About 4 or 5 years ago, one of the hard drives on an old computer failed. While this typically doesn’t bother me much, this happened to be the drive that all of my photos were backed up on, and I hadn’t transferred most of it to DVD yet for archiving. Thankfully I was able to recover the images, but the cleanup would be a nasty task that I wouldn’t start until this weekend. However, the effort has been worth it as I’m finding some old “digital treasures” that I had forgotten about.
Due to the way the drive was damaged, the only way to attempt to restore the photos was to use a “low level” hard drive recovery tool that pulled EVERY image that existed on the system. Every photo, every program icon, every program button, all recovered. All of those browser buttons, images, links that get cached [note: Facebook hasn’t really changed their logo in 5 years], all of those were retrieved too. When the images were restored, they didn’t have their original folders, and sometimes not even their original names. When all was said and done, I had about 256 folders (not counting the nested ones) all named something like “recupdir_25” and 82,000 files to filter through.
You can see now why I was reluctant to start off this task. Simply “eyeballing” the folders wouldn’t work and drilling down into each one drove me crazy after the third folder (8 when you count the subfolders beneath them). I shelved this project and forgot about it off and on as the years passed. I decided to try out the new “Photos” app that Mac had released and after migrating all the existing photos I had, I thought it was worth a shot to pour through the archive. The one advantage I could have was to let the import process weed out all the non-image files that were still stuck in the backup restores, and then I could manually browse through the imported images, assign albums to some of them, and flush out the icons and other images.
I’m far from done (50,548 images left to go through at the time of this) but it has been amazing to hop into a time machine of sorts and remember what has happened. The photos are far from spectacular. My grandfather is the one that took amazing photos. But the memories that the photos bring back are the truly amazing things. So far my “digital” rummaging has brought back
My first summer trip to France and the journaling I did many an evening sitting on the window sill of a third floor apartment (photo above).
The first big road trip we took with the kids to visit my best friend, his wife, and let our girls explore the ocean and sea.
The simple pleasures, that feel like a photo is simply warranted.
Experiencing crazy weather.
Seeing what happens when you get older and all your close friends have kids too.
There are still heaps of photos to pour through and it will be wonderful to see what else is there. It is a great reminder that while I most likely will not have every little whim and want that goes through my mind in this lifetime, I have more than enough.