Floating on Cloud Nine

Every photographer’s worst nightmare: You accidentally deleted your entire photo file — and you emptied the trash can! That’s exactly what happened to me yesterday. I lost over 7000 photographs from my Lightroom3.

And just how did I ever do such stupid thing??!! I was organizing and cleaning out files to make the computer work more efficiently. I decided to move the Lightroom3 catalog backup files to an external hard drive before updating the Lightroom3 software. Easy enough process. The stupid mistake was that after updating to version 3.5 and before exiting the program, for some reason, thinking I already have the file on the external hard drive; I clicked on the “don’t backup at this time”. And because I told it not to back up so when the new updated Lightroom program closed, it basically started with a clean darkroom. Thinking my files were safe, I deleted all the old files and then emptied the trash can from my computer.

When I restarted the computer and it was running better. I was so happy and proud of myself — that is until I opened the Lightroom and it was empty. At first I wasn’t too concern because I thought I have to reload the main library catalog and when I went to the backup file on the external drive — the folder was empty. I felt my heart dropped to the pit of my stomach as I frantically checked again and again… without success. After I frantically searched and opened every file on the computer — and the external hard drive without finding my photos — I just sat and stare at the blank Lightroom library with such disbelief, not sure if I want to scream or cry. However, I did neither… there was no time to kick myself — all I could think of was that there has to be some way I can retrieve my precious pictures. Thank goodness for Google. I kept searching for solutions until I found a software that retrieve files deleted from an emptied trash can. To make the long story short, I bought the software and was able to recover all my files! When I saw all my thumbnail images on the Lightroom3 library, I started jumping, laughing and crying with joy as if I have just won the lottery. The furry kids looked at me as if I was crazy. But I felt like I was floating on cloud nine.

The moral of the story… always click “YES” when asked if you want to back up — even if you did it minutes before. Or else you just might regret it. I know I will never make that same mistake again. 🙂


20 Comments on “Floating on Cloud Nine

  1. Glad that you were able to retrieve your pictures.
    I have gotten into the habit of backing up the stuff on my computer once every week. It takes few minutes but it really seems worth it.

  2. Wow, I had flashbacks to when my internal HDD crashed…lucky me it was just the OS that crashed and all my data was still intact! External drives are cheap these days, I am working on my third one right now actually. 😀

  3. I’m glad you got your photos back. I’ve not done that but I’ve experienced a folder of photos being hard deleted and it’s a sickening feeling. I’m just about to embark on moving my catalogue to a remote hard disk… and I sure am glad to have read your blog post prior to starting that ‘adventure’ 😉

  4. Gosh, Emily, you scared me! My computer’s always acting out and breaking down and I’m too lazy to back-up often, so I know the feeling of thinking you’ve lost everything. I’m really glad you got your files back!
    Love these shots, by the way.

  5. Oh, if I miss my photos, I’ll be depressed.It’s a large problem.
    Anyway glad to know that you got your photos. 🙂

  6. Just reading this sent my heart rate through the roof – the thought of losing all my files is one of my worst nightmares (short of something happening to actual people, of course). Thank god you got everything back!

  7. Emily! Please tell me you have your Lightroom (and all your photo files) backed up on at least TWO separate external hard drives! You can get a 2 terrabyte drive for less than $100 these days! I have THREE of them with my photos backed up on all three. At least if your machine goes down, you have a backup (or two). Don’t want you to lose those gorgeous photos again!

  8. Thank you so much everyone for your comforting comments and support. I’ve learned my lesson. I now have all my work backed up to several different drives. 🙂

  9. Soooo glad you retrieved your files. My stomach would have sunk to no end if that happened to me. Your photos here are beautiful.

  10. That’s horrible! I truly don’t know what I would have done in that particular situation, no, I wouldn’t handle it well at all, to put it mildly. I’m just happy to hear that there was a happy ending to your story. Careful next time!

  11. Wow–what a nightmare! So very glad you recovered your beautiful photos, that would have been a terrible loss! I am grateful for Google on a daily basis, but you should send them a letter of gratitude 😉 Gorgeous shots featured here, btw, and very fitting!

  12. Yikes! And don’t forget that the backup that Lightroom performs is just the catalog (thumbnails, lightroom edits, etc.) not the actual images themselves.

  13. Emily so glad you got your files. The same thing happened to me and all along I was logging into the Mac with my Admin. Password. I thought all my files were lost and I was only upgrading something else and I had to reinstall LR3. Your pictures here are breathtaking!

  14. Whew! So glad for you…I have been thinking about your furry kids. They must have known something was up.. (:

  15. Whoa! What a story. Your image files should be backed up elsewhere. That said, I use overlapping external hard drives that store multiples of my original files. There are a lot of solutions. But with external hard drives at mere dollars for 2 TB, that is 2 terabytes of memory, you should not hesitate to back up in multiple places. The rescue software will do the job but I bet it was slow. If you ever have a problem again, try photo.net, an online forum that is a very useful source. They have folks who might have saved you an exhaustive internet search and the extreme anxiety of losing your files. Which is to say, that every time I have a hard disk crash, I promise myself to back up my stuff. Which reminds me, I need to do one now. Glad it was a happy ending for you.

  16. It’s good to know that you got everything back… that just teaches us a lesson,… read before clicking 🙂 already saved me several times of some stuff but never from a disaster like that 🙂

  17. Oh wow Em…so happy you got your photos back! That must have felt like your heart suck to your socks….Glad you found the software to retrieve them….whew, what a relief!

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