixes but Mr. Maxtor refused to power up.  We finally resorted to searching for a data recovery specialist in the area.  If it did not cost an arm and a leg, we were willing to pay to recover our lost data and photographs.

A company FD found advertised on the Internet seemed to be a reputable source.  We called them and discovered they teamed up with a local company in a town near us, and that we could drop off the Maxtor unit there for a free assessment of the drive’s condition and estimate of cost to recover the data.  FD delivered our failed hard drive to the local company that day.

After a week of waiting to hear the verdict, FD called the company’s national office.  He was told a technician had examined the hard drive and found it to “spin up”, but that the drive was not recognized by a computer and the data was not retrievable.  They indicated they would need to repair or replace the read/write arm, perform extensive cleaning of the drive’s data plates, possibly relocate the plates to a “surrogate drive”, and potentially have to search and access every data sector to recover the information.  FD listened to their findings and proposed process for retrieval of the information, which entailed an estimation of at least 19 hours of a “specialized engineer’s time” at a cost of $1600.  Hearing the assessment and price, FD thanked them for their time and said we would pick the Maxtor unit up on our next trip to town.  They offered a payment plan.  But for FD and I, it was not about not being able to pay the $1600, in one payment or four, we were simply unwilling to pay that price.  We were just not going to pay that kind of fee to get our data back, and something about the results of their “diagnostics” did not ring true with FD.

Butterflies are often difficult to capture with a camera. They seldom stay put for long. I never chase them, rather I wait for them to alight near me.

A few days later I had a number of errands to run in the nearby town, so retrieving the Maxtor hard drive was on my “to do” list for the trip.  I have worked in the customer service area most of my life, and my customer service expectations of any business are tremendous.  It takes so little effort to simply greet people, acknowledge their presence with a smile and say, “I’ll be with you in a moment”.  But that didn’t happen when I entered the office where FD had left the drive the week before.  Instead, a little “beeping” noise announced my arrival.

I was fixed up rather nicely that day, as I was serving as chauffeur and escort to an elderly friend who had a doctor appointment that morning.  I even had my Jimmy Crystal sunglasses on and bore no resemblance to some ordinary farm girl who just stumbled into town for feed.  No, I was spiffed up and looking quite smashing, if I must say so myself!  (And I believe I just did!)

But alas, I might as well have been an insect on the wall.  No one seemed to notice me standing at that impressive, huge counter in my impressive, fancy sunglasses.  Finally, after waiting for every bit of five minutes watching four guys (standing only twenty feet away from me) discuss who was going to go out in the heat to attend to a service call, I cleared my throat and plopped my purse on the counter.  Two of the men scurried away, and the remaining two looked at each other as if they were carrying on mental telepathy communication between them saying, “You wait on her… no YOU wait on her… well, it’s YOUR turn… No, I waited on the last one, YOU see what this one wants…”  Finally, one of the two smiled at me and said, is anyone helping you?  Uh, no, I thought to myself, did you SEE anyone else in the room approach me and then just disappear?  Of course I did not actually say this, but simply stated that I was there to pick up our Maxtor hard drive.  “Ah yes, it’s right here”, the man said.

Taking the drive, I thanked him and started to turn away with the beastly thing when he said, “I don’t know what the national office told you – we are just a partner with them – but we did take a look at the drive and I think the problem is with the controller board.”  I replied that my husband had spoken with the main office and that our problem with the proposal was their quote of $1600.  I said they offered a payment plan, but I didn’t want to spend that much to retrieve my wildlife photographs.  The man stated that, if we wouldn’t say anything to the national office, he could try to locate a controller for it, which wouldn’t be easy, and that if that worked, it would probably still cost around $300 to $400 because the process to extract the data is time-consuming.  I said I’d tell FD and thanked him for his time.

My favorite subject, Daisy deer. It would have been a great loss for the thousands of photos we have taken of our beautiful girl to be gone!

Fortunately, FD is not one to give up on anything.  He  felt the national office, with their so-called “diagnostics report” that didn’t match what the partner office indicated, had fed him a crock of, well, large male bovine feces. FD agreed that, as the partner office had stated, it was likely the controller board causing the problem. Upon examination under a lighted magnifier, this was confirmed as FD noted a small crack on a chip near the power connector.

After an evening of online research, FD found and ordered a used controller board for forty dollars, including shipping, and guaranteed to be tested and working properly.  Several days later it arrived in the mail.  FD spent only a few minutes to remove five screws and replace the spent board with the new, used board. He then hooked the drive up to my computer, and began copying all eighty-five megabytes of our lost files… and it WORKED!!  I can’t express the elation I felt as I watched the copying process continue for just a little over an hour.   I hugged FD.  I called him my hero… and indeed he was!  He saved my hard-earned wildlife photos.  He saved all of our personal data, extracting it from that Maxtor beast!

My other favorite subjects, the Chindren! Zoe, Bear and Tori (also known as Brutus T).

It really aggravates and angers me when companies, and even individuals, try to pull a fast one on people who trust them.  Thankfully, FD knew the national office was lying to him.  The unit would NOT power up, and the drive would not “spin up”, yet they said it did and had a lengthy explanation of what they suspected it would take to extract the data.  And, we knew the local company was also looking to make a lot of money in proposing to fix a simple problem and making it sound more difficult.  I was skeptical they might even have communicated with the national office and, as a last-ditch effort to make a few bucks, gave me a slightly better option.  I have to assume they thought we were computer illiterate and technically challenged and would not know any better, and that the situation presented them a fast way to make some easy money.  They were hoping to pad their pockets at the expense of an ignorant person.

