Transferring files. The only bad side to the switch thus far.
In order to make my computer worth having I needed to transfer all of my files over to it, but you knew that. This process was quite tedious and full of little road blocks.
The first problem was that my external hard drive was formatted to Mac and was also completely full, as was the hard drive on my computer. This meant I couldn’t dump the 480GB or so from my external hard drive onto my laptop, which only has a 150GB hard drive to begin with. I also couldn’t dump it onto my new computer without formatting it, but it needed to be empty before I formatted it so as to not lose any data.
The solution was a bit annoying. I dumped all the files on my external hard drive onto my work computer, then dumped the entire contents of my laptop’s hard drive onto my now empty external hard drive, then dumped the external hard drive again onto my work computer. I should mention that I share an office and a computer with two other people, but as many as ten or so have access to the machine. Here’s hoping none of them felt the need to look through the folder I marked with “DO NOT DELETE.”
Next I had to reverse the whole process. Format the external hard drive to be read by both Mac and PC, put as much on it from the work computer as possible, dump that on the new desktop I just build, then empty and format it again, bring it back to work, fill it up with the rest of the files, then dump those on my desktop. It took a long time and was tedious. Oh and also not entirely effective.
Probably after three weeks of using the new computer I was on iTunes, trying to pick a new song to listen to when I suddenly noticed that all of the music by artists after the letter N was just not there as well as select favorite albums of mine from other artists. I’m blaming my recent obsession with No Doubt for how long it took me to notice. I never had to scroll past N, because I was just listening to their new Push and Shove album over and over and over and over. And over. Or I was listening to other music on Spotify. I immediately panicked. I had already deleted everything off my laptop and the work computer. Luckily I had uploaded my music to Google Play and had been regularly updating it since maybe May or June. Even luckier, Google allows you to download your music off of Google Play twice. I downloaded everything just to be sure I didn’t miss anything. It took a long time, but now I have all of my music back. Thank goodness for the cloud. I thought Play was only useful because you could play your music on any machine without commercials, but it’s actually helpful for a lot more. Yay!
Other files turned out to be missing. For a project I was working on I needed to use the music I had recorded in High School with Garage Band and the on-board mic on our family’s Macbook Pro. All of the tracks were gone. I had just cataloged it before switching computers so I new that there were probably close to twenty different recordings, but only three of them that I had specifically chosen to use for the project prior to the switch had made it. The rest weren’t on my laptop, my external hard drive, or my computer. I immediately went about trying to recover files. I knew this was possible because our family had recovered files after a computer crash once. That’s the same crash that erased almost all pictures of nearly three years of my life. But that computer had been a PC. I wasn’t sure if you could do the same on a Mac.
I either looked it up on Google or Bing. Or maybe both! Anyways, it is possible, but it turns out that the longer you wait after losing the file the less likely it is to be recovered. This is true of both Macs and PCs. I downloaded a free trial of a program and had it scan my laptop. There wasn’t anything there. I had it scan deeper. Nothing. I had it scan my external hard drive, but of course it found nothing since I’d re-formatted that drive several times since the recordings were on it. So I scanned the work computer, but got nothing. I had it scan deeper. It took… a while. I left it running over night. When you do a really deep recovery scan, it can find files, but not the names of them. So, it was also lucky that I knew what kind of file the recordings were, otherwise it would’ve taken hours to look through every audio file it found. In the end I found the files! Success! For some reason the scan on that machine found files from two or three years ago. Amazing.
Another problem! Because the Mac version of Microsoft Office is so terrible, I’d been using Pages, the Apple equivalent of Word, for the last four years almost exclusively. All of my word processing files were .pages and thus useless on my new computer. Last Sunday I sat down and one by one, opened up each file on my laptop and saved it as a PDF. Pages has a really dumb way of doing this. You have to click Print and the in the Print menu dialog box go to the dropdown menu in the bottom left corner and click “Save as PDF.” It took two episodes of BBC’s Sherlock to finish that task or, in layman’s terms, 3 hours.
I’m hanging on to my laptop for a few reasons. So I can skype with people, since I don’t have a webcam or a microphone for the new computer. But mostly for these kinds of emergency situations when horrifying things happen.