Are you paranoid about losing your photos? Me too.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Hello.there, Mar 25, 2008.

  1. Hello.there macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2007
    I have a frightening number of photos on my computer, some of them saved to discs, some to memory sticks, some to sundry websites, some to an external drive - but the truth is that if my computer exploded/was stolen tomorrow I would end up losing a whole bunch of my most treasured photographic memories....and it scares the hell out of me.

    So....what explosion/theft-proof measures have you taken to safeguard your photographic history?

    Do you trust one back-up source (external drive/discs, etc) or do you use a whole bunch of them?

    Would really love to know how people equally as paranoid as me double/treble/quadruple protect their photos - thanks!
  2. bplein macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2007
    Austin, TX USA
    My photos and music get uploaded to my file server in my house, which runs Windows. It in turn is backed up using Carbonite, which is offsite backup for about $50/year. Unlimited capacity.

    I want them to come out with their long-hinted Mac version, but they haven't yet.
  3. James L macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2004
    The trick is an offsite backup.

    I bought two backup drives, for < $100 each. I keep on at home that I back up to ~ once a week. The second is at a friend's place. I take my laptop over and back up to it ~ once every three weeks or so.

    If my computer HD dies, I am good for everything except maybe the last week. If everything in my house burns down, I only lose a couple of weeks worth of work.

    Oh, and I never delete anything of a memory card until I have two copies of it. i.e., one on my computer HD, one on my backup drive.
  4. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    All my photos are saved to an external HD immediately, duped to 2nd external HD every day or so. All of my photos/music archives are burned to DVD and stored in a separate cabin at my place. If one house burns down, chances are the other will not. New files are also archived to DVD once a month. It's a pain, but what are you gonna do? Even digital media can wear out.

    I'm beginning to cull through stuff now more than before as I shoot, and just eliminate shots that I know I'll never ever use. It takes an extra step, but saves me from storing many redundant or just bad pictures along with the usable stuff, sort of like when I scan my film archives.

    Something to think about in the future will be the issue of file formats and compatibility, etc. Archiving is never really just done, but you have to be the curator of your own "museum" of files, and be ready to convert them to whatever comes next down the pike.
  5. Kebabselector macrumors 68030


    May 25, 2007
    Birmingham, UK
    My Lightroom library is on a Mirrored external volume, this is backed up to another external drive. Also I have another external drive for off site backups.
  6. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    It's all about baking up.

    But you must from time to time convert to current technologies.

    I have some images scanned over 8 years ago ... went to put them on the current system and they were not readable.

    Had to dig up an older CD burner/reader and was then able to access them.

    I am hoping that using external HDD's will prevent that.

    I have duped backups in 2 formats ...1=FAT32 1=MAC
  7. disdat macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2005
    New England USA
    I have backups all over the place. I regularly make DVD backups to bring to my Mom's house.

    I have three external hard drives.

    I have a fire safe with DVD backups.

    I use Amazon's S3 service. Dirt cheap, and easy to upload with JungleDisk.

    Offsite backup is extremely important!!!
  8. Maui macrumors 6502a


    May 18, 2007
    Another vote for Jungle Disk. I used to use Mozy, but found the client to be pretty unstable. I switched to Jungle Disk a couple of weeks ago, and it has been running ever since with no crashes or issues. It has backed up 600 GB so far and has another 500 GB to go. It is automatic and just works. The only issue so far is no single file can exceed 5 GB, and that's a problem for a very few of my HD movies from my HV20.

    I have 4 internal drives in my Mac Pro, but use only 2. Those 2 are backed up nightly to the other 2. I also have backups on external drives, and just ordered a Drobo to replace those. And, I burn DVDs of everything once a month, and store them offsite.

    If I lose something with all of that, well, life sucks sometimes.
  9. weinrdog macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2007
    I have 5 copies of photos spread across 2 locations. PC Library, Photos backed to separate IDE drive in PC, USB HardDrive Backup of PC taken once per month and stored off site, MacBookPro iPhoto library, TimeMachine Backup on USB Drive sync'd ever weekday.

    It is a lot of copies, but part of an overall data management and recovery scheme. I've not had to use the backups off the USB drives yet, but have had to recover from the internal IDE Drive twice when the PC died and needed to be rebuilt.
  10. Keebler macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    i back up to DVD as well as 2 different externals, but I have to admit that I need to get an offsite backup going. I'm diligent and organized except for that important piece of info. The pics on data DVDs are in a fireproof safe however.
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    It helps to list the ways people loose data. The #1 most common way is "operator error". Next is "software error". and then there is theft of the equipment. And finally the meadi the data was stored on can fail. We thing to much about the last item on the liat and not enough about the fist.

