You’ve Lost Data Without a Backup…Now What?

November 9th, 2012

Backblaze data loss checklist

With the recovery from Hurricane Sandy just now starting, the full scope of what has been lost is coming in to view. One of the many challenges you may have will be trying to recover the data on your damaged or destroyed laptop or desktop computer. If you are a Backblaze customer and need to restore your data, please see our Hurricane Sandy blog post for information and instructions on how to do so.

If you are not a customer of Backblaze or another online backup service, you are now faced with the task of trying to reassemble the photos, movies, documents, spreadsheets and more that were lost. If you still have a local backup, great, but just in case we’ve assembled a list of places you can look to attempt to recover some of your data. No one source will most likely have everything you want, but hopefully between these sources, you’ll be able to recover the data most important to you:

  1. Shutterfly/Flickr/Picasa/Snapfish/Photobucket – Some of these services have been around for a long time. If you had accounts there and uploaded photos to them, they may be good places to retrieve some of your photos.
  2. Physical media – Start with the Flash drives, SD cards, CDs and other media you may still have around. Include those you may have given to friends and relatives.
  3. Physical devices – Check your digital camera, smartphones, etc. as they often contain images that you can restore.
  4. Dropbox – If you are using a sharing/synching service such as Dropbox, some of your data may be there. How much data you find will depend on what you put there and your account limits.
  5. Social Media – Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Tumblr/Pinterest/Youtube – If you uploaded lots of your favorite photos/videos, they should be recoverable from your posts. (Often you will not be able to recover the original, full-resolution version, but you can download a smaller size.)
  6. iTunes – If you had iCloud or an iTunes account, the majority of your music library purchased from iTunes should be available to re-download.
  7. Email attachments – This may sound like an odd one, but if you were an avid “attacher”, you may be able to recover documents, presentations, and photographs from either your own email attachments or from email you have sent to others.

If your machine was damaged, but you still have access to it, there are many data restoration companies that can try to recover data from damaged hard drives. Here are a few:

(Backblaze is not affiliated with any of these organizations).

We hope this helps in recovering some of your lost data and memories.

Andy Klein

Andy Klein

Andy has 20+ years experience in technology marketing. He has shared his expertise in computer security and data backup at the Federal Trade Commission, Rootstech, RSA and over 100 other events. His current passion is to get everyone to back up their data before it's too late.