Global Midwifery

My Life in Limbo

For the last two weeks, this has been keeping me in limbo:

Western Digital WD Scorpio Black 750 GB SATA 3 GB/s 7200 RPM 16 MB Cache Internal Bulk/OEM 2.5-Inch Mobile Hard Drive

What you see is a laptop harddrive. The exact make and model of the harddrive that was once in my laptop and is once again in my laptop.  It’s what you can’t see that makes all the difference.

The harddrive is the location of every bit of information on a computer.  Every powerpoint presentation I took notes on in class.  Every paper I wrote.  Every customer who bought books. Every piece of data for my theses, including the preliminary maps, every journal article and its review sheet and citation already entered into EndNote. This is what makes what I did so painful.

I worked on my laptop while it was plugged in.  I use the term worked loosely, because really I had gotten bored with working and was listening to music and playing games when it happened.  The power fluctuated — as it so commonly does in Santa Rosa de Copan. Ugh.

I think the data is fine, the computer kept working (although it did act as if it were drunk) after the incident. Unfortunately, reboot was NOT the right answer because the boot sector no longer existed. No bootable harddrive – no problem.  All I have to do is plug it in as a slave drive and my data can be transferred (yes, I am a computer nerd). Except it couldn’t be read as a slave drive.

I am confessing all this for a purpose – I want you to back up your data.  You see, this was my only copy of both master’s programs, the only copy of my business financial data and even the only copy of my thesis.  I KNEW there was a good chance working in Honduras would crash my machine and even had it on a list to do a full backup before I left.  But I got busy, and it didn’t happen.  This is me kicking myself.

The computer is restored with a fresh hard drive. I don’t yet know if the data is salvageable.  A repair company is rebuilding the harddrive with a new read/write head and if it works it will set me back $2000 – a BIG chunk of my fall loans that should be covering living expenses.  If it doesn’t work, I will probably need to put off graduation until May.  Neither option is very appealing. Right now I can only wait to find out what my life will look like for the next few months.

Go back up your data – NOW!

Jennifer Vanderlaan (Author)