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Backup reminder!!!

4 posts in this topic

I've not been around much the last few days, I was shooting out of town and came home late last night to dump photos on my computer and get to work processing 5,000 shots. Woke up this morning to check mail back up my photos to DVD and suddenly my computer froze. After about 40 seconds I got the dreaded blue screen of death!

Tried to boot into Windows and I discovered I had a failed boot drive. I do have 3 hard drives in my main computer, 4 external drives, and a Windows Home Server (WHS) that I built a few months ago. One of the beauties of the WHS is that it not only backups all of your files and folders but it mirrors your operating system drive.

Ran out and bought a new drive, installed it unformatted. A few drivers on a flash drive and allowed the WHS to restore my new drive from the backup from Tuesday. I lost exactly....nothing except the few days shooting which I had not removed from my cards. I do not delete data from a card until it is on DVDs and at least two separate hard drives, thank goodness.

The primary hard drive was only 5 months old, so this can happen to anyone at anytime. Develop a backup strategy NOW before you loose precious work! The WHS is proving to work extremely well, this was the first big test and it passed with flying colors and more importantly no data lost! Mine is set to back up all of my computers on my network every night. Not just data but a complete mirror backup of the operating system and all data.

Be careful out there, data (photos) are waiting to disappear on you!

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a Windows Home Server? sounds interesting.. is it something I need to purchase?

I have been having some major issues with my system,, well not anymore but did about a month ago, (and if the truth be known it's still not where I want,) I bought a 1TB external drive for my images,, I never leave any on my hard drive anymore,, it scared the [PoorWordUsage] outa me when my system crashed,, am I safe with my images on an external drive now?

that had to be frightening for you, I felt sick just reading your post sick good thing you were prepared!!

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Sue, to answer in order.

-Windows Home Server is both an operating system and now many manufactures are building a box to sell retail, HP was the first and most prevalent. I built mine from scratch, you have 6 months to try out the software and then $99 to purchase. This is a good way to go if you have an old computer laying around not being used and have some skills with networking and some technical knowledge. The boxes from HP for instance are all set up and ready to go, you just add hard drives as you need. These boxes also work with Mac!!!

-Your images are not safe on an external drive, no more safe than on an internal. In fact I see more failures of external drives than internal! Hard drives fail (see above) doesn't matter if they are in a computer or on your desk. That being said they are still the safest backup solution, they are pretty reliable these days. The key is multiple backups. I have an internal drive that only stores photos and an external drive that has the same photos on it. In addition all those photos are backed up on DVDs and the Windows Home server also backs EVERYTHING up. I have another external drive hooked to the server that backs up the server so I can remove that drive and put it in a fireproof, waterproof safe. I also have most of my photos on line which is another backup.

This is overkill for most folks but I have data that I need protected for clients. At the very least backup on two separate drives, one internal one external. The external can be kept in a safe or off site in case of a fire or water pipe breaking or flood damage. AS I mentioned above I don't format my memory cards until those photos are backed up on at least three different sources. Saved my bacon yesterday.

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I have one fewer redundant backup than Dan, but agree wholeheartedly with his philosophy, and I also don't reformat my CF cards until images are downloaded and backed up.

One way to extend the life of an external hard drive is to only run it when you need to download images to it or pull images off of it. That means my externals are off most of the time. Like anything else, the less you run them, the longer they last.

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