Electronic files are threatened by many dangers.
These come down to one of two problems. They can be electronically lost or hardware lost. There are simple things you can do about it. A proper backup strategy is something we should all have. Have you reviewed yours recently?
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It’s your happiness that’s important
As a keen photographer, if you lost your electronically stored photographs you lose the fruits of all your labour. If you are a keen family photographer you could lose all the memories those photos represent of good times and family togetherness. You might be losing both, or more if you have other uses for your images. Losing your files, and particularly ones that impact on your family life and memories can be quite traumatic. If your home is destroyed by fire the trauma is terrible. Imagine if you were to lose all your family photographs in that fire too!
When a disaster strikes – earthquake, fire or tsunami – the disaster organisations often quote the loss of photographs as causing serious problems for people recovering from trauma. Think carefully about taking appropriate action to protect your files.
Learning helps you gain more
Being keen about actually taking photographs can help you to enjoy yourself. You can also get more out of the subject if you learn more about it. If that also helps you to preserve your files and gain peace of mind it is worth investing a little time to protect your files.
You may have a great computer, it may even be new. Things change fast with technology. Before long your existing hard drive will be getting old, subject to mechanical failure. Hard drives are more reliable than they used to be. However, they are are still liable to fail. If you have all your data on a hard drive and the drive fails you will lose everything. I used to run an IT Department (information technology dept). I know how often hard drives just suddenly give up. Believe me do not trust to luck. One day you will lose everything. A mechanical failure will occur and your files will be lost.
Of course you may suffer from some sort of software error first. While working in IT I had hard drives that completely corrupted themselves. They were working fine. But everything on the drives was simply trashed beyond redemption. There are several ways this can happen. Virus or malware activity on the computer can be one cause. Damage to the file storage database is another possibility. There are other issues too.
Knowing about the reasons for file loss or damage is interesting. However, all you really need to know is that your files can be deleted, completely corrupted or otherwise damaged. This can happen at any time.
I know you are going to say you have firewalls, anti-virus and other protection. Yes, even those can be overcome by hackers and virus spreaders. Computer security is an ongoing battle. It never ends. You can protect yourself as much as you can afford. The worst can still happen – although it is less likely. And, that is the point. If you ensure you have all the right protection AND you back up your files you have the best possible cover of all.
Yes, the answer is simple. Back up; back up; back up! Notice I said that three times? Well, for safety sake that is what you should do. The principle is simple. Here is how it works:
- Level one: Updated every time you create a new file or change a file. Most hobbyist photographers will have this storage on the hard drive of their computer. It is the working storage space.
- Level two (back up): I would advise this is an external/portable hard drive. Normally these plug into your computer using a USB connector. Each time you create new files or change old files, you copy them to the back-up external drive.
- Level three (off-site backup): This is also an external/portable hard drive. You need to keep this copy at a different site to your computer and the level two back up drive. Then, if there is a fire at your house the level two back up drive is safe at another site. Then, about once a week, you copy all new files from your level two back up to the off-site level three drive.
So, in addition to your computer hard drive, you need two external hard drives. One stays next to your computer. The other you can keep in your office, or in a shed – anywhere out of your home. And, you need to back them up to each other regularly.
It’s supposed to be fun
Photography is fun. We all love it. However, losing all your files would be a a total disaster. You will be able to relax and enjoy your hobby all the more if there is a fall-back position. You can rest easy and feel comfortable with your hobby if you know that those files are safe. So look carefully at the situation. Think about getting yourself a couple of hard drives and putting all your files on them. Then you are covered.
Check out these external hard drives on Amazon:
External hard drives on Amazon
Also check out the links below for more information on files and file protection…
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