Here are the winners of our Macrium Data Disasters contest

You guys are terrible. Every time we run a contest here at TR, we're reminded that our gerbil collective is skilled at… everything, really. Whether it's sculpting antropomorphic art with hardware, drawing computing-related cartoons, or writing up mock diary entries in the life of a PC, it's pretty much settled that gerbils can do anything, perhaps up to and including ruling the world. Hmm—there's an idea for later.

Since you're all so good at these things, contest entries tend to be very difficult to judge. We have to say, though, that the entries in our Macrium Data Disasters contest are nothing short of amazing. Your work this time around made our task particularly difficult. A lot of high-caliber system administrators in the gerbil pack came out of the woodwork to regale us with tales of flying bits, while others weaved funny stories about simpler—but no less tricky (and sometimes funny)—situations. We were spoiled with variety as well as quality.

Difficult as our task may be, judgement has to be passed. Here are our lucky winners (or losers, if they ended up losing their data). We'll soon be in touch with you all with information about how to claim your prize—a Macrium Reflect v6 Workstation license for home use.

  • thorz is a winner, and in more ways than one. His tale is a particularly long one—so much so that it's still going on to this  day. You'll have to read the story yourself to understand, but let's just say that not only he got the data back, he also got the best reward in the world for his efforts.


  • With the passage of time, it's inevitable that a systems administrator becomes a jaded, grumpy person that trusts no hardware, and most importantly, trusts no user. But we were all young and innocent once… and so was chubbyhorse. Read this gerbil's story and witness how humans are often the downfall of data.


  • ludi is a wise and venerable gerbil who's certainly amassed his share of computing stories. He spun an eloquent and loquacious tale about Windows 95 self-destruction. Any computing story that starts with "a long time ago" is worth a good read, and his will enthrall you to the very end.


  • Some people hack code. Others hack hardware. There are those that excel at both, and can lay hack on top of hack… then hack some more. Hackception, if you will. BurntMyBacon may not know how to cook, but he sure knows his computing. His story begins with a flooded basement, goes through multiple stages of electronics wrangling, and ends with beautiful ZFS-fu.


  • Altough the modern personal computer is a well-known quantity, there were times that "PC" could have a multitude of meanings. "Atari ST" is a name that takes us back in time to when disks were floppy and "hard drive" most often meant going to your folks' place for Christmas. Kevsteele wove a tale worthy of a Zak Snyder adaptation—a race against time, recovering data at a breakneck pace. If there's ever a new Speed movie, the script is right here.

We only have five copies of Macrium Reflect to give away, but we wish we had many more for our runner-ups. mac_h8r1 offered a story about a smart-butt lawyer getting busted by the IT department. zgirl, TR's Mother of Ribs and Queen of the Barbeque, dealt with magnetic fields strong enough to burn hard drives. Arvald literally gave his body and soul to the gods of data. Waco dealt with a disaster of biblical proportions. MetricT offered a new definition for "obscure problem." And Brainsan made us laught out loud with "the CD backups have sprouted legs."

That's all for this contest. We'd like to thank everyone who participated. Don't forget to check out Macrium Software and its Macrium Reflect disk imaging software, used by a good portion of the TR staff and a number of gerbils. Our thanks to Macrium for our prizes and for being long-time TR supporters. Congratulations again to all of our winners.

But wait, there's more! If you become a TR subscriber, you get access to discount coupons to use on the Macrium store (coupons apply to single license, not multi-packs). You can pay any amount to become a Silver subscriber for a full year, along with a 20%-off coupon for the Macrium store. Beat the average contribution (currently about $33), and you become a Gold subscriber. Gold members have access to a 40%-off Macrium coupon and number of exclusive TR features. Thanks for supporting us.

Comments closed
    • The Tech Report
    • 6 years ago

    I would like a full report from some of the winners as I was interested in the product. Let us know what you think.

    • ludi
    • 6 years ago


    I’ve managed to keep my data triple-redundant++ backup’d ever since that incident, but I’ve had to do a bit of backup and recovery for friends and family from time to time. Looking forward to seeing what Reflect can do. Thanks TR & Macrium!

    • BurntMyBacon
    • 6 years ago

    Those were some interesting tales. Full of loss and despair (chubbyhorse), action and suspense (Kevsteele), epicness of galactic proportions while remaining quite terrestrial (ludi), and entertainment (zgirl, mac_h8r1, etc.). It was even informative, though entertaining enough that I only realized that after the fact (err. to many to list; also, still reading/rereading). However, no story is complete without the hero and his love (thorz – the real winner). Congratulations winners and thank you TR and Macrium for hosting the contest.

    • Kevsteele
    • 6 years ago

    Wow, I didn’t know I’d won! I’ll have to go check my spam filter. Thanks, TR! Glad my “blast from the past” made the cut!

    • UnfriendlyFire
    • 6 years ago

    Your story reminded of a manager who didn’t believe in preventive maintenance and would routinely run the production machines into the ground.

    One day, he didn’t show up. His car’s braking system gave out on the highway and he had to call the tow truck.

    • thorz
    • 6 years ago

    Thank you! 🙂

    • thorz
    • 6 years ago

    Wow what a nice surprise!
    Thank you TR for the prize and for making the contest open to readers outside of North America. Living in Europe I almost always have to look from the barrier when this contests take place so this was a nice change.

    • sambasevam
    • 6 years ago

    Gah! I really wish I had won. Now looks like I have to buy a license or three. 🙁

    • Firestarter
    • 6 years ago

    It’s only fitting it went to the dreaded death star GXP

    • LoneWolf15
    • 6 years ago

    Congrats to the winners.

    I got a 4-bay NAS at the end of this week that’s getting recycled for the low, low price of free, so I feel like I’m getting free backup schtuff too.

    Now I just have to get four not-nearly-as-free hard drives.

    • meerkt
    • 6 years ago

    I’ve had more crash stories than recovery… and they aren’t all that interesting from a technical perspective. Unless you’re interested in the stuff that was lost. 🙂

    • Kougar
    • 6 years ago

    Congrats to the winners!

    Glad that Thorz got one after having read his post 🙂

    • morphine
    • 6 years ago

    You earned it buddy!

    • chubbyhorse
    • 6 years ago

    Holy crap.. I won!
    This is literally the best thing that has happened to me all week. Thank you very much TR!
    I raise my glass for a virtual toast to everyone: “To the weekend!!!”

    • JDZZL
    • 6 years ago

    Didn’t think I had any data nightmares worth a good tale, however, I did take advantage of my Gold membership and purchased Macrium reflect.

    Wow, great product all around. Now I finally have a proper backup solution that doesn’t involve hideous extensions and crossed fingers….

    • Acidicheartburn
    • 6 years ago

    Congrats to the winners! Hope you guys make good use of those keys!

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