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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

You're Kidding Me

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

bread and puppet

"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

You're Kidding Me

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hugo reyes--dude
When I started teaching, I obtained for myself one of those portable USB drives so that I could work on planning and materials on my laptop and desktop and easily transfer between the two. I have a rather bad history with these things; the infamous near-loss of most of the first draft of AMC occurred when one corrupted, and I've lost stories since then when they've corrupted or stopped working for whatever reason.

Now this one is acting up.

When I plug it in, my computer "sees" the drive, but when I try to open it, it prompts me to format the disk. Which will, of course, erase all of my data. It won't let me view the files if I click "No" to formatting.

I do back it up occasionally, but I've created a lot of materials within the past week that I haven't backed up yet and, at this point, I can only assume are lost.

I don't get it. People use these things all the time. No one can ever believe that I've had not only one but two of them corrupt on me, then a third that wouldn't open and also became unusable. Now this. These things seem to hate me. I don't abuse my stuff. It goes into my home computer, laptop, and the computers in the teacher room. Otherwise, it rides in a pocket in my backpack. It's only a little over two months old, and nothing has happened to it that would explain why it's suddenly decided not to work.

If, in fact, my data is gone, it's not a travesty on the level of when I thought I lost almost all of AMC, but it is many hours of materials that I now have to recreate, which is annoying. (For the third time, in one case, since I lost it once already when Bobby flipped a breaker that shut of my desktop and, for whatever reason, Word didn't auto-recover anything.) I'm definitely done with these portable drive thingies. Four's a charm for me. I'll just manage with pulling files from my computer at home using Data Deposit Box or just do all of my work on my laptop.

But if anyone has any advice, I'd be very grateful. I'm notoriously ignorant of anything hardware-related.

This post was originally posted on Dreamwidth and, using my Felagundish Elf magic, crossposted to LiveJournal. You can comment here or there!

  • Interesting that the program, software, online tech guru has trouble with hardware. I suppose we all have our areas of gifted and our areas of ungifted.

    I'm sorry to hear you've had yet another of the wee gizmos go bad on you and I hope you are put too badly behind.

    • Yeah, hardware is not my forte! Software and web stuff, I can do, but it was only a few years ago that I actually learned how to install a printer.

      Growing up, my dad was on the cutting edge of technology when home computers were first hitting the market. So--unlike most families where the parents go to the kids for tech help--he handled everything hardware-related and I didn't have to learn, as a result. Even now, when he comes to visit over the weekend, if there's a problem with one of the computers, he fixes it.

      But I know much more than he does about web design and software like Photoshop, so when he needs help with those, then he comes to me. ;)

      I'm going to call him tonight, if I haven't figured something out by then.
  • I don't have an advice, unfortunately. I, too, use USB drive very often and I don't like hearing your story, it makes me feel uncomfortable about my present and future files on USB.

    However, I do have a story to share... A few years ago, my hard drive died. Died. Totally. And I haven't made back-up for... weeks, you ask? Months, you ask? Well, the answer is... three years.
    Yeah, I know, it was very stupid of me.

    In the end, I sent my hard drive to a firm that is specialized for different kinds of hardware errors, and they were able to save all my data, but it was painful for my wallet.

    Needless to say, I learned my lesson... Now, I have a huuuuuge archive of all my files.

    Anyway... good luck!

    P.s. Perhaps you can find for some firm which does the same somewhere near you?
    • I hope it doesn't come to that, but it's good to know that those kinds of services exist! :)

      One of the reasons I don't like USB drives is that I'm very bad about remembering to back up files, and I have my computers set to back up my files automatically with a service called Data Deposit Box. (Well, they've actually changed their name, but they'll always be DDB to me! :) I did figure, however, that this one would outlast two months.
  • Try it in other comps until one can read it, and make the bakcup. Then format the thing, but better buy a new one.
    • I've tried it in three different computers, all with the same result. When I double-click to open the drive, it prompts me to format the disk. Of course, I say "No" ... and nothing happens. The drive doesn't open, and if I try opening it again, the same thing happens.
  • I know nothing! I am following this thread in case I can learn something. My latest thrill, very recent, is Dropbox. I can open it and find my latest stuff all backed up for me. It's magic I have no idea how it works (I know that's a dangerous attitude). I do know that those little plug-in thingies are fragile and do corrupt. I have one holding some very important items that I will some day take somewhere to try to retrieve. That one I am afraid to put in my computer, because I think it has a bad virus on it as well as a few years of my life. For now, trying not to lose it.

    Honestly, this technology thing is a whole new class of nightmares for me, which causes me to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.

    Edited at 2011-11-14 05:06 pm (UTC)
    • I started to use Dropbox quite some time ago and hardly use usb drives anymore. Well for tomorrow because I have to print some photo's at a shop, but that's it. The usb sticks are gathering dust here.
      • I am so excited that someone smart like you is using it; I decided to give it a try a few weeks ago and I love it. I never have to think about it.
        • Do you also use the option to share, for example if Laura shares a folder with you, she can easily share photo's with you taken on her blackberry.
          • Not yet! But I do have plans to share those things and others. God forbid I should die unexpectedly also--I would want her to be able to access my precious life's work (ahem, all that elf porn, etc.!).
    • I'll share what I've learned so far! :) I hope it helps you to recover your corrupted files.

      Bobby found this software, recommended by PC World magazine:


      And Rhapsody left some links with more options on my DW post here:


      I currently use Data Deposit Box to back up my files on my laptop and my desktop (which you know, since you have access to some of them! :) I'm going to check out Dropbox if only because DDB--while a wonderful backup system--is rather cumbersome to use if you have to open multiple files at one time.
  • Check Dreamwidth, I left you a comment with linkytylinks there.
  • Have you tried opening it at home (or wherever you last used it successfully)? Your work computer(s) may have outdated drivers that can't read the newer data properly.

    You may also want to scan the drive for errors. Right click on the drive in Windows Explorer > Properties > Tools > Scan for errors.

    Nobody ever does this, but the manufacturer would probably tell you that you're supposed to stop the device ("Click here to safely remove hardware") before unplugging it. If you're using Pengoloth (Dell lappie?), which is old, this could be causing issues.

    I don't know the features of DDB, but we use SugarSync and it automatically keeps the most recent version of your files on all of your devices, plus an online copy. It also archives a certain number of previous revisions, in case a file gets corrupted.
    • I will definitely try it again at home. It normally works fine on the work comps and my laptop, and I didn't add any files over the weekend that weren't on there on Friday.

      I tried the error scan, but it didn't do anything, because the system doesn't recognize any files on the drive. It shows up completely empty. Ugh.

      I do remove my drive correctly, having had that pounded into my head (not literally! :) while student-teaching at MV. Last night, however, I removed it while the computer was almost completely shut down; I did not stop the drive first. Since I hadn't used it in hours, and the computer was almost shut down, I (perhaps stupidly) figured it'd be okay. It made the noise it does when incorrectly removed ... but then, sometimes I will stop the drive, will get the dialog that it is safe to remove the drive, and it makes that noise anyway. I don't know. These things are apparently a bad idea for me to use!

      DDB also saves multiple versions. Unfortunately, my USB drive doesn't back up on DDB ... :(

      Thanks for the help! *hugs*
  • Esteliel turned me on to DropBox several months ago and it's been a lifesaver. I hardly use my USB thumbdrives any more.

    - Erulisse (one L)
    gotta love "the cloud"
    • I use a service called Data Deposit Box that I think operates similarly. But I'm wondering if it isn't easier to access files on Dropbox than DDB, which is rather cumbersome. I'm going to check it out, for my school files, at least.
      • I love Dropbox. It's an automatic synch between all of my computers, and since I use two normally and two others sometimes, it saves a lot of time and trouble because everything is just there when I need it. I'm still operating on the free, and I have a lot of photos and a lot of text already saved. I like it so much that I would pay for it if necessary, it's become indispensable.

        - Erulisse (one L)
  • I'm another who would recommend that you put whatever you need to share among a number of systems up on Dropbox. It's easy to use, and you don't have to worry much about hardware failures (at least on your own part, in case you have a "black thumb" when it comes to computer gear.)

    I think, in fact, Dropbox is the only example of cloud computing that actually makes sense for us Regular Joe users.

    Good luck getting your stuff off the affected stick, however.
    • I use a service called Data Deposit Box that I think is similar to Dropbox. It's great for making backups (which I am bad at remembering to do) but a bit cumbersome when it comes time to get my files off of the Internet. I'm going to look at Dropbox to see if it's easier, and I'll switch to that for my school files, at least.

      Thanks for the well wishes--no luck so far! :)
  • Ugh! No advice, just sympathy. I had at least two of those things kerplunk on me, too. I use Dropbox for all my writing files now, which means I have several backups on various machines at all times. Best luck, and sorry you have to recreate all that material!
    • Thanks for the sympathy! No luck on recovery so far. I use a service called Data Deposit Box for the files on my laptop and desktop, but not my USB drive. Grrr. I think it's similar to Dropbox (makes a backup that is then available on the web). I'm going to look into Dropbox, since I'm done with relying on USB drives to hold my teaching materials; I put too much blood, sweat, and tears into that stuff to have it disappear overnight!
  • I use USB drives a lot, and yes, sometimes it happens. Many times,in fact. I need not tell you horror stories of USB drives that couldn't be read the night before the day the students grade must be submitted, or even the night before the academic report was distributed!

    So. use Dropbox.com, use external hard drive. Save everywhere!

    And virus can also be a reason why the drives can't be opened too. Best of luck!
    • Thank you! *hugs* Thankfully, grades were due last week. ;) But that does remind me that I need to back up my online gradebook again, since the backups were all on my USB drive ...
  • I'm so sorry to hear this. Mine went yesterday too as the laptop lost power and switched off. I find it helps to always have a copy of the files on the USB drive on the computer too,especially if it is something you cannot replace.
    • Oh no, Linda! I'm so sorry to hear that! But hearing that only convinces me further that these USB thingies are a bad idea ... ;)

      I had more files backed up than I remembered backing up. I'm very grateful for that.
      • Thank you. I fear it is good for nothing bar the waste bin! Luckily I didn't lose any files but I could so easily have lost stories or photos. I'm so glad you didn't lose as much as you feared.
  • You might try KNOPPIX. I have had luck reading things with it that cannot be read normally in windows. Damaged external etc. See if that helps you.
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