So... a freelancer erased one of my hard drives.

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googacky
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So... a freelancer erased one of my hard drives.

Post by googacky » Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:15 pm

The subject line pretty much sums it up. I'm running Pro Tools 5.3.1 in OS 9 at my studio and a freelance engineer managed to erase one of my external firewire drives. "Erase disk" is in the menu not too far above "shut down", so inacurate mouse clicking and not reading the subsequent dialog has left me with a wiped drive. It didn't initialize the drive, so I'd imagine that all the data is still there sitting on the disc and should be recoverable. The tragedy of it is that the freelancer hadn't backed up his project (he was four days in) and another freelancer had parked his project on the same drive and I'm not sure if he has a backup anywhere. My ass is covered--all my stuff is backed up--but I'm not looking forward to a phone call to the other freelance guy.

We immediately downloaded Prosoft Data Rescue II from the Apple site and I ran it with the drive connected to my laptop in OS 10.4. In the "thorough scan" mode, I was able to recover three of my projects with the original folder hierarchy intact, but neither of the freelance projects were to be found. In the "deleted files" scan, I can get back what appears to be almost all if not all of the audio files, but the Pro Tools session files are no where to be found and the audio files are renamed, organized arbitrarily into folders, and hence pretty much useless to me in that format. It's a giant puzzle that would be virtually impossible to put back together.

The next step was to take the drive to a local data recovery place and have them take a look. He didn't have any luck and couldn't even recover the three projects that I got.

Does anyone have any ideas for other applications that may have luck where Data Rescue II didn't? Is there any hope that I can get these sessions back with the original foler hierarchy? I'm wondering if another data recovery company may have better luck, but it's not going to be very financially sound to keep trying with no results. I'm dreading that phone call to the engineer who'd the innocent bystander in all this. He's supposed to be in working on mixes on Monday, so I have precious little time to correct the situation.

Save my ass TapeOp message board.

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Post by Platinum Samples » Fri Aug 17, 2007 4:04 pm

The best I've been able to do is recover most of the audio files for someone who had a similar issue - I wrote a Windows app which renamed the sound files based on the Pro Tools metadata to their original file names.

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Post by Professor » Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:09 pm

My only remotely similar experience was when OSX was having a problem if it was shut down or restarted with firewire drives still mounted, and it would corrupt the directory structure so that the next time the drive was actiated it did not appear readable to the system and Finder offered to reformat the drive.
The fix I was able to find was with Alsoft's 'Disk Warrior' which was able to look at the drive, analyze the directory structure and correct the mistakes, and then replace the directory.
But I've never tried it for data recovery when the data was intentionally removed and the directory structure was rewritten to reflect an empty drive. You might check with them to see if they have an alternative product that could do that function, or to see if Disk Warrior could do it. I just checked the program and it doesn't seem to have a recovery selection, but maybe there's something I missed, or something it can do for your situation, or even something in the latest version.

Best of luck to you.

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Post by dokushoka » Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:13 pm

I hate to say it but this is why I back up everything in 3 places. :cry:

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Post by Jeff White » Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:50 pm

dokushoka wrote:I hate to say it but this is why I back up everything in 3 places. :cry:
And I hate to add to this, especially since you (the original poster) have your stuff backed up, but without sounding too "I told you so", those freelance guys will undoubtedly learn their backup lesson as a result of this. It sucks. It sucks ridiculously bad. But in the end, if there is nothing that can be done, you better believe if they have half a brain that this will be the last time that they don't back up.

I practice the three drive thing for my own audio projects as well as the graphic deisgn work that I do in house for my day gig AND that day gig's Quick Books stuff. It takes 15 minutes at the end of the day. Three drives, and I take one drive home with me at night. I never worry about losing data ever.

I wish that I had a solution for you. Hind sight is obviously 20/20. I would now post something on the wall after this is done to remind freelance guys and gals that it is their responsibility to back stuff up. That's really all that you can do.

Jeff

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Post by E-money » Fri Aug 17, 2007 6:35 pm

I'm a Windows user, so I don't think I can shed any light, but I find it absolutley amazing that somewhere, in the same toolbar or menu on an Apple computer, sombody saw the logic of being able to both shut down at the end of the day, and erase all of your data.

I know you Mac guys love these overpriced wonders, but this has got to be one of the poorest programming ideas ever.

Is there a self destruct funtion anywhere on this menu?


Sorry for the rant, and my sympathy to the OP.
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Post by heylow » Fri Aug 17, 2007 6:40 pm

+1 for backing up.... :shock:

This is how those freelance guys will learn....it's the only way to learn and, unfortunately, I know it from experience. There's nothing worse than being told it's gone and that's it...you can blame folks and swear and even curse the devil himself, but in the end, this is why we back things up.

Pass it on....and good luck. I'm guessing this other guy will be PISSED! (Not to mention the client)



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Post by neonskimmer » Fri Aug 17, 2007 9:44 pm

E-money wrote:I'm a Windows user, so I don't think I can shed any light, but I find it absolutley amazing that somewhere, in the same toolbar or menu on an Apple computer, sombody saw the logic of being able to both shut down at the end of the day, and erase all of your data.

