Backup! Backup! Backup! Your pictures are priceless – you don’t want your only copy to be on a computer which is subject to getting lost, destroyed, or crashed. Whatever method you use to backup is better than nothing, but I want to tell you why I always back up my pictures to disks that can be stored away for years. You can use CDs if your pictures will fit. DVDs have over 5 times the capacity of CDs, so if you take a lot of pictures like I do, you’ll want to use DVDs. Any name brand is fine and –R or +R are OK.
Disaster Recovery Backup vs Archival Backup
If you use an online backup service, or backup to an external hard drive, they will be of great help if your computer should crash and you need to recover from that disaster by restoring everything that was on your computer when it crashed. But there is another reason for backups called ‘Archival’ backup.
I make a backup of my pictures every month … well, ok, sometimes a few months go by before I get around to it … but all the pictures I take during a month do get backed up to a disk. I keep those backup disks on a spindle (see picture above) and store them in a cool dry cupboard for years. An archive is a long-term history of data, in this case, pictures. The spindle in the picture above contains CDs and DVDs going back to the beginning of our RV travels in 2004. Then I have another spindle for years before that.
If my computer should crash, I would not use these disks. I have a disaster recovery backup of everything on my computer – I use the ClickFree external hard drive – that serves that purpose. My ClickFree is constantly backing up *everything* currently on my computer, including pictures. Most of the pictures on my backup DVDs aren’t even on my computer anymore. I’m on my fourth laptop since 2004!
Restoring to an External Hard Drive
I like to have all of my pictures available to me, but I don’t want them taking up all that space on my computer. I have past years’ pictures located on an external hard drive and Picasa can include that in it’s library simply by marking it as ‘Scan Always’ in the Folder Manager. Today I was reviewing some pictures for a project and noticed that November and December of 2007 were missing. I have no idea why – that was 4 years and 2 computers ago! But, I was confident that I had those pictures in my archives. I found the disks and put them in the disk drive. When asked if I wanted to restore I did not choose ‘Original Locations’ because that would put them in the My Pictures folder of the computer’s hard drive. Instead, I chose ‘This folder’ and clicked the ‘change’ button to locate the proper folder on my external hard drive.
So now I have all my pictures since I started taking digital pictures (1999) on my external hard drive and showing up in Picasa. Yet, I don’t need to worry about that hard drive failing or getting lost because I have my archives on disk!
This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour
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