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The Value of Memories - Fri, 23 Jul 2010

My daughters got back last week from a trip they went on together. In the evening, on the last day of the trip, one of my daughters was looking at the 500 or so pictures she had taken during the trip and … “Memory card error”. Panic set in. I tried to reassure her over the phone that we could still probably be able to get the pictures back.

She got home the next day and I immediately worked with her to see what we could do to get the pictures back. We plugged the 2 GB SD Card into a USB card reader and … Vista couldn’t recognize the card. Windows Explorer froze when trying to identify the drive and only unfroze when the card was removed. We tried a number of utilities, including zar, disc doctor, and photorec. The best they could do was recognize that a 2 GB disk existed, but none of them could do anything with it. We also tried a USB image tool to try to copy it, but that could not get anywhere because of the freezing problem.

Researching on the Internet, I found out that memory cards have a controller on them, and if that fails, then a computer cannot recognize the card. That does not mean the data itself is missing so we still had hope.

There was no way I could do the next step, so I had to call on the “professionals”. We searched for “sd error recovery canada” on Google and that led us to ReStoring Data, a Vancouver company. I filled out their Free Quote Form and got a response by email within the hour. My eyes opened wide as I read that it would be $250 if the failure is logical, and $400 to $600 if the failure is physical. But there would be no charge if they cannot retrieve the pictures.

Now lets put this in perspective and find out how much memories are worth.

Coming back from a trip that cost several thousand dollars and were full of wonderful memories, only to horrifyingly lose a chunk of them on the last day, will not be something you’ll want to have weighing you down for the rest of your life. Paying even $600 to retrieve them – what is that the equivalent of – One airline flight? Three days hotel? A new computer you’d have to buy if yours blew up? Fifteen years ago, it would cost $10 for the film cost and development of a roll of 24 pictures. For 500 pictures, that would have cost over $200 then that we now get for free with digital cameras. No, even $600 is not too much to pay to regain these memories.

Of course these companies got you. They know how valuable your memories are and they make you pay for them – sigh. But I don’t discredit them for that. They provide a service that right now we deeply want. I’m just glad they don’t want $2,000, or $20,000.

Today I dropped the SD card off at their pick up location in Winnipeg. The “forensic” experts in Vancouver will look at it next week and we’ll get the diagnosis. We’ve got our fingers crossed for good luck.

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