700 Reasons for backing up your computer.


posted on 22nd of may, 2013

It happened again.
For the second time over the course of many, many years, I've suffered a hard-drive failure. The poor 500GB drive on my desktop unit, after enduring years of endless spinning and whirring,and for reasons unknown to me, passed on. And with much sadness and horror, having done so, took with it a ton of data to a now invisible and inaccessible land of 010111011000's.
The real headache however, is that this drive was my 'photo' drive, and upon it were written tons of photos. Countless numbers of family and friends photos, personal interest photos, artsy-fartsy photos. And most importantly, for the purposes of this blog...revenue generating stock photos! At the time of writing this, near 700 of them. Photos shot, reviewed, selected, painstakingly adjusted, massaged, keyworded, uploaded and accepted at Dreamstime along with the effort, sweat and love that went into them embedded in their exif.
OMG!
Now, you might ask, "How's George taking this?" "How's he handling it?", you might question.
Has the stress of it all caused the painful pimples of shingles to erupt along all the nerve lines of his body?
Has he fallen down and can't get up? Is his heart still beating?
Is he frantic? Alarmed? Troubled and bouncing off the rubber padded walls of his secret home closet?
Has his world come to an end?

Well, thank you for your concern about my well being folks.
It's very kind of you to think about me. Very touching.
I'm fine. Really.
You see, I have experience in this matter.
I learned long, long ago of the necessity to backup data.
I learned long, long ago that you can't fully trust a single digital media storage method.
I am at one with the itching, pain and suffering of digital hemmorhoids...I've been there.

What I'd like to pass on to you today.....DON'T LEAVE IMPORTANT STUFF ON ONLY ONE DRIVE!
The lesson...DON'T LEAVE IMPORTANT STUFF ON ONLY ONE DRIVE!
I can't emphasise that enough.
Maybe you have been lucky and never lost data/photos...great!
Don't say I didn't warn you...DON'T LEAVE IMPORTANT STUFF ON ONLY ONE DRIVE!
Get it?
OK, moving on.

There are countless solutions available out there.
A short query on Google and you'll soon learn about many possible methods.
Storing data in the 'cloud'. Backing up data to DVD's or CDs. Backing up to other drives. Running raid drives and on and on and on. I'm not an expert in the field so I'll leave it to you to research it fully to pick the solution best for you.
I can only speak to a couple of methods I've tried (low cost solutions for cheap-assed guys like me)...
* Backing up to the cloud - I guess it's ok. I never went that way cause I figured would take too long to upload.
* Backing up to DVDs - Ok but i find it quite tedious. Besides that, 4.7 GB disks don't really hold a lot of raw or DNG files.
My experience also tells me that DVD's are actually quite unreliable. When I used to do this,
I couldn't read some of the DVD's anymore after a short period of time even though I took good care of them.
I expect the DVD itself degraded. I've heard 'gold' version DVDs would be better but more expensive. Don't do this anymore.
* Backing up to external usb hard drives - Works just fine except that I had USB2 and found that doing full backups (not incremental backups) it would take forever to backup a lot, lot of data. A couple of days straight of the computer writing to the drive in my case. I prefer to do full backups. I lost patience for that. Incremental backups or USB3 I expect would be better.

In case your interested, WWGD?
* A while back I bought a 'hot-swap drive tray' for my desktop tower and a 1.5 TB drive. I think it cost me a total of $125.
* Downloaded a simple freeware backup program called "Karens Replicator" which allows me to set what data/drives I want to
backup and where I want those things to be backed up.
* Once per week, I push my removable hard drive into my tray on the computer and start a backup just before I go to bed.
* In the morning, I remove the drive from the tray and store it in a special 'wallet' I made. Way faster than any other method
I've tried. A couple of hours typically versus the couple of days in the past. Sata drive directly connected to motherboard
via the swap tray instead of firewire, usb ect. Painless, once setup, just push a button and go away.
* I then take the removed drive/wallet, take-with and store it in the vault at work.
Done.

Why do I store my backup away from my home?
Well, I've read many-a-blog, online article ect where people just add another hard drive to their computer or have
raid in the tower (not the bug kind) or external drives/ storage bays in their home.
Common theme here...in the home.
God forbid if anything like this were to happen but...
What about theft? If you keep your backup drive in your house next to your computer or on another drive inside the computer, I expect it would be gone as well.
What about fire? Same story.
What about lightning frying the electronics in your house? (yah, yah, I know, we've all got surge protectors)
Not all off the folks writing those articles I read considered these scenarios.

