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Data Disaster

It has been a horrible weekend with significant (and possibly) permanent consequences.

On Friday I investigated an issue I had with logging into my Synology file server.  Since the day I moved my office across the street, I had been locked out of the server.  Several hours of investigation showed that I had not damaged the server and in fact my attempt to turn the server off for the move had uncovered a bug with a recent server software update that had being distributed by the manufacturer (I have my server set to update automatically).

The fix involved buying a new hard drive to allow me to ‘reformat’ the system while the original three RAID drives sat safe on my desk.  The procedure entailed setting up the server with the temp drive and then shutting down and starting back up with the original data drives with all my data.  I was assured by the manufacturer and several users on the forum that no data would be lost so I did not take the opportunity to back the data up to another RAID server I have (process would have taken 3 hours and I wanted to just get on with it).

Well the fun started when I rebooted the server with the original drives.  The system needed to rebuild the volumes and was happily doing so when we left for dinner.  When I returned back from dinner everything was off in my office.  The other basement resident had again blown the circuit breaker (they had done this on the day of possession as well).  I reset the breaker but it was clear this had hopped a lot of my system.  I had to start by rebuilding the router DHCP table and re-initializing the wireless LAN bridge across the street to ensure my neighbour was connected.  The night finished with server once again starting the rebuild of the volumes.

Saturday morning I discovered my email PST files were all corrupt. I was able to use Microsoft’s PST file re-builder to recover the files but mysteriously I lost about 5 days of activity.  I used the rest of the day to recover the incoming emails from my online Google directories and tried to retrace my steps to figure out what emails I had sent.

Sunday morning all appeared OK, I had retraced most of the lost emails and because I was sick all week, I really had not done a lot of computer related work.  But then I wanted to clean up my email and file some of my recent EBAY purchases.  I tried to open my finance file in QuickBooks and found that it was corrupt.  I then tried my company file only to find that it too was corrupt.  As I had these files on a RAID server, I did not feel the need to make regular backups and in fact did not have back up copies of the files since December of 2010 when I had switched over versions of the software.

For the company file, this would be inconvenient and would probably take a week to recreate the data since 2010, but only because it is the company file and I have scanned copies of all my receipts along with copies of my statements.  For the personal file, I do not keep the receipts after I have reconciled the statements and would have no way to rebuild the last 3+ years of data.  I am particularly proud of the fact that my personal QuickBooks file has all of my data back to the early 90’s and this loss would be profound.

I spent the rest of the day on forums looking for ways to salvage the data and downloaded several utilities to try the recovery attempt.  Nothing worked.  It is not looking good.  I ended the day paying for a professional date recovery firm  They had good reviews and they have a policy that you do not pay if they are unsuccessful.

I am hoping they can perform some magic!

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