IT Support in Seattle

Ways to recover your digital photos, electronic documents, and other treasured digital memories lost in the fire.

Download Apex’s Guide To Recovering Your Memories

At Apex Technology Management we’re grieving for our many friends and community members who have lost homes and precious memories as a result of the Carr fire.  Our hearts are with all of you who have experienced loss.  There are so many people who lost important digital pictures, documents, or other electronic information. We want to help recover as much of your information as possible.  We do not want to give any false hope, however, due to the very connected nature of our current electronic world, there are often ways to recover information that you may never have considered, and there may, in fact, be copies in the cloud of some items you were not aware of.  Many devices automatically send pictures and data up to the Cloud (iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon cloud, etc.).  They might still be there for you to recover, and if you need help looking for them, we would like to help.

Also, keep in mind that even burnt and badly destroyed hard drives can sometimes be recovered. In general, the sooner you can find lost data, the greater the odds you can recover it.

Here are some places to look for your important photos and documents:

  • Your email accounts – (Gmail, Office 365, Yahoo mail, work email, etc.).  Specifically, check for sent items including photos, documents and other attachments that you may have sent to others.
  • iCloud – (particularly for iPhones, Macs and any Apple devices) for photos and files synchronized to iCloud and/or iCloud device backups.
  • Cloud storage – Cloud storage locations like Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon Drive, Dropbox, and the Verizon Cloud.  If you use a Google device, or Microsoft Office 365, etc., your computer may be synchronizing files to one of these cloud locations without you even knowing it.
  • Photo printing sites – Many photo sites keep photos you’ve uploaded. (Shutterfly, Costco Photo Center, CVS Photo Center, Walmart Photo Center, Amazon Prints, Snapfish).
  • Your mobile devices – many computers automatically synchronize to your other mobile devices/smartphones through Google Drive, iTunes, iCloud, Samsung, etc.
  • Social Media Websites – Many photos are stored on these sites, and some may even synchronize photos that you haven’t specifically published or shared: Instagram, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Flickr, SnapChat.
  • Your Blog – If you blog, often times many pictures will have been uploaded/saved to the Media folder on your blog (WordPress).
  • Cloud Backup Services – Carbonite, Mozy, iDrive, SOS, Norton Online Backup, etc.: If you established a “set it and forget it” cloud backup at some point in the past, these may have been backing you up all along without you even remembering to do anything.  It’s also possible that your new PC may have shipped with one of these backup programs enabled for a trial subscription.
    • Some Internet Service Providers also offer cloud backup services for free or as part of a bundle deal. This may have been set up when you switched your internet connection at some point in the past.  Check their backup services such as Frontier Secure & Frontier Content Anywhere, AT&T Tech Support 360 Backup and Go, Charter Spectrum Business Cloud Backup, etc.
    • Check your credit card statements and phone/internet bills for any reoccurring charges (monthly or annual) that indicate you may be subscribed to a cloud storage or backup service you may have forgotten about or didn’t know you subscribed to.
  • Wireless Carriers – If you lost your mobile devices, check with your wireless carrier. They may have provided a backup option/service (Verizon Cloud, AT&T Cloud, etc.).
  • Old Hard Drives, Computers, USB Drives, Thumb Drives and Cell Phones – Consider if you’ve ever given these away, or kept them in another location other than where the fire was.  An old device or drive may still contain photos and data you can recover (possibly even if these files were previously deleted).

Keep in mind that it’s possible your computer or other devices may have synchronized some of your files to a cloud location without you even knowing it.  We can’t stress enough that important pictures/files may be on sites you never thought of.  For example, in checking for this article, I found hundreds of my old photos on Amazon Photo despite the fact that I don’t recall using Amazon photo (most likely uploaded by an old Amazon Fire tablet I had).  It’s recommended that you go to each of these services and do the following:

  • If you don’t know if you have an account or you forgot your login information, enter all of your commonly used email addresses for the past five years and use the “Forgot Password” or “Reset password” links to see if you have an account.

Fire Damaged Drives & Devices Data Recovery Options

Even if your computers/drives/storage devices were destroyed by the fire and you have no other backup, it’s often possible to recover at least some data from them.

Specialized data recovery vendors like DriveSavers and On-Track with clean rooms and high tech equipment can sometimes recover data from even melted, fire and water damaged and badly burned computers.

Here is an excellent article to check out that discusses whether data can be recovered from fire-damaged electronic devices:


Time Is Of The Essence

With all of these recovery methods, time is of the essence to ensure the highest likelihood of success.  Some cloud services automatically purge data after a certain period of time, and some email providers only keep your sent items for a given amount of time. Backups can be overwritten – particularly when it comes to drive recovery. And, damaged devices can continue to deteriorate as they are further exposed to the elements.

We realize all of this is pretty overwhelming, even for someone who is fairly technical.  We are here to help. If you need assistance with this, or anything else, and you have lost your home or business in the Carr fire, one of our technicians will spend an hour with you at no charge (with proof of address in a devastated area).

We hope this article helps someone out.  If you are able to locate files, pictures, or other data important to you with the help of this article, we would love to hear about it. Please call or email us to let us know so that we can celebrate with you!  We are so sorry for your loss, and we are here to help in any way we can.

Phone: (530) 248-1000

#ShastaStrong #StrongerTogether #StrongerThanCarr #ApexLovesRedding

Important Links:

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Common Cloud Backup Services (Residential/Home):

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Wireless Carriers:

Specialized Drive Recovery Labs:

Related Articles on Drive Recovery: