Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Backing Up Your Photos

I asked my husband to write a blog post about options to backup your computer. I hear of people losing all of their digital photos because of a computer crash way too often, and it breaks my heart. I hope you find the information from my husband helpful.

My wife mentioned that recently she has had several friends who have had the misfortune of their computer crashing. While replacing or fixing a computer is traumatic it is nothing compared to the agony of losing your data, especially if it is family photos or videos. Cindy thought it would be nice to talk about the different options of backing up your computer.

I’ve worked in the computer field for 14 years and on a daily basis deal with critical data that needs to be backed up. I’m also obsessed with making sure our 460 GB of personal data is backed up every day. We have about 50,000 photos, 100 plus GB of home video and assorted personal files. Losing these irreplaceable files would be devastating. I’ve found it’s good to have a healthy amount of paranoia.

There 3 main ways to backup, I’ll briefly explain each one with the pros and cons of each. The most important thing is you choose an effective method and then backup your data on a regular basis.

Backup to an online service – this is my preferred method. Simply install the client (Mac and PC), select the files and the service will do the rest. I use Mozy (www.mozy.com), pay $5/month and have never regretted it. The data is encrypted, so it cannot be accessed by anyone at Mozy, backs up only the changes, and is automatic. The data is safely backed up at a remote location. You can backup 2 GB for free to test it out.
Pros - secure, automated, no hardware failure, good for a lot of data, offsite location keeps safe from fire and theft
Cons - have to trust the backup service, over time it is the most expensive of the 3 options

Backup to another hard drive – this includes another internal, external, or to a separate computer. This DOES NOT mean backing up to the same drive. Easy to setup and can be automated. You can purchase a 1 terabyte drive for $100 which will meet most backup needs. But hard drives can fail and it won’t protect from power surges, house fire, or robbery. But it is a great simple solution.
Pros - simple, can be automated, good for a lot of data
Cons - not protected from fire or theft, drives can fail, no offsite backup

Backup to DVD/CD – most computers have a DVD burner so this is a good way to quickly get started. This requires the most work because it can’t be automated and each backup must be done by hand. Also impractical if you have more data than will fit on 1 disc (4.7 GB for DVD). This method also won’t protect from fire or theft.
Pros - cheap, good for small amounts of data
Cons - not automated, not good for a lot of data, DVD’s are fragile, no offsite backup

This is a brief explanation. I’d love to get a lot more technical and detailed but I’m doing my best not to bore you. If you have any questions feel free to ask by leaving a comment on this blog post and I’ll do my best to answer.

The critical thing is to choose a backup method and make sure it gets done. The data was worth saving so it’s worth backing up.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, Cindy & Allan!

Don Crossland said...

I am a photographer as well. I use Nomadesk to backup my file. I switched to online backup because I had 2 HDs go bad on me at once and lost a lot of work. Nomadesk also makes it easy to share files with clients.

Vicki said...

Great info! Tahnks Allan and Cindy!!!

Vicki said...

Hey! I have Norton 360 and it backs up my files. Is this enough?

Allan Tobey said...

Vicki - I haven't used Norton 360 but from my research it will do a online backup. The standard edition will do up to 2GB and the premier edition will do up to 25 GB. If your version provides adequate backup space do some testing to see if it will meet your needs. Setup a backup schedule then do some restores. Confirm that it works and you can recover your files. If it works for you use it.

Unknown said...

Off to research more offsite options!

with love by mushy said...

thanks so much! I have been worrying about this forever and decided o sign up with mozy! do you have a referral code I can give them? xoxo

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