Do you sleep well at night? Unfortunately most of you probably shouldn’t, because your precious memories are vulnerable. I’ve read that most people simply don’t get around to backing up their files. In this case, like many others, good intentions are not enough.
While I suspect scrapbookers may have a higher rate of backup than most, you still might be wondering how to know if your digital photos are truly protected. Follow these three steps to ensure peace of mind.
Rule #1 – Get organized
How will you know what you’ve lost if you don’t even know what you have? It’s much easier to schedule routine backups if you know exactly where your critical files reside. Find a folder structure that works with you and keep up with the system. If you have prints or negatives, get them scanned.
Rule #2 – Duplicate (or triplicate)
Backing up doesn’t mean moving all of your most important files online or to an external drive. It means creating a copy of that file in the event something goes wrong. Sometimes one copy isn’t enough and you should consider a third way to keep the file safe.
Rule #3 – Think outside the box
In this case, the box is your home. In the event of a fire or other disaster, any backups inside your home aren’t going to help much. Secure your memories in an alternate physical location or online.
Backup Options Explained
Photo storage services: Membership sites like Flickr allow you to upload an unlimited number of photos and they promise to keep high resolution files secure forever. These sites don’t “talk” to your computer, so you are generally safe deleting files if needed (but remember Rule #2).
Online drive backup (not storage): Services like Mozy and Carbonite are newer solutions to the off-site backup need. For a small monthly fee, you can keep duplicates of the files you select on their servers. One caution though, this is backup, not storage. These services mirror what’s on your drive.
External hard drives: In these days, external drives are no longer only clunky boxes with their own need for power. USB powered devices are abundant and affordable. They work just like a thumb (or “jump”) drive, but can hold hundreds of GBs. You can even set up most computers to back up to these drives automatically.
Data DVDs: While use of USB drives is growing rapidly, preserving your data on a DVD is still a great way to keep an extra copy off-site. Use that DVD burner you forgot about to regularly create archives of your photography and scrapping. The send the disks to a family or friend for safe keeping!
Hard drives fail and really bad things happen. With active protection of your digital assets, you can rest easy knowing your memories are secure for future generations. What is your backup plan?
My whole computer is backed up to an EHD and also online. Now I just need to digitize my physical photos that were pre-digital, and all my stuff will be digitized and backed up. One note I want to make about burning data to DVDs and CDs: they degrade over time because the part you’re burning is made of wax. It’s happened to me many times, where I’m no longer able to retrieve the data on the CD/DVD after only a few years. I would say CD/DVDs are okay for an extra copy, but certainly not for archiving and deleting off your computer.
I’ve done DVD’s for a while, but they can get stale after extended periods of non-use. My external hard drive saved most of my pictures from a computer crash 6 months ago. Still, I’m realizing that online storage is the only option for me to protect against disaster or theft of my devices (seeing as how the external hard drive lives in the same room as my laptop). I’m looking into Google Drive or DropBox, I have a huge amount of photos.
Timely advice. My ehd died this week. So grateful for my online backup. A new ehd with all my data is on it’s way from back blaze.
We have all our digital photos backed up on two external hard drives and also on Carbonite. Occasionally, one of us will download photos from our camera and forget to copy to the other’s drive, so we want two. My weak area is scanning of older pictures. I have done many, but not all. It is time consuming and I can hardly stand to wait to edit the off colors and red eyes so it takes even longer.
I use Mozy for all my photos, supplies etc. However, when my plan expires I’ll likely go to Crash Plan or Back Blaze I think.
I also have an external hard drive and use synctoy to back it up. I also gave a DVD of images to my mum for safekeeping (wedding, baby’s first days etc)
I use CrashPlan for my online back up, it gives me such peace of mind! Totally worth the $$, which wasn’t as much as I thought it would be. I also have an EHD with everything on it at home. Thinking of getting another just to load up and put in a safety deposit box as well.
One more advice. Download photos from your camera as often as you can (I try to do this at least twice a month) and I don’t delete them from the memory card until I back them up on my photo only hard drive and after my weekly automatic C-drive backup. I’m going to buy another ehd and keep it at my husband office (offside). I take many photos of my kids (and have tens of thousands from my travels) so I have more than 1TB of data. I think it’s too much for online backup.
Crashplan has unlimited backup. While it make take some time for the initial upload, it’s certainly doable.