Well, THAT happened…

You’d think that with the amount of money you have to drop in order to own a laptop, and especially a Mac, you should be able to safely save things to your desktop and not worry about them vanishing into thin air in such a sudden and spectacular fashion that it would’ve made Harry Houdini green with envy.

I learned the hard way that this is not the case.

You laptop can and–when the mood strikes it or, I don’t know, the moon is three-quarters full and the wind changes direction a fortnight before the autumnal equinox or whatever–will wipe the memory of your desktop from it’s hard drive, leaving you with nothing but a lot of frustration and the shards of broken dreams.

What kills me is that the machine works absolutely fine. It just deleted everything that I had saved to the desktop, and there’s no trace of any of those files or folders anywhere on the computer.

They’re just gone.

This was so close to being devastating. One of the casualties of this random deletion was the folder that held the Word documents that served as the source files for both of my novels. All the formatted files plus the originals along with notes, ideas, graphics, and a bunch of other stuff. All of this is just gone, and I cannot find it, no matter what I try. Time Machine was never set up, don’t ask me why, and I got desperate enough to try recovery scanning software that a friend sent to me in the wake of several frantic, panicky text messages. No luck on that front.

Yesterday was just not a good day.

Thankfully, I had already uploaded the formatted book 2 files to Amazon, Smashwords, and CreateSpace in order to get pre-orders up and running before sending out digital copies to Kickstarter backers, and Unbroken Light was accepted into Smashwords’s Premium Catalog a mere hour before my desktop was wiped clean. But what makes Smashwords so spectacular is the fact that they let authors download full versions of their books in multiple formats… including the original source file.

Yes. Thanks to Smashwords, I have Unbroken Light back with all its SW formatting. The CreateSpace and Kindle formats are lost along with the original, but this is the best possible alternative.

I’m also lucky in that I have a back up hard drive that I had almost everything saved to (most current version of Unbroken Light being the exception…) and this includes everything I needed for my Kickstarter rewards. Thank god I’ve been moving and saving files on to that thing… this was so close to being catastrophic. But I have everything that I need, except for an explanation.

I just don’t understand what happened. When the laptop wiped the desktop, I was downloading files from Smashwords. I had Calibre open (free ebook conversion software) and had just updated it. I wonder if that had something to do with it, but I’ve had that software for over two years now, and Smashwords files shouldn’t have done this. It doesn’t feel like a hack, because all that’s missing are the desktop files, and while that was devastating in its own right, my downloads and applications are all still present and accounted for, and from what I can tell, everything works just fine.

It’s baffling.

I called the Apple Store hoping to get an answer (the helpline listed on Apple’s website didn’t even ring, interestingly enough…) and their response was essentially “We don’t know what did it, therefore we can’t help.” Apparently, if it isn’t a surefire, indisputable problem with the Apple product, Apple washes its hands of all issues. I asked about bringing the computer into the store but they said that there was only a very slim chance they could actually do anything. And frankly, after a meeting with an Apple Store IT guy a couple of years ago who insisted that Photoshop CS4 wouldn’t work on the newer laptop only to discover that it does, in fact, work just fine on said machine, I don’t have much faith in them to find my files. My one last hope is with a third-party IT person who agreed to take a look. I don’t know if he’ll be able to find anything, but I’m hoping he’ll at least be able to tell me what caused this in the first place, if there’s something on the computer that shouldn’t be there or if something is corrupted or what have you. I don’t have very high hopes, though.

Until then, I’ll just have to keep a close watch on the computer and see if anything else starts behaving funny. I hope it’s all right, this bizarre hiccup aside. It’s only two years old, and I don’t want to have to spend the money on a new one so soon. I’d consider ditching Apple after this fiasco but a lot of my software is the Mac version, including Photoshop, and I’m not keen on losing that just yet.

Bleh, technology…

Bless the creators of external hard drives, though, along with everywhere else I’ve saved back up files to as of today. Moral of the story: external hard drives and storage sites are your friends. Product-specific support crews, unfortunately, are not.

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