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.
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!
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.
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...