Back it up or lose it!

IMG_3554A photographer friend recently had her laptop stolen, and with it her photos.


But you don’t have to have your computer stolen to lose all your images. There’s something very few people understand about computers that could cost you your digital everything – photos, documents, audio, video and more.


Understand this: EVERY HARD DRIVE IS A TIME BOMB. They all eventually stop working. If you don’t have at least a second hard drive backing up your computer you are just engaged in a game of Russian roulette.


It is neither hard nor expensive to set up a computer backup solution. Apple computers have a piece of software built into them called Time Machine. You can either buy one of their dedicated hard drives for that purpose, or buy a cheaper drive and take two minutes to set it up.


If you’re doing space-intensive work, such as photography, video and audio, you probably are already using a drive other than your computer’s internal drive to store your work. But if that work isn’t backed up on a second drive, it’s as good as gone. There is a wonderful utility called Folders Synchronizer that will help you update your key files, and can even be set to back things up automatically.


Being caught with a faulty backup strategy has happened to me, and I’m very good at playing the backup game. In 2012, just a couple of days prior to what was to have been the premiere of my film “Tucson’s Heart and Soul: El Casino Ballroom,” I heard the horrifying sound of a hard drive dying. I wasn’t sweating it. After all, all of the clips and photos for the film had been backed up. But what HADN’T been was the small file that sequences all of those clips and photos. With 28 hours to show time I found myself trying to reassemble the film as best I could. But I learned my lesson.


Hard drives are cheap these days. A 3 terabyte, 7200 RPM drive capable of running any multimedia project can be purchased for as little as $100 through places such as Newegg and Tiger Direct. I recently saw a 1 TB drive advertised for $55. Just make sure that whatever drive you purchase is large enough to store all of the data you need to. If not, buy another for the overflow. And remember, if you have large libaries that don’t fit on your main hard drive you need two drives to store them – a main and a backup. In my case my photo libraries are stored on A and B drives, synced frequently.


A backup drive is your best insurance. Don’t carry it around with you, both because it may break from being jostled around, and because it could be stolen if left in your purse or hard drive bag. If you can afford another drive to copy your stuff to and leave at a friend’s house, that’s the best way to make sure your data will be around for a long time.

~ by Daniel Buckley on March 10, 2014.

One Response to “Back it up or lose it!”

  1. Dan, I have been trying to get this into the heads of several artists I know who are NOT ludites and should be able to handle something this straight forward. I can’t even get them to back up onto Cloud… It has saved me at least once a year to have multiple backups. Evacuation for the Wallow Fire? Grab the 3TB and go… couldn’t take the computer.

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