Case Study: 2 years of Family Memories – GONE!

Case Study: 2 years of Family Memories – GONE!

I have heard three stories recently of friends losing their data and images from their computers – the computer ‘dies’ and all those precious files and photos are no longer readily accessible.

Most of us can relate and have had some terrifying technical glitch happen to us at some stage.

With today’s technology I would hope that most of you would have at least one reliable back up of your valuable data – either on another hard drive or saved to cloud storage. But it is amazing how many people don’t have any external storage or who haven’t backed up their data for really long periods of time.

Here is one of those recent stories that a friend shared with me only last week:

The Story:

The computer failed (even the IT technician could not retrieve many files)

Solution Attempts:

  1. Time to fire up the external hard drive back up >> which also failed (double bad luck).
  2. Ok, so now to access the cloud backup >> o OH the ‘automatic back up’ my friend believed was in place had not actually been running as she thought it had been.

The result:

Over 2 years’ worth of photos gone, just like that.

To someone with small children, 2 years worth of photos could be a child’s entire lifetime of memories, gone.  The good news is that her family, friends and social media sharing will enable her to retrieve some of her images but it will be a lengthy process and there will still be many that will be gone forever.

So how can you avoid computer failure or back up failure?

I can’t give you a solution for a broken computer, but I can give you some tips on how to minimise the risk of losing files and precious memories.   It really can be so simple to prevent these problems.

Do you remember our Back Up or Die post?  Where we introduced you to our friends at Photography Concentrate who taught us that we should always have three copies of our data and one of these copies should be kept offsite. Those practices and theories are what inspired me.

Here is how I back up my precious memories:

  1. I have one copy of my files saved to my computer – they are my everyday accessing files and the most current.
  2. I have another copy saved to Dropbox (for my working files) which are synced automatically and to OneDrive (for my images) which are uploaded directly from my phone as I take photos – a great feature if you lose your phone, you don’t necessarily lose your data as well.
  3. I have a reminder in my calendar to do the following tasks every month:
  • download the last month’s images from my phone to my computer
  • save a copy of my email (Outlook files)
  • save all of these files, plus my working files from my computer to one of my reliable external hard drives (I have two, which I alternate each month)
  • Then I take this hard drive offsite for storage for the month, and bring the other hard drive back home ready to use the following month.

So I have;

  • a copy on my computer
  • a copy on cloud storage
  • and a copy saved to an external hard drive stored offsite.

All of this takes me approx. 10 minutes; note how similar this is to the MOON Walk Digital Photo Filing FileOsophy we taught you a few months ago.

Our tip regarding ‘automatic’ back ups:

If you are using an automatic back up program to save your files to cloud storage, you must periodically check that the automatic back ups are working.  Schedule this into your monthly back up tasks.

Our tip re external hard drives:

If you are using a portable external hard drive – we suggest replacing your portable hard drive every 2-3 years. It is after all a piece of equipment with a lifespan, so better still buy a replacement within the warranty period – they really don’t make things the way they used to.  I can vouch for this as recently my laptop battery stopped charging.  The failure occurred two days after my warranty expired.  It was like there was a built in fail switch for that exact date.

If you find all of this just too overwhelming or confusing please give us a call – we would love to help you to keep your precious digital memories backed up and secure.

Have a magical day