I own a mobile 500GB USB disk manufactured by Lacie and use it to put all my photos, so that I can both save disk space on my laptop and can easily share photos with someone else. A few months ago, my girlfriend bought a new laptop with Microsoft Vista included and yesterday, while I was busy with mine, she asked me if she could have a look at our photos.
Of course I said yes.
Lacie 500G mobile disks are pre-formated as FAT32. A nice filesystem as any OS can use it read/write, and it’s rather fast if you don’t need to manage access rights. But the vendor has decided to ship its drive with an auto-launch first-time wizard reformatting your disk as NTFS in order to, in their own words, optimize the drive. Linux don’t care about auto-launch things but Vista just does.
Of course, my girlfriend knows nothing about FAT32, NTFS and what’s behind the words “drive optimization”.
Hit next… hit next… hit next…
The good thing is that I’ve made two backup DVDs of the photos I’ve made during the first 2 years of my son. But I’ve lost all the photos since then (he’s now 2 years and a half). I’ve also tried to recover photos from the disk (thanks to photorec), but only recovered a very minor part of all my photos.
In essence, I’ve lost 6 months of photos, including birth photos of my little girl (now 3 months old).
I’m happy I’ve made some backups, but should make them more often and especially after exceptional situations like… your child birth. A good rule of thumb for managing personal photos is “have two copies of your photos anytime”.