Electronic files are threatened by many dangers.
File loss comes down to one of two problems. They can be electronically lost or mechanically lost. There are simple things you can do about it. A proper backup strategy is something we should all have in place. Have you reviewed yours recently?
File loss can seriously affect your happiness – that’s important
As a keen photographer, if you lose 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 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! File loss can be completely devastating.
When a disaster strikes – earthquake, fire or tsunami – the disaster organisations pick up the pieces. Often they say the loss of photographs causes serious emotional problems for people recovering from trauma. Think carefully about taking action to protect your files. Don’t let file loss devastate your memories.
Protecting against file loss is easy
Being keen on taking photographs can help you to enjoy yourself. Protecting against file loss helps you to preserve your files. But it also gives you peace of mind. So 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 one hard drive that fails you will lose everything. I used to run an Information Technology department. 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 file loss will happen.
Of course you may suffer from some sort of software error first. I have seen hard drives that completely corrupted themselves. They were working fine. But everything on the drives was simply trashed beyond use. 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 tell me of firewalls, anti-virus and other protection. But, even those can be overcome by hackers, virus infection or malware. 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 against file loss.
Don’t panic about potential file loss
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. But this storage alone is vulnerable. It is a single point of failure for file loss.
- Level two (back up): Use 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. 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. Then, you need to back them up to each other regularly. That three level approach is a simple and safe system to prevent file loss.
It’s supposed to be fun
Photography is fun. We all love it. However, file loss 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.
Look carefully at your potential file loss situation. Think about getting yourself a couple of hard drives and backing up 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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World Backup Day – save your files
Photokonnexion Photographic Glossary – Definitions and articles.
Simple mistakes to avoid in photography
Mistakes beginners make and how to overcome them
20 Ways to Protect Files on Memory Cards (Part 1)
20 Ways to Protect Files on Memory Cards (Part 2)
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