Backing up your digital pictures and other data

April 23, 2009
External Hard Drive by misbehave
photo by misbehave

I have had a few conversations lately regarding digital pictures and the desire to back them up.

As we all know, if your hard drive crashes, you may lose all of your digital pics – and there are no negatives to save you! Data recovery is sometimes possible, but it can be expensive, and is never a sure thing.

In the past, backups (if they were done at all) have been done by burning to CD’s or DVD’s. This is an effective but time-consuming process, and it can be tricky to keep track of what has been backed up and what has not. You can only fit so many photos on a disk, and if you have lots of high-resolution pics you will need many disks.

In my opinion, a more efficient and effective method of backup is using external hard drives to make a complete copy of your data.

This page contains a wide selection of external hard drives, starting at around $70.

Anything with storage capacity over 80gb would be large enough to store all of an average user’s pictures. The external hard drive is something that would plug into your USB port and let you simply copy your entire “My Documents” folder over for a complete backup. You could do this as often or infrequently as you feel necessary. Once you have completed backing up your data, you should unplug and remove the external drive and store it somewhere safe.

In the data backup industry, a backup is not considered fully effective until there are multiple copies, and at least one of them is located “off-site” in order to protect your data from fire or theft. If you want to take things this far, it would be a pretty simple matter to buy an additional drive and keep it at a friend’s house or in a safe deposit box. (Not something that I bother with, but I do like to live life on the wild side)

Backing up your data is one of those unglamorous things that nobody thinks about until they lose valuable pics or data. Don’t let it happen to you!

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