I know you Mac guys love these overpriced wonders, but this has got to be one of the poorest programming ideas ever.

Is there a self destruct funtion anywhere on this menu?


Sorry for the rant, and my sympathy to the OP.
I'm not sure what they're talking about, because there's no 'erase disk' function anywhere, other than in the disk utility program, which is far far far from the shutdown menu.

Maybe inside Protools for OS9? Weird.

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Post by Professor » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:02 pm

The only thing I could think of would be somebody dragging the drive to the trash to eject it - a Mac concept that has always seemed really dumb - and instead of ejecting, it actually placed the drive in the trash. And there was, if I recall, an 'empty trash' selection right by the 'shut down' selection.

However it happened, you may want to consult with freelancer #2 about the liability to freelancer #1. I guess he could argue that you should have had them on separate drives - although you could argue that they should have both brought their own drives. Uggh! Anyway you slice it, this is going to suck.
Very sorry, man.

-Jeremy

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Hahaaha

Post by bluesbaz » Sun Aug 19, 2007 12:42 pm

I feel your pain that call is going to suck:

First, tell those losers to get their own drive, damn. i wouldn't let those guys any near my studio. Second, WHAT KIND OF !%@#ing IDIOT blames the studio for anything that might happen during his unsafe file management practices. This is an industry of details, details, and more details since file management is no small detail, one must wonder what their work sounds like; probably a series of missed details. But in all fairness before stealing some poor saps clients i might meet them half way, anything more would be lame.

The last time this happened to me i gained two clients.

I had a freelancer call me from down the hall to come in and get his files off our "tape back up system", WHAT???!!!
"Hay man this is a 40/hr room (in nyc) we don't have a tape backup system, but let me take a look".
The night before this they went into a monster amount of overtime, that i cut them a huge break for, in order to make an edit so simple i had a hard time staying quiet. I could have highlighted the engineers ineptitude, in front of his client, at just that very moment but he was a young guy and we all have to learn. I kept things copasetic.
So, back to looking for files, the breakdown occurs after a few minutes of searching, the "engineer" starts pointing fingers raising voices telling the client i run a loose ship and that i should be backing his files up for him " I cant understand why my files keep disappearing". "You get that work back or else....." The client even gets in on the action and my heart is exploding. Screw this.

I just asked the client to step out into the hall, informed him that the engineer was told to bring his files, on HIS drive, to the first session and that we do not provide drive space to outside engineers for free. I further informed the client, i was willing to allow them time to recreate all the missing work for half the rate so long as i was in the chair. Two years have gone by and i still work with that client. We speak often about how much his little brother the freelancer is doing much better in his new career.

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Post by squizo » Sun Aug 19, 2007 7:16 pm

I was in a similar situation and used A bootable SpinRite software disk.....it took 16 hours for 200 gigs, but in the end it made it nice enough to copy...Spinrite even works on external drives

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Post by googacky » Sun Aug 19, 2007 10:06 pm

I've tried a couple of other programs all to no avail. The next step is to send the drive out to someone who knows more about this than I do. Sassinsky Data Recovery was recommended somewhere else on this board. They apparently have dealt with Pro Tools file recovery before. I'm not sure what it'll cost, but if they can't get it back they don't charge anything.

I definitely understand that backup is the responsiblility of the freelancers, so I can only feel bad to a point. These guys should know better. I made the call to the second freelance guy tonight and he took it pretty well. It's his own band, so that's a plus in a strange way. He has the drums and guitars on his drive, so it's not a total loss if we can't get the stuff back. It's still a giant pain in his ass, though, so I'm doing everything I can to get his project back intact.

Neonskimmer -- I think you may have missed the part where I mentioned this was OS 9. "Erase disk" is indeed not far from "shut down" in the "special" menu.

Bluebaz -- No one blamed the studio for any of this. The guy who did it immediately took responsibility for it and has been actively trying to fix the situation since it happened. Indeed, only an idiot would act otherwise.

The drive will probably go off to Sassinsky this week unless anyone has any bright ideas for me.

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Post by Jeff White » Mon Aug 20, 2007 6:32 am

Good luck, man. Let us know how it turns out.

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Post by googacky » Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:58 pm

I talked to Sassinsky today and they seem to be pretty confident that they can get the data back in a way that will be usefull to me. I mentioned that I ran a recording studio and the woman on the phone brought up Pro Tools, so that was comforting. They do indeed have Pro Tools-specific software that they've written for recovery. Since it's an accidental erasure and the disk isn't damaged, it should only be $500 instead of the $2400 it could have been if the disk was problematic. That's one expensive wrong mouse click, but it could have been worse. The best part about Sassinsky is that if they can't get my data back in a format that is usefull to me I don't owe them anything. I'll let you guys know how it turns out.

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Post by rwc » Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:50 am

How did it turn out? :)
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