On Saturday, I went for a walk in the rain with my camera. I took lots of pictures of wet things and was looking forward to seeing my images of raindrops on roses and ripples in puddles. As soon as I got home I linked my camera to the mother ship with its umbilical cord and told it to disgorge its contents.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
My laptop showed me the images and I took a glimpse of them before I realized that it was downloading lots of pictures I had already stored on my computer but had not erased from the camera’s SD card. I thought “Oh, I really must get rid of those old pics on my camera,” and turned my attention to that. Right about now you all know what happened.
On returning to my laptop I told it to save my new pictures and only then did I realize what I had done. I had deleted all the pictures on the card. My computer told me that it could not save the pictures THAT I COULD CLEARLY SEE ON MY SCREEN, because they were no longer available. Gah! I was mad at myself for being so stupid. I know better.
You’d think that would be as bad as my day could get, but it gets worse. As mad as I was at myself, I was to get even more upset with software companies that provide tools for file retrieval.
No Free Lunch
First, I Googled my camera’s brand name together with “how to recover SD files” and sure enough, there was a cascade of links to programs offering free retrieval. So, I selected the one with five-star approval from the mystery people who give stars to Internet things, and was happy to click on the download button. It then put me through a process that included over an hour waiting for it to scan the files.
It told me that it had gathered the data for about 360 photos, but it didn’t give me the opportunity to select only the 20 or so I had taken that day. So, I clicked on the prominently displayed “Free Trial” button in order to retrieve my photos. I figured that somewhere along this path there would be an opportunity to choose only the pictures I actually wanted.
Guess what? Free ain’t free. Free is either $35 or $50-something, depending on how many bells and whistles you want. At least, that’s the price the first time the “Buy Now” link comes up. As I was later to discover, that’s the teaser price. Anyway, at this point I was getting cranky, so I decided to store the retrieved data and leave the rest until the next day.
Before I went to bed, I asked my Facebook friends if they knew of a free data recovery tool. Two people made suggestions that I would try the next day.
Do Same Thing, Get Same Result, Four Times
I will spare you all the gory details, but my Sunday morning went something like this:
- Had coffee
- Looked at a second possible system but couldn’t figure out how to use it
- Went to a third system that was also “free”
- Wasted about half an hour using it incorrectly
- Waited forty minutes for it to, correctly, retrieve files
- Saved data files to desktop
- Asked system to retrieve photos, and was again hit with the paywall. This time the cost was about $90.
- Took down the Christmas tree. Stored it and the decorations.
- Decided that system #1 now didn’t sound so bad after all, but on checking back in with them, their price had gone up to about $95.
- Wondered, “Who are these people?”
- Couldn’t find where I had saved the data files for system #1. My 20/20 hindsight is now at optimum strength.
- Tried system #4, because I am an optimist.
- Same story.
- Looked longingly at bottle that held the remains of the Christmas Bailey’s Irish Cream.
- Friend sent link to internet article written with chirpy enthusiasm about “free” data retrieval software.
- Banged head on wall.
So, the question now becomes, how much time and money is it reasonable to spend on about twenty pictures of wet things?
I think I’ll go for a walk in the rain while I ponder this question. Maybe I’ll even take my camera.