I spent roughly $600 to recover personal files from a dead hard drive.
Now, $600 is a lot of money. It was half of the price of my first car when I bought it. It was more than what my total spending money was per month in my early years in New York City. When I saved about that much in phone service per year, I wrote a post about it. These days, it’s about how much mortgage interest I pay each month.
Now, I also recognize that I could have spent much more than $600 on the repair. If I had had more urgency about the recovery, I wouldn’t have had the time to price compare, and would have had to pay rush fees on top of that.
But I also could have spent less, much less.
In fact, I think it’s interesting to think about just what one could have spent that $600 on. See if you can spot a pattern.
What you could buy for $600
- You could go to Amazon and buy six 4 TB external hard drives, for a total of 24 TB. If you assume that one person needs about 500 GB of storage space (a wild estimate) that would be enough storage space for 48 people. (Click all images to enlarge.)
- You could go to Costco and buy fifteen 256 GB USB flash drives, for a total of about 3.5 TB of space. Flash drives are more expensive per unit of space, but don’t have any moving parts and are more portable. Also, more units would mean that I could place the drives in more places, or even give them out to people.
- You could also go to Google and get five years worth of 1 TB storage using Google Drive (or one year’s worth storage for five people). This way you wouldn’t need to buy any physical storage at all, and wouldn’t be subject to the mechanical dangers associated with hardware. If you only needed 100 GB (which is still a lot of storage), you could buy over 300 months (that’s 25 years) of online storage.
- Meanwhile, if you’re trapped in Apple’s walled garden, you could back up 200 GB of data for 17 years using iCloud. (Sorry, no good image of this.)
- You could also use BackBlaze to back up a single device for 12 years.
- Or, depending on how much data you had to backup, you could use their cloud storage feature and back up 200 GB of data for an eye-popping 47 years.
That last one is interesting, because it effectively means that, depending on your age and on your amount of data, with $600 you potentially could back up your data for the rest of your life.
Or, alternatively, you could pay $600 to a hard drive recovery service, once, if you didn’t back up at all. I guess it’s your choice.
Note: I’m not advocating any of these services specifically, and I make no money on any of these products and services should you choose to use them.
If you have suggestions of your own for online backup (or, anything you could spend $600 on), please let me know in the comments. Thanks!