Over the past few days, I have been reorganizing my Lightroom Catalog and my external hard drive. I have over 14 years worth of images, both personal and professionally on this drive. 30 thousand images. I have client images from when I first started my photography career on that drive. I had the “smart” idea to delete old file folders off of this drive without thinking really to check them. It was my new folder that I deleted.
So, after crying for a few minutes, I remember back a few years ago when my brother was being funny and sprayed my window with the water hose and the water came in through the seal. My original hard drive fell to the ground and crashed. I couldn’t get it up and working. At that time I lost 6-7 years worth of photos on that drive. Today, I am going to tell you how I went about saving those images, and how I am saving the day today to restore 14 years worth of photos!
If You're Reading This Post Because You too Lost Files
Stop And Take A Deep Breath
Really, if you are here because you also lost images like I have, then just stop and take a breath. I can not guarantee that they will all be recoverable. Especially if it was like what happened the first time to me, but if you accidentally “permanently” deleted them like I did today, then there are a few things you might be able to do to restore them.
If you have saved anything else to the drive or SD card, then you may have written over the origial data on the drive, so don’t do anything until you look in your Trash Bin to make sure it isn’t in there! Unfortantly when I deleted the files, they were to big to go in the trash bin and were “permanently” deleted.
First thing you will want to do is download the Recuva program. Just follow the prompts and install it on your computer. It didn’t take long for me to get this up and running on my computer.
Then, you can select just to recover photos only. Since I had my lightroom catalog and much more in there, I wanted to try and recover everything! I would also suggest not recovering to the same drive that this happened to. It could override what you are trying to recover.
I am recovering a lot of files. I am told it would take about 19 hours! BUT, the green ones mean they have not been overwritten by any other files. The yellow dots mean that the files is partially recoverable, and red means that I had written over them. So, 30 thousand files may be back, may not. I will find out once this process is done. But, looking in the folder I am using to recover the files, I am hopeful most if not all of the files I accidently deleted are recoverable since I didn’t do anything else.
Hopefully this helps you get your files back, and your not sending your drive off to a professional that will cost several hundreds to restore. I know when I called seagate to recover my old drive I was quoted $700.00 for it. I can’t afford that. I also didn’t follow common practice in the photography field and have backups… that is something that I am changing today. I am doing a cloud backup and I am getting a few new hard drives as I can afford it.