Backing up external hard drives .. photo files

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Bernard Smith, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. Bernard Smith macrumors newbie

    Bernard Smith

    Jul 19, 2017
    Cowes, Phillip Island, Victoria , Australia
    Brand New to iMac... just swapped over from Windows .... so be gentle on me

    I have 2 external hard drives on iMac. One (A) is the main location for photo files and xmp files that are used in Lightroom. The second(B) is a copy of the main external drive. There are over 1TB of images..

    The Lightroom catalog is kept on the Mac internal drive with the photo files kept outside on the main external drive (A). The files are brought in and edited in Lightroom and when the files have been edited they are only kept outside on the external drive (A).

    I wish to keep an exact copy of the main external drive on the second drive (B) for safety and peace of mind and have already made a copy of everything to the second drive by copying the entire drive folder by folder to set it up initially.

    How do I go about copying just the changes made and leave any unaltered files as they were. I guess its called incremental editing but I don't know how to perform this other than deleting the original folder on the second drive and then copying the amended "master' folder from the first drive... seems long winded procedure to me.

    Is there any software that can do this ?

    I have not set time machine up yet as I will probably attach a seperate smaller drive for this to keep just the OS backed up separate from my photo files which will be too large to store internally due to the size of the files (over 1 TB) and growing.

    Any ideas and suggestions will be gratefully received.


  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Carbon copy clone is what I use.

    My photos are stored on my internal Mac drive.

    I have an onsite back up using a Timd Capsule and Time Machine.

    My third back up is kept at work and I use Carbon Copy Clone for. Do it every few weeks.
  3. ocabj macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2009
  4. zone23 macrumors 68000

    May 10, 2012
  5. ItWasNotMe macrumors 6502

    Dec 1, 2012
    1. Buy the largest external drive you can afford and use Time Machine to backup both your internal drive and your Drive A. This will give you a backup and Time machine will incrementally update any photos you change on A. Takes some time to do the first backup but then all the others are incremental.

    2. If budget permits buy yourself a Blu-ray writer (USB versions retail for c £70-80 in UK) and once you have 'finished' with a collection of photos burn them, and the xmp sidecar files to disk. You then have an archive from which you can't accidentally delete items. Easy to store these off-site
  6. monokakata macrumors 68000


    May 8, 2008
    Hilo, Hawai'i
    As you see, there are several ways to do this, and they will all work.

    My way is to regularly clone my external photo (like your A) drive to another drive (your B) using SuperDuper! and Chronosynch. I made the first clone with SuperDuper, and then keep it up to date using Chronosynch. I run Chronosynch every week or so.

    I could use either app for the process, but when I got rolling with this backup plan I already had them both. To me, Chronosynch is a bit easier to use.

    And of course I use Time Machine. I see you're in Oz, and I know nothing about electronics prices there. But I'll say that buying a large capacity drive for Time Machine is an excellent idea. You don't want to be fiddling with TM to get it backing up this or that and not the other thing, if you can help it. Get a 4 or 6 TB external, tell TM to back everything up, and then never worry about it again (or at least not for a long time). You could, as ItWasNotMe writes, have TM back up your A drive as well as your internal. Then you'd have your A drive, your B clone, and a TM backup of A that would be kept up to date without your intervention.
  7. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    I give this prediction any time some one talks about digital photos: "In 100 years there will be VERY FEW 100 year old photos"

    The BEST way is to use Apple's Time Machine. It will make hourly incremental backups of al of your data.

    What you propose is not as safe as you think. Here is the problem. Let's say some how an image file is corrupted on your working drive. But, well that is not to bad because there is a good copy of the file on the backup drive. Well it WAS good util you ran your backup script and copied the new (corrupt) version over top of the (good) old version. Carbon Copy and rsync write new data over top of old data.

    Time Machine will not write over top of old data. It only choppy changes and never over write hold data until it is forced to do so, then it deletes the oldest version of your file. It the file is changed 4 times TM keeps all four versions

    Scripts like rsync and carbon copy overwrite old data. So way does anyone use it? Because they are easy to understand. No other reason. For some reason incremental backup (like Time Machine) seem harder for some people to understand and people don't trust what they don't understand.

