sh'/> The Blog from Kevin Leighton Photography: Back-up Those Vital Photos And Keep Them Safe
You Are About To Be Redirected To The Blog Page At The Kevin Leighton Photography website

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Back-up Those Vital Photos And Keep Them Safe

I first wrote the entry below a couple of years ago and posted it on what was my then new blog. I was the first entry and it received no hits. Not to be disheartened I left it a couple of years and didn't do much else until I created this blog which thankfully is somewhat more successful.

A few recent events, namely by son dropping a NetBook PC scrambling the hard disk, my wifes PC deciding to set itself back to factory state, formatting the hard disk in the process and then the recent Christchurch earthquake reminded me of this piece I wrote way back then.

On reading it the same is as true today as it was then, especially if you have valuable documents on your PC such as photos or carefully crafted documents for your work. Your documents don't have to be valuable in the financial sense, even if they are of purely sentimental value they deserve a little thought into how they should be preserved.

There was a time when your documents would be wholly on paper and keeping copies safe for posterity was quite a task. Nowadays it is so much easier and just needs the application of a little time, thought and perhaps a little money to make sure your documents it happens.

The piece, which I have edited a little to bring it up to date, read as follows:
I had an urgent phone call from A the other day. She couldn’t find the memory stick with her homework on and she needed it urgently. I made the mistake of asking “well where else have you saved your work?” The answer, which I guess was somewhat predictable, was that this was the only copy.

It brought to mind various conversations I have had recently about backups and external devices. Another one concerned a work colleague who had purchased an external hard drive onto which to copy her photos whilst she rebuilt her PC.

She had copied her photos but luckily not started her PC rebuild as the external hard drive failed completely taking all her photos with it.

The moral of the various stories I have heard is that you should never rely on one type of device or technology for saving important documents of any type be they photos, school work, music files, etc.

Sure, use a USB memory stick if you want to but don’t make this the main target for saving your files. Always use the main hard drive on your PC and a USB drive for document portability or a quick backup.

Other good options for backing up are the various web based storage services now being offered for free or a small charge depending on the provider. These are especially good if you have “valuable documents” such as photos which you wouldn’t want to lose if you had a major catastrophe at home such as a fire.

Web based storage services are great for a quick backup (broadband / ADSL recomended), especially if you might need to access files from different locations i.e. school or work and home. Hotmail (MSN), Zoho, Yahoo and Google all have free services to some extent. If you don’t have a Windows operating system some features may be unavailable but they are all well worth looking at. A good cross-platform system is SpiderOak which I have used extensively for backup and file sharing across Windows and Linux based PC's, they also have a Mac version. Similar but different to this is Dropbox which is more of an enabler for file sharing than as a backup client but it could still be used as such. Some of these services even offer a reasonable level of on-line editing of documents which I wont go into here but these can be a real value add.

An good addition to your backup armoury is the image backup. These are now easily taken on both Windows and Linux PCs, I assume also available on a Macintosh and these are a snapshot of the whole PC hard disk so if you recover from these you recover the whole PC just as it was, rather than the individual files you would recover using these other methods. Great if you have a major hard disk failure as this method saves you from having to reinstall all of your software and is the method I used when my wifes PC decided to format itself.

Backup & recovery is what I do for my day job. If anybody needs further advice on how they might backup their files more effectively, or how to think about starting to backup then email me and I'll see what I can do to help.

No comments:

Post a Comment