I know, I know...I'm paranoid.
My wife says I am. No she doesn't. Yes she does....
I know those possibilities are extreme and hopefully unlikely but if something like that were to happen, how would you feel, in this day of digital imagery, loosing all your irreplaceable family moments or microstock photos and be unable to recover them?
I know I'd be pretty upset hence my solution. I'm glad I learned. I'm glad I do. In a single day, back up and running again. Only lost a few recent photos. The countless many reasons (actually many, many more than 700) that were on that drive recovered.
Except for that one photo of me, taken with my camera by someone else where I was passed out on the ground next to the campfire with obscenities written on my forehead and chest and my so-called friends" smiling and pointing at me...somehow lost that one in the crash. Damn.

If you need/care about your photos/data, heed my warning.
DON'T LEAVE IMPORTANT STUFF ON ONLY ONE DRIVE!
Oh yeah, already said that...

Comments (12)

Posted by Daddiomanottawa on May 28, 2013
Hi Robflyyn,
yes. I'd like raid also, has some other advantages as well.
A tiny bit slower on write but can have faster read speeds and so on.

In my case, most important to me, I wanted a backup that was kept in a separate and different location than in my home. Hence my solution.
Any backup is better than no backup.
For those who don't backup in some kind of manner, no backup will get you one day.
Posted by Unteroffizier on May 25, 2013
In the past we have PCI SCSI cards to host multiple drives running on RAID. Later improved SATA interfaces, SATA drives became mainstream and were made very reliable for general purpose applications. I do backup my files to an external drive say like once in a week. But whenever I have some photo shoots or get some important files off my computer, I will back up immediately no matter if its in the middle of the week or not.
Posted by Treb999 on May 23, 2013
I don't think you're paranoid. I have four external hard drives, and backup everything. Loosing images forever isn't fun, I lost a drive once and once was enough! I look at backup as an essential part of photography.
Posted by Suyerry on May 23, 2013
Funny, and a very good point! I backup, but not as often as I should...I need to make some changes. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by Egomezta on May 23, 2013
Wow, thanks for sharing, I need to backup this right moment....
Posted by Daddiomanottawa on May 23, 2013
Well, didn't think of that. lightning while doing backup.
OMG...whadamIgonnadonow?
my paranoia has just taken over again.
i know, i'll put tin foil over the whole house and ground it...that should work, shouldn't it?
Just thought of another one...alien abductions...maybe the tinfoil will help there too????
lol, lol

I guess there could always be something unseen and unexpected messing up the plan.
You have made me think about it though.
I'll just make sure no forecast for lightning on backup nite.
ttfn
Posted by Pglazar on May 23, 2013
"What about lightning frying the electronics in your house?"

What about lightning frying the electronics in your house during the backup night? ;)
Posted by Robbflynn on May 23, 2013
i myself am using a mirror raid and recommend using such raid array because:
- each bit of information is copied to the 2nd harddrive, automatically. No need to manually verify folder sizes and so on
- there is no need of usb connections, everything is done at hardware level(presuming of course that your hardware is able of dealing with such technologies... but it should, with today's hardware)
Posted by Karenfoleyphotography on May 23, 2013
Funny treatment for such a sad subject! Made me laugh (and then back-up everything to my third redundant site!!!) K-
Posted by Inyrdreams on May 23, 2013
amusing article for a scary situation! yep yep lost a entire hard drive of photos once... did have backed up to dvds back then at least- and mailed to moms! do point out that if this happens Dreamstime can and will send you back ALL the photos you have on their site at least. a nice thing to know!
Posted by Daddiomanottawa on May 22, 2013
Yah Colette,
you win.
you are more paranoid than I.
lol
Posted by Colette6 on May 22, 2013
You are not paranoid. I am. :-)
DON'T LEAVE IMPORTANT STUFF ON ONLY TWO DRIVES!
Backup automatically not only manually AND daily. Control on a regular base if this has been done well.
Store one backup of important data outside your house!
Even when following all these rules you will find out one day that some of your data is lost.



Comments (12)

This article has been read 346 times. 2 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: George Kroll.
 
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