When I lost thousands of photos and personal documents to the Cryptolocker virus last November, I had to make peace with the fact that I might never get them back. Devastated doesn’t begin to explain how I felt. Not only because I had lost so many precious photos, but also that I had failed to back them up. You can read about my experience here.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was shocked and delighted to find out that the creators of the Cryptolocker virus had been caught, and that the over 500,000 computer owners who were hit could now get their files back. From what I understand, private companies, governments around the world, and even the FBI were involved.

Thank You So Much

I want to personally thank the tech companies FireEye and Fox-IT – and everyone else involved – for helping me and thousands of others get our precious photos and files back. As much we are anonymous users sitting behind computers, these photos represent time, relationships, and important life events. Knowing that I have them back makes me so grateful for your work.

And thank you to my cousin, Bill, who is always willing to help me out when I have computer problems. He expertly navigated Command Prompt, and within a matter of minutes, I had my photos back. (I totally owe you more tacos and beer from Los Arcos!)

What I Got Back

It has been so much fun looking through the photos that I have gotten back. Photos that I thought I would never see again. Today, I’m going to share some of them with you:

A farm walk

A photo of a summer walk with family in South Dakota

Night out with friends

Photos from nights out with friends

Barn photo

Photos from the farm where my friends got married

First snow: Cheap Recipe Blog

A photo of the first snow of the season (when snow is still something magical)

Reflection on Maine coast: Cheap Recipe blog

A photo of my mom on the Maine coast

Trick photography

That night I attempted trick photography, while my family members held poses for minutes at a time

Over the hill: Cheap Recipe Blog

This photo of my brother and an over-the-hill blow-up doll that my mom sold at our garage sale. It makes me laugh out loud every time!

 …And Lots and Lots of Recipe Photos

My entire recipe stock photo collection was hit by Cryptolocker. I had thousands of recipe photos ready to publish online. And then in an instant, I had none. When I got them back the other day, I realized how many of them I had forgotten about. Here are just a few of the photos of food that will eventually be highlighted on my blog. (I hope I can remember the recipes!)

Bacon-apple slaw, from Cheap Recipe Blog

Bacon-apple slaw: Recipe coming soon!

Bagel chips, from Cheap Recipe Blog

Bagel chips: Recipe coming soon!

Twice baked potato cupcakes, from Cheap Recipe Blog

Twice-baked potato cupcakes: Recipe coming soon!

As I breathe a great sigh of relief, I want to remind you all to back up your work to avoid what I went through. Your personal photos are too valuable not to protect. Computer viruses, ransomware, and malware are getting more and more sophisticated. Do what you can now to prevent unrepairable damage in the future.

Were you hit by Cryptolocker? Have you gotten your files back yet? I would love to hear your personal stories. Please comment below or reach out on Facebook or Twitter.