Windows Live Photo Gallery Cleanup Continues: Restoring Photos

by JL Beeken on 11-22-2010

Windows LIveNow comes the nasty part of the Windows Live Photo Gallery Cleanup. The ANCESTORS. 108 folders with 6,173 files. Although, not every single one of them is an image file. A few are text or PDF. It’s a broad count. Maybe there’s only 5,586 images, precisely.

The DESCENDANTS folder was relatively straightforward although it took me a couple of weeks of 12-hour days. There are 61 folders there numbered from 1950-2010. According to my calculator that was a total of 6,491 photographs, every single one of them irretrievably damaged by Windows Live Photo Gallery. By some miracle I got all of them back from Carbonite.

Because there’s order to the folder structure and the same file-naming convention throughout, after awhile a pattern established itself and it was just a matter of referring to my pattern on paper and carrying on hour after hour.

The ANCESTORS are a different show. First of all, there are huge gaps of missing files. Irregularly-named files have to be matched one at a time with backup files of differing names, thanks to my change in filing systems and naming conventions over the years. Good thing I have two monitors because the matching will have to be done visually and each file renamed as I go.

Tonight my cousin in Georgia sent all the files from two 3-year old backup discs to our shared folder in Dropbox. It’s going to take 15 hours to get them all here. When I wake up in the morning it will be an early Christmas for me. I hope. But I’m still sweating blood. Those discs are three years old.

And then the work begins. Many of the backups coming through tonight are in PSD format so those have to be changed to TIFF first to match the damaged ones. Step one. With 108 folders I can start just about anywhere.

I’m sure my cousin has a more recent backup disc but, for now, it’s ‘lost somewhere in her office’. Or maybe it’s not there at all. Maybe I imagined it.

Here’s another backup plan. If you have a relative you share files with, or even if you don’t, just someone you trust – get a Dropbox account and create a Shared Folder. Then make two folders inside; one for you, one for them. Send your files to them. Have them send their files to you. Keep the Dropbox clear by removing their files and storing them away somewhere else on your hard-drive. Of course, they’re doing the same with yours.

Presently, I have a 1,000 GB hard-drive with two 640 GB external backup drives. Lots of room to squirrel away someone’s files for safety. I don’t ever need to look at them, just move them to a folder on my hard-drive and back them up to my external drives.

If you imagine that restoring 12,000 photos is fun or interesting or easy, it isn’t.

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