Over the past year I’ve been slowing working through our collection of home video tapes and converting them to digital for easier viewing and long term storage. For the old VHS and VHS-C tapes I made use of the Diamond VC500.  It did a great job.  It could not detect when the tape had finished so you had to keep an eye on things to prevent having a huge capture file full of blue screen nothingness.

For the DV tapes from my Canon Elura80 it was much easier. I had to add a firewire card to my server since that is what the camera used.  For software I started with LifeFlix.  It had the ability to set a time value that would merge video segments that were back-to-back by that time amount.  However, the software did not like the Elura80 and would not work.  LifeFlix worked with me but was unable to find a resolution and stood behind their money back guarantee.  I then moved to WinDV which was a free tool.  The nice thing about DV is that is already digital and it would create files that were already time stamped which greatly helped with organizing.

I captured my last tape a couple of weeks ago, the Saturday I go to see how much space was being used by the capture files and the drive said it needed to be formatted to be used.  The partition information had disappeared.  I groaned but didn’t panic.  At least I still had the tapes and could repeat the captures.  After some Googling I found that this issue was typically easy to recover from.  I downloaded EaseUS Data Recovery software and let it go to town.  It found my video files and let me select which ones to recover.  They charge $69 but very much worth it.

I now have a 6TB backup drive ordered and will be installing Acronis True Image to do full backups.  Next step is a second backup drive so I can have one (somewhat) offsite should my home server get stepped on by a dinosaur.


Have you ever opened a drawer or cabinet and found one of those power adapters?  The kind that is the little black cube with the power cord tail?  I’m sure you have.  And have you then ever wondered what device it mates with?  Well this little hack may save your sanity in the future.

What I like to do, as soon as I get one of these power cubes, is get my label maker and tag with an identifying name.  So now it reads Netgear Router and Car DVD Player.