Nov 5, 05:25 PM

Heads and Tales: Out of the Ashes

In June, vintage music store, M.C. Productions Vintage Recordings, in the City of Penticton in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley was destroyed in a fire. Owner Mickey Clark lost all of the CDs he had compiled from his massive record collection, all of the backup disks from the music files he had digitized, and half of his inventory of 20,000 original recordings dating back to 1902. In addition, both of his hard drives were drowning in two feet of water. To the distraught performer, that meant the possible loss of thousands of music files many of which were Clark’s only copies which he started collecting at the age of eight.

Cultural treasures

One of the waterlogged hard drives from Clark’s personal computer worked long enough for him to retrieve the data before it malfunctioned and the recordings were inaccessible. Clark’s computer could not even recognize the second drive which held captive such rarities as the 1930 speech, “How Scouting Grew” delivered by scouting movement founder Lord Baden-Powell and a 1927 recording of “Ain’t She Sweet” by a trio called the Rhythm Boys that included a young Bing Crosby. It also included a 1952 recording of “What Is This Thing Called Love” captured at a private party featuring Chris Gage. Although the Canadian pianist did not record commercially and died at the age of 37, he was “considered in his day to have been the only pianist in Canada to rival Oscar Peterson in technical proficiency” according to the Encyclopedia of Music in Canada. All of the originals—some of them made on fragile shellac backed by cardboard as well as Gage’s recordings on aluminum based lacquer discs—were destroyed in the fire.

Rescued in the clean room

A friend who frequently visited the coffee house in the store told
her computer-savvy husband about Clark’s dilemma. When he was unable to recover the data from Clark’s waterlogged drives himself, he recommended CBL Data Recovery. CBL staff was able to rescue all of the files. Not a single file was lost thus enabling Clark to pick up the pieces of a business that otherwise might have had to close its doors permanently.

Without CBL’s assistance, a lot of my life’s work would have gone down the drain, and a lot of music would be gone forever.

Narrow escape

Visit M.C. Productions Vintage Recordings “I’m trying to preserve the music of our culture. That’s what M.C. Productions Vintage Recordings is all about,” said Clark. “The records themselves are breakable and deteriorate over time, so I’ve spent hundreds of hours transferring them to my hard drive. Using DVD or CD recordable technology is not nearly as effective as backing up data to a hard drive. This experience has taught me that water and heat can easily destroy the DVD or CD media. I had thousands of hours of work destroyed-it’s the hard drive that saved the rest. I use it as my basic catalog for assembling the CDs that I sell, but it’s also an archive of nearly 60 years of recordings of all kinds. Without CBL’s assistance, a lot of my life’s work would have gone down the drain, and a lot of music would be gone forever.”

Data, such as the files of M.C. Productions Vintage Recordings, can often be recovered from media that has been damaged from exposure to fire, smoke, and water.

CBL advises computer users who experience a fire:

  • Do not attempt to power a fire or smoke damaged drive.
  • Do not place the media in a refrigerator or freezer to cool it.
  • Do not clean the damaged media.
  • Do not attempt to remove the hard drive from a severely burned system. Send CBL the entire system and CBL data recovery specialists will remove the drive on your behalf.

If your computer is exposed to water:

  • Do not attempt to use or turn on the water-damaged hardware.
  • Do not open the water-damaged media.
  • Do not expose the water-damaged media to heat to dry it.
  • Do not place the water-logged media in a freezer.
  • Do not agitate the hardware in an attempt to rid it of water.

Don’t delay in taking action. Call CBL 24×7×365.

Category: case studies, helpful hints

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Comments

  1. Doug
    Nov 21, 04:02 PM

    Is is true or false that if you seperate a 2 platter drive without marking the platters there is no way to recover the data? I have heard different stories from different recovery centers. One says yes we can while another says no way its gone forever.

  2. Jeff
    Nov 29, 07:46 PM

    Not lost in some fires, especially when so many physical possessions go up in flames. It’s good to know there are experts out there that can save digital memories. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Jeff

  3. CBL
    Dec 3, 07:45 PM

    Hi Doug,

    Unfortunately no recovery is possible in a multi-platter drive if the platters become misaligned. The servo-tracks are written across all the platters at the time the drive is prepared at the factory. If these tracks are not precisely in line with the read/write heads, the signals the heads will read off the disk are meaningless and therefore a good recovery is not possible. That being said, in special cases we have successfully recovered some data off drives where one platter is not available and we can recover a partial amount of data from a single platter. This is an extreme example, and the quality of data returned in such a case would not usually be considered a “successful” recovery by most customers. I hope that answers your questions.

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