The problem with copyright is misunderstood. Copyright ownership exists from the beginning, only for the original author, and no one but the original author is allowed to REGISTER the copyright.
There is a difference between OWNING the copyright and REGISTERING it. Too often today, when someone steals data/files off your computer, they think all they have to do is beat you to a registration form, but if they do, it is copyright fraud.
The reason drives and original files are part of what is important, is because they can establish the first time a work was created. Even if someone changes the dates or writes over the file, there is still evidence of the earliest date. Its not the only thing: the person claiming copyright obviously has to be able to do the work, show that it is consistent with other work they do, and usually they know things about the work that the faker can't know.
Mailing something to yourself is an old wives tale. It won't hold up. And the costs of registering have gone up considerably. By the time a case gets to court everybody is claiming copyright, and registries are put aside until creatorship is determined. See Federal Copyright Act 1976, DMCA 1998,
and Berne Universal Treaty as well as the Bono Act. This is why original data is not the only thing to establish ownership, and authorship which are initially synonymous. Copyright law changed drastically about 20 years ago and is recognized internationally in about 135 countries to protect author's rights, not scam artists rushing to the Federal Copyright office. You do not even have to register anymore to own a copyright [I think you may have to before entering litigation], and anymore, if it is YOUR WORK, then you own the work from the moment it is FIXED.
I do thank everybody for their help on the tech stuff, though. I am pretty worried about the loss of data though: I did find some data loss recovery for as low as $100, but I got estimates from a lab of $500 to 2500 to try and recover it. I am a novice on IDE stuff, but I am wondering if it could be a configuration thing. Thanks