Ladies and Gentlemen … Start Your Backups

Bad Day At The Office

Sweetie!?! The computer is making a strange clicking sound.
What’s that smell? Is something burning?
Weren’t all your pictures on that computer?
Oh, no!

Don’t be a loser … like me.  I am talking about loss, data loss.  In terms of digital photography I am talking specifically about the pictures of your life that are more than likely all stored in one place only: the hard drive of your computer. 

Life gets busy and it is easy to just collect data, take pictures and make movies, write documents and put our financial data in our checkbook program. We just collect all that stuff in one place (our PC’s) and just think its always going to be there for us forever, just like a good friend. Well, just when you least expect it your technology can turn on you.  I’ve lost important pictures and let me tell you huge gaping hole in my heart that I experienced.  I was a looser.  My first thought was, do I have my stuff backed up?  My response was “no”, then “OH, NO!”

If you experience a hard drive failure it could cost between $300 and $3000 to recover the data depending on the severity of the hard drive crash, and this service is not guaranteed.  The data could be lost permanently anyway.  What dollar value do you place on your digital photo archive?

Here is a short list of things you can do to protect your valuable photos, videos and other personal data:

Anti-Virus Software

Malicious viruses can erase your hard drive.  Use a system that is updated automatically every day with the latest virus definitions.

Service Your PC Regularly

When dust collects in and around your hard drives, they overheat and that will shorten the life of the drive.  Your PC is one big electrostatic air filter. Have it serviced by a professional at least once a year and keep them off of the carpeted floor, away from dust and pet dander.

I recommend getting an air filter and keep it in the room with your PC.  Your PC will not breathe in as much dust, and as an added benefit, the air will be fresher and you will breathe less dust at the same time.

Backup Your Photos and Data

Backing up your photos and data over the web is becoming a very popular choice for data backup.  It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.  This is a great, cheap insurance policy.Online backup is like buying an insurance policy for your digital photo archives.

Here are the advantages of backing up to the Internet: 

You can backup securely over any high speed Internet connection.

Since your data is stored on a server offsite, you are covered from events such as PC theft, fire or hard drive failure. You might consider what would happen if there is an earthquake, flood or other natural disaster wherever your backups are stored.

Mozy.com is the online backup system that I use. Recommended by PC World Magazine, it works equally well on PC and Mac. You can back up to 2 Gigabytes for free and you can backup unlimited data from your home computer for only $4.95 per month (even less with an annual subscription). They have a pro version as well for your office computer.

Many online backup companies offer a low cost data backup only to charge you on the back side to restore your backup data.  Not so with Mozy.  They have no hidden charges!  When I asked their tech support to confirm, they told me “We don’t hold your data for ransom.”

Don’t be a loser. Take your digital photo library seriously, save early and save often, and make data backup a critical part of your digital photography processes. One day (maybe even tomorrow) you will be glad you did, or sorry you didn’t. 

You might even encourage your friends to back up their data (send them a link to this article!) You may become one of their biggest heroes the next time they experience a data loss event.

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