Photo Blog

Photography and assorted thoughts



For a change, you get a post without a photo attached.   What I’d like to chat about today is backups.  If you haven’t backed up your photo library lately, you should.  Considering the time and energy you’ve spent taking photos it would be a shame to lose that.  I’m currently in the midst of running a backup so I mean what I say.

I’ve spent a number of years with a job title that translates as taking care of computers.  As we tend to say, there are two types of people.  Those who have lost data and those who will lose data.  So get in the habit of backing up regularly.  It doesn’t mean that you won’t lose data, but it minimizes how much you lose.

Earlier this year, I helped a coworker with her computer.  She had gotten it so virus ridden that you couldn’t even boot it.  And when I asked her, when she backed it up, I got the blank stare.  I was able to use some tools and save what was on it, but one of the things she wanted was her old photos.

And thankfully these days, backups are so much faster.  The backup I’m running now has backed up 16 GB of data in less than 15 minutes.  When I worked at Ampex in the 90s, it used to take us most of the weekend to backup 12 GB of data.  Of course now I have much more data.

For the Apple folks in the crowd, you’re covered if you leave your data on the disk and run time machine to an external disk.  If you have a mac laptop, plug in an external drive and trigger a time machine run, if you don’t want to wait for it to notice.  This only covers the data on internal disk.

If you keep most of your photos on an external disk, you will need to back that up separately.  These days I use Carbon Copy Cloner.  It does full backups as well as differential backups.  In other words, once you spend some time doing a full backup, you only have to wait for the files you’ve added lately to get backed up.  Considering that I have 2.5 TB of data in my full backup which took about 20 hrs, having the latest backup go quickly is a blessing.

And if you’re backing up to the little portable disk drives, consider replacing them at the 18 month point.  I had a portable hard drive for about 2 years, and it started having write errors.  The data on my internal hard drive was fine, but I went out and got another external for backups.

All of this is a really good first step.  It doesn’t cover things like disaster recovery.  If you really want to be safe from things like fires or floods, you need to make a second backup and send it off site.

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