Bitrot is not usually the issue for most files. Sometimes, but it's rare. What I lost is a mayhem repository of hardware and software and human failure. Thanks for backup, life :)
- MP3s and M4As I had that suddenly started to stutter and jump around. You play the music and it starts to skip. Luckily I have backups (read on for why I have multiple backups of everything :) ) so when I find them, I just revert to the backup.
- Images having bad sectors like everyone else. Once or twice here or there.
- A few CDs due to CD degradation. That includes one that I really wish I'd still have, as it was a backup of something I lost. However, the CD takes hours to read, and then eventually either balks up or not for the directory. I won't tell you about actually trying to copy the files, especially with normal timeouts in modern OSes or the hardware pieces or whatnot.
- Two RAID Mirror hard drives, as they were both the same company, and purchased at the same time (same batch), in the same condition, they both balked at approximately the same time, not leaving me time to transfer data back.
- An internal hard drive, as I was making backups to CDs (at that time). For some kind of reason I still cannot explain, the software thought my hard drive was both the source and the destination !!!! Computer froze completely after a minute or two, then I tried rebooting to no avail, and my partition block was now containing a 700mb CD image, quarter full with my stuff. I still don't know how that's possible, but hey, it did. Since I was actualy making my first CD at the time and it was my first backup in a year, I lost countless good files, many I gave up upon (especially my 90's favorite music video sources ripped from the original betacam tapes in 4:2:2 by myself).
- A full bulk of HDs on Mac when I tried putting the journal to another internal SSD drive. I have dozens of HDDs, and I thought it'd go faster to use that nifty "journal on another drive" option. It did work well, although it was hell to initialize, as I had to create a partition for each HDD, then convert them to journaled partitions. Worked awesomely, very quick, very efficient. One day after weeks of usage, I had to hard close the computer and its HDD. When they remounted, they all remounted in the wrong order, somehow using the bad partition order. So imagine you have perfectly healthy HDDs but thinking they have to use another HDDs journal. Mayhem! Most drives thought they were other ones, so my music HDD became my photos HDD RAID, my system HDD thought it was the backup HDD, but just what was in the journal. It took me weeks sporting DiskWarrrior and Data Rescue in order to get 99% of my files back (I'm looking at you, DiskWarrior as a 32 bit app not supporting my 9TB photo drive) with a combinaison of the original drive files and the backup drive files. Took months to rebuild the Aperture database from that.
- All my pictures from when I met my wife to our first travels. I had them in a computer, I made a copy for sure. But I cannot find any of that anywhere. Nowhere to be found, no matter where I look. Since that time, many computers happened, so I don't know where it could've been sent. But I'm really sad to have lost these
- Did a paid photoshoot for an unique event. Took 4 32GB cards worth of priceless pictures. Once done with a card, I was sifting through the pictures with my camera and noticed it had issues reading the card. I removed it immediately. When at home, I put the card in my computer, it had all the troubles in the world reading it (but was able to do so), I was (barely) able to import its contents to Aperture (4-5 pictures didn't make the cut, a few dozens had glitches). It would then (dramatically, as it somehow have its last breath after relinquishing its precious data) not read or mount anywhere, not even being recognized as a card by the readers. Childs, use new cards regularly for your gigs :)
- A RAID array breaking, and the company nowhere to be found after all these years, and the discs not being able to be read elsewhere.
- Countless HDDs breaking in various ways (including a cat throwing a vase full of water onto an open laptop ... yeah ... love my cats sometimes), all without consequences as I have daily backups of everything I own, and monthly offsites.