Apparently, some two years earlier (before I was working there), he'd figured out that if he stored his really important documents in his trash bin, they didn't show up in the totals for the space used, as reported by the backup application. Thus, he concluded that if he stored them there, they magically didn't take up any space. And it turned out that he kept all his master copies and versions so may not have understood what it meant to throw anything away.
Not only that, he had given this "secret, clever" tip to many of his colleagues.
So two years' worth of his work had been deleted. And the only thing his trash bin trick had achieved was to make sure they were stored in the only place on his hard drive that wasn't imaged by the automated nightly backups. And because of security concerns, every machine was set up to securely erase the trash.
Luckily, we were able to correct Bob's "misinformation" with the other employees who used his trick, and we avoided other such incidents. And I became more careful in double-checking details with end-users -- especially if the details seem obvious.
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This story, "One person's trash is another's treasure" was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more crazy-but-true stories in the anonymous Off the Record blog at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.