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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!!
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