    Follow these two rules. There are lots of good plans but all good plans follow these two rules:

    1. The data should always exist on three different media. In other words: three copies of each file with each copy on a differnt physical device
    2. The data needs to be stored at two different geographical locations. In other words at least one of those three copies needs to be in (at least) a differnt building

    Notice you it is very hard do the above if you have only three disk drives. Lets call them "main" and backup-A and backup-B. If periodically you refresh a backup normally the first step is to wipe out the old backup. But then you will have only two copies for an hour or so violating rule #1. If you make incremental copies by adding the new files to the archive you are OK. Or with four copies you are OK. But do not ever have lett then 3 copies even for a few minutes. I know - you think "a few minutes is OK" but if somethingis going to break chances are it will break durring a backup operation. Backups are the most stressful thing most people do to their disk drives so the drive if it is going to fail is likely to fail durrent a backup. So a few minutes is NOT ok.

    Also how to keep one offsite backup. Be carefull with the order you do things. Bring one copy to the office then bring the other one home so at no time are all thre copies at the same locaion. If you bring the off site copy home to do the refresh then you have all three at home at once.

    If you have a choise incrementalbackups are the best way to go. In the past people would simply "clode" the data to another drive. I think they did this because it was easy to understand while incrementals were confusing. Time Machine fixes this problem by making incremental backups easy.

    The problem with the "super duper" or "disk clone" backup is this: Lets say you have a file and it is good, you clone the disk and now you have two good copies. You are happy. Now your master copy of the file is corrupted but you don't know it. Then comes time for your weekly backup and you clone the disk again writing the corrupted version of the file over top of your only good copy of the file. This is not good. This is also the reason peoole who know what they are doing never do the "clone the disk" type of backup.

    Any plan that follows the two prime rules able and does not allow a corrupt file to over write a good copy of the file will work.
  12. disdat macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2005
    New England USA
    Chronosync throws an error if a file it is reading is corrupt. It has happened a couple of times to me recently. The backup process stops, and gives me time to check out the file. Then I go back to an older backup and find a good copy.

    I have also just started to use Time Machine. It seems to be working nicely, although I still backup normally as well.
  13. spamdumpster macrumors 6502a

    Jan 22, 2008
    All my media is stored on a hard drive connected to an old xp box, and is backed up continuously to another disk using syncback. About once a month, I create a second backup, which I store in a fireproof safebox (Staples, under $50). This way, I'm covered in the event of a fire.

    But I'm considering an off-site solution as well.
  14. pinktank macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2005
    If they are organised, one static (archival dvd) one external drive and running a n internal raid helps
  15. -hh macrumors 68020


    Jul 17, 2001
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    Backups - Plan A (x3) & Plan B

    In general, I realized pretty quickly that CD-Rs or DVDs wouldn't have the capacity needed; on an Underwater Photo list, photo pro Norbert Wu pointed out that the biggest bang for the buck ... and productivity (elimination of touch labor) ... was an external HD.

    Thus, my 'Plan A' has been to push a complete backup copy off onto an External HD that's not left hooked up to the Desktop PC during normal operations. This way, a single lightning strike will hopefully not get the non-attached component.

    I bought three (3) of these Externals, so that I could rotate them and remote site them (eg, bring one of them in to work and toss it in my desk drawer), although I've been lazy and haven't actually done the 'remote' site part.

    For 'Plan B', I'm backing the files up to a remote server.

    The remote server is space that I'm paying for under my one website's Service Provider. The Service includes 300GB worth of storage, which I'll proverbially "never" use for public web display.

    To get the stuff there, I simply FTP it, although that's a much easier said than done: my home ISP's upload connection speed is miserably slow, and after doing some overnight test runs, I decided that 2 months at 24/7 wasn't going to cut it. As such, I've been (cough) "testing my connection speed" at work to try to work through the bulk initial upload.

    My 'Plan C' is to set up a Server and put it in a separate room in the house. Biggest challenge here will probably be the non-technical part of convincing my wife that the old G5 PowerMac is EOL'ed and that I need a Mac Pro to replace it. Before I do that, I have to get rid of the 8600 I have stashed that I haven't turned on in ~3 years.

  16. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The classic example of a corrupt file is a Word documant where you accidentally deleted the last 200 pages. No software can detect this kind of problem

    If there is aproblem at the file system level, I can't imagine any kind of copy program not catching that.

    Time machine really does work well. Except in a few cases of very large files that change frequently like VMWare disk images.
  17. Over Achiever macrumors 68000

    Over Achiever

    Jul 22, 2002
    Toledo, OH, formerly Twin Cities, MN
    I have my photos from the past year on my Macbook and duplicated on my OQO. My entire photo collection is backed up online on my smugmug account. I also have two 500 GB hard drives (Western Digital MyBooks) that I redundantly back up my photos on. I also have DVD backups I make once a year.

    That's what ... six copies in addition to what's on my memory card? =) I lost photos from post-Katrina when my powerbook HD failed and I swore never to have that happen again.

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