Backups are one of those things that often get overlooked as too hard, too complicated or they are simply not even considered. Let’s face it the age old “it will never happen to me” excuse will work right up until it does happen to you, then it’s kind of too late …
The list of things that can go wrong with your PC / Mac / File Server is endless. As an ex Software Engineer & System Builder I know only too much about the potential problems with a computer, any part of your computer failing can damage your data. And don’t think that just because you use a Mac everything is fine, you’re using the same type of hardware platform and HDD’s (hard disk drives) as us PC users and they can fail at any time.
As an example, a few years ago I purchased a new 1TB HDD to put my ever expanding library of images on. Less than two weeks after moving all my files on to it and verifying everything was working fine the HDD simply stopped working. Luckily I had all of my important files backed up but there were still files that I considered “not important enough” to back up and they were all lost. Seems they were more important than I thought and reproducing those that I could wasted alot of my time and effort 😥
I even attempted (and failed) to get the HDD fixed and was quoted over $2,000 😯
How easy / hard is it to implement a backup plan?
Well it can be as simple as you want to make it. Here are your options:
1. Employ a professional network engineer to do it all for you, this could get expensive
2. Hire a local computer technician or go to your local computer shop, alot cheaper but they may recommend more than you want to pay
3. If you have a small amount of computer knowledge do it yourself
So if you want to do it yourself (or make sure someone else is doing the right thing) what are the important aspects to cover:
1. Make sure you can get up and running as soon as possible while losing as little data as possible should the worst happen (Mirrored Raid1 HDD’s are great for this)
2. Don’t backup to your own computer if you can get away with it, backup to an external HDD, NAS (network attached storage) or a File Server
3. If at all possible store duplicates of your backups at another physical location in case of fire
4. Use surge protectors for all your equipment
5. Backup to another HDD, they are around $1/GB these days and DVD’s are just too much hard work
6. Use a sofware program to create backups, don’t simply copy files to another location
7. Don’t forget to backup your system settings, my documents folders and all of your photography related files
8. Not sure about terminology used by these computer geeks? look it up on wikipedia
9. Finally make sure you verify that the backups you are making actually work (sadly this is a big problem in many organisations)
Finally here’s the setup I currently use:
– 2 x 1TB Mirrored Raid1 HDD’s for all my most important files
– Daily backup to our File Server using GFI Backup Home Edition, this is a free backup tool which I have found to be very easy to use and flexible.
– Additional backup of all original raw files on import (using Adobe Lightroom’s backup facility) to our File Server
– Off-site backup is still in progress, I will probably modify the File Server to use removable HDD’s or add a NAS device and swap them out every week.
The very least everyone can do to be safe is get a backup program like GFI Backup Home Edition and an external HDD to backup to. When you’re not backing up store the external HDD’s away from your computer in a safe location.
This was just going to be a short post but it seems to have expoded a bit, hopefully this information is helpful to someone but remember this is all just my opinion, there are no guarantees, do the best you can with the funds / equipment you have then get back to taking great photos with more peace of mind 😀
Just in case anyone is finding all this talk of backups and computers stressfull here’s a calming image of Boranup Forest to help relax you 🙂
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