    But look at the most common reasons for data loss. It is NOT a disk crash. It is scenarios like the above, theft of the equipment, fires and other disasters and electrical problems (like if lightening hits a unfitly pole) that takes down everything plugged into an AC mains wall socket. You two drive system does not added the main cause of loss

    There is a good rule of thumb, an industry standard:
    You data needs to exist, at all times, on three different physical media and at two different geographical locations. This is the dead-minimum and it must always be true even while a backup is in progress. so the off site copy has to be rotated meaning you need at least two or use a cloud service. Likely to execute the above you need four copies

    Let's look at your specie case you have 1TB of data. That is not much really as they make affordable drive now over 4TB.
    So I reconndent this:
    1) Keep the images in the external drive
    2) Buy a second external drive that is at least 2X larger then all the data you expect to have 3 years from now. A 4TB drive would work fine. Use that drive for Time Machine and leave it plugged in 24x7. This is your primary backup and it will contain all the old versions of every file and it will always update itself every hour.
    3) Buy a second external drive but keep it in a fire safe in some other room. Periodically plug it into the iMac and let it sync-up over night then place it back in the safe. Time Machine works just fine with two external drives. If does backups to both, swiping them every hour.
    4) subscribe to a cloud based service. They will store your data for you at them vary far away place. They charge not much different them if you have to buy a disk drive every couple years.

    The above is safe enough but if the data are "business critical". that means if the data are lost you file bankruptcy then it is worth investing more security.
    1) continue to do #1 and #2 above. Time machine works well as a first line backup. (but us useless for the disaster or test problem)
    2) Buy a good NAS RAID box that can run a wide range of applications on the box. Synology is the best of these. Configure the box with TWO spare drives. Place the NAS RAID in some other part of your house, like a closet and tell your iMac to use the NAS as a second Time machine drive.
    3) Buy and identical NAS RAID and place this in some other building, MILES away and configure the to NAS's to synchronizes with each other. If your data are really valuable one place I used to work had a third NAS RAID and all three kept in sync. Each RAID was in a different city. ( a billion dollar company depended on that data)
    At a minimum the NAS box can cost $1,000. But if loss of the data means loss of the business it s worth investing $3,000. For Amateur hobby photography the cloud service works fine for $5 per month.

    There are other cheaper solutions that involve VERY secure cloud service like Amazon Glacier.
  8. Booch21 macrumors regular


    Oct 13, 2010
    I have the internal drive plus 2 externals all going to a 6 TB external through Time Machine. It's very simple and automatic.
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes. EVERYONE should use Time Machine. It works better then anything else and, with the new High Sierra OS comping soon it should be faster and backups will take up less space. The new file system is MUCH better and easier to back up.

    But if all you use is Time Machine to an external disk you are still susceptible to the #1 cause of data loss which is loss of the equipment. Fire, theft or electric problems can take it AND the time machine drive all at once.

    You need some kind of off site. Easiest is cloud based, $5 per month is not expensive.

    Then if the data are VERY important then at least one more redundant layer
  10. bluespark macrumors 65816

    Jul 11, 2009
    New York
    Reading between the lines of your post, Mr. Smith, it sounds like you may not realize that you can use Time Machine to backup both the boot drive (the internal drive containing the OS) and one or more external drives onto an additional external drive. You can, and that is probably the best solution for your purpose because it automatically and effortlessly backs up the incremental changes you make.

    I agree with others that you also need an offsite backup. Fires and thieves both tend to take/destroy everything local. Cloud-based services work very well; another alternative (not quite as safe, but probably good enough for a second backup) is to occasionally (say, monthly) clone all of your files onto a small external drive and then take that drive to work or put it in your offsite safe, etc.
  11. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    Sage words. I use two TM drives, one at home and one at the office, effortless offsite backup.
  12. dimme macrumors 65816

    Feb 14, 2007
    SF, CA
    I use time machine and a second copy is saved to my Mac Mini server (rsync) running crash plan, plus monthly off site backup.

Share This Page