This is one of my favorite photos taken on August 28, 2011! Daisy was a fawn. She grew up with our Japanese Chin kids. Niko, on the left was a foster chin who found his forever family in South Texas shortly after this photo was taken. I felt like the world’s luckiest Mom!

When the copying process finished, and FD went to the files to make sure they had copied properly, I marveled at the photo files as he clicked through them.  Photos of Daisy deer as a little fawn, butterflies and birds, flowers and trees, the sun, clouds and the moon, family and friends… and numerous wildlife photographs that I had worked so hard to earn.  Documentation of nature that had become my place of comfort and solace over the last five years. Photographs I was proud of.  Pictures waiting to tell a new story through the pages of this blog, I now saw again in color, in front of me… and out of the belly of the Maxtor beast.

Getting down on the ground (sometimes stumbling and falling!) I notice something I may have overlooked from a standing position. This striking red ladybug made a colorful splash in a setting of green pasture weeds.

P.S. I would like to say, “Thanks!” to my good blogger friends (see the comment section on “The Day Mr. Maxtor Ate My Photos”) who offered to help us in our quest to retrieve the photos and data!  You all ROCK!!

© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…

Can you tell I love butterflies?

23 thoughts on “Slaying the Maxtor Beast and Retrieving my Photographs!

  1. I love a happy ending! Especially one like this! So glad you got your photos back, and that you outsmarted the specialists.


    1. Thanks Sandy! I’ve just been pouring over so many photos, formulating new blog posts. I may have to take a writer’s sabbatical and immerse myself in writing!


  2. It’s a shame that companies or people try to take advantage of others misfortune and not just do honest work for an honest dollar. I’m glad you retrieved all your data. I know I was very happy when I finally found copies of my “lost” photos a while back. I’m sure while going through all the old photos it brought back a lot of fond memories. 🙂


    1. I am always flabbergasted when a local company or individual puts the screws to people because they are here and they have to look you in the eye. Word of mouth is always the best advertising, so when they hurt a local person and do not offer great customer service and satisfaction, they just cut their throats. Not only am I particular about great customer service, but I am also prompt about reporting unhappy experiences via writing reviews. The Better Business Bureau has heard from me in the past!

      Along with enjoying pouring over old photos, I realize it’s time to cull out some of the blurred and poor shots. I’m terrible about cleaning house that way. We are also going with an online backup service. A couple of friends have recommended online services so we’ll be looking into that this week!


      1. You’ll have to let us know what online backup plan you go with. I’ve heard of it but have never researched any or their rates. I also need to cull my photos. Most of the time I have about 6 shots of the same thing hoping to get that one shot that’s decent. 🙂


        1. I’ll be glad to clue you in. I do the same thing, take 10 or so shots of the same thing hoping for one good one! And I have some lousy ones of Daisy deer, but I never could part with them. Some time has gone by now, so maybe I’m more likely to part with the ones that weren’t so grand! I’ll have to see how I feel when I start going through them. I mean, can your kids EVER take a bad photo? I think not!!


  3. I’m so happy you got your photos back! And your story about almost being ripped off makes me sick to my stomach. That’s exactly why I postpone so many things that require me to hire someone else — I know how common this practice is, especially when the service provider knows that we can’t tell if we’re being fed a line of “male bovine feces”. Anyway, score one for the little guys! And I hope you’ve got a backup system in place now. (I’ve been using an online backup service for two years and am very pleased with it — don’t want to plug them on your blog, but send me a note if you want to know.)


    1. I’m glad to hear you are happy with your online backup. I’ll send you an email to inquire about who you connected with. This is all so fresh that I’m in the mode to get a service in place. This was a very good experience since it ended well, but I assure you, I am not risking loss again!


  4. Every time I read one of these horror stories, I thank GOD for my computer guy. I’m totally IT illiterate, but he had made it possible for me to communicate in this media. But even though I’m IT illiterate, I think I would have felt it was a scam too.


    1. I usually have a gut feeling – maybe it’s my inner spirit, that sort of gives me the caution flag when I’m being scammed. I just do not understand how anyone can live with themselves, taking advantage of trusting people. It is wonderful to have people we can trust who simply do a good job for fair pay.


  5. I lost track of how many lessons I can take from this. As pc-repair-illiterate as I am, the idea of not necessarily taking the 1st option given to me is huge, so thank you for the reminder.

    Two or three years’ worth of photos from our daughters’ early years are gone forever because of a similar but unfixable situation. We even tried a forensic computer detective type of guy who rifles through computer files in divorse cases and the like. I’m happy you didn’t lose yours!


  6. Oh, that is a devastating loss! And who knew there were “forensic computer detectives”?? I think I live a very sheltered life sometimes! Neither FD nor I felt good about either the OKC or local people. Sometimes it’s a little knowledge plus that gut feeling that forewarns us of a bad deal. I’m thankful FD could solve the issue and it cost so little!


  7. Wow! This sounds like it should be reported to the Oklahoma Attorney General. I know our guy in Iowa always wants to know about scams like this. So glad there was a happy ending!


  8. I clicked on Daisy and Zoe. When it was enlarged on my screen, all I got was the face of Daisy and the ecstatic face of the puppy. Precious! So glad you were able to get your pictures back.


    1. Oh, I know it Margaret! It’s just wonderful to have my photos back! Now I am trying to decide what blog posts I want to write. I literally have thousands of photos! What wonderful memories!


  9. I SO agree with you about customer service. I have extremely high expectations because that’s how I treat other people as well. I won’t tolerate buffoons like those local boneheads. Sorry to say, but they don’t deserve to bring in any revenue at all.

    So glad that this worked out well. I was 100% confident you would get all of your photos back one way or the other. 🙂

    Don’t ever mess with a Husker farm girl!!!


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