The thing about disk utility and recovery applications is that they stay hidden until you really need them. Sometimes, they stay hidden for so long, you don’t even know where they are. But when a situation arises that leaves you with potential data loss, these utilities become your best friend.
I had this exact situation happen to me last month. I wanted to install iLife ’06 during Macworld Expo, but I didn’t have enough room on my PowerBook hard drive. That meant I needed to lose some files, even though there was nothing I wanted to permanently delete.
The solution: move some of my biggest folders to my iPod —a pretty simple procedure. The thing that I hadn’t counted on was that the iPod’s hard drive would become corrupt, holding my 5,000 photos hostage.
The drive corruption was probably my fault. After copying my photos, I just pulled the FireWire plug from the PowerBook without ejecting the disk first. I know you should eject the disk first—there is even a warning that tells you to do that. But I was excited and I’ve done it a hundred times before. Really, what could possibly go wrong?
When I got to Los Angeles to attend NAMM, I learned exactly what could go wrong. I couldn’t access any of the data on my iPod. I didn’t really care about the music on the iPod—I have backups of the songs. I just wanted my pictures back.
I had two choices: run the iPod Update and wipe out the drive (not a very appealing option), or wait until I got home and run a utility on the disk and magically get back my pictures. I opted to wait.
The first thing I did upon my return home was run Disk Warrior —the champion of champions when it comes to disk repair. In a couple of minutes, the utility reported that the disk was fixed, so I mounted the drive and tried to download my pictures. No luck. I ran Disk Warrior again, and this time it said the disk was not repairable. My pictures were still hostage, but not for long. I turned to Data Rescue II and hoped that it would give me back my pictures.
I ran the application and it showed me the folder structure including my pictures. I clicked the checkbox and told Data Rescue to rescue them to my hard drive. When it finished downloading, I launched iPhoto and there were all of my pictures.
I had to wait a little more than a week to know if I was going to be able to get my pictures back, which was excruciating for me. From now on, whenever I travel, Data Rescue will be along with me on a disk that goes in my luggage.