Sorting, organizing, backing things up

by DaniGirl on May 30, 2010 · 9 comments

in Life, the Universe and Everything

I‘ve spent the best part of this afternoon getting my digital life in order. In fact, I’m dashing this off while the computer works hard in the background. Blog back-up, then reorganizing and backing up five years’ worth of photos. I just filled a 125 GB drive, and I’m not done yet — no room for most of the last four months’ worth of pictures on there. Yikes! I see Costco has 750 GB drives on sale for $120 — I think that’s my next stop.

Backing things up makes me feel better, though. My photography teacher suggests you keep at least two separate back-ups of your images, kept in two separate places, in addition to your working files on your computer. In fact, he suggests that every time you go out shooting, you immediately send the unsorted images to an external hard drive for archival purposes, then begin the process of sorting, choosing, editing and saving.

I’m an inveterate pack-rat, but I could never bring myself to do this. I save about 1/4 of the images I take, picking through them and keeping only the ones I really like. This only works if I stay on top of it, though. I’m trying to file everything and format my card every day, and that way I stay organized. If I wait, I end up with duplicates in files called things like “Sort through these later October – November 2009”. I just made more than 30 GB of space on my portable hard drive simply by erasing duplicate files I’d made because I was disorganized!!

I’m slowly becoming a convert to the multiple-back-ups mentality. Even though most of the best of my images are already on Flickr, I’d cry for days if I lost the originals. Besides, I had no idea how ridiculously cheap hard drives are now. Did you know you could get a terabyte drive for less than $200? Even I couldn’t fill that up in a year or two!!

I’m curious, how do you back up your digital life? Do you do the recommended daily back-up of your blog (Erm, I’m more on a weekly to monthly schedule on that.) Do you save your pix in more than one place? How often do you back up your computer — if at all? For the photographers (and wanna-bes) among you, do you save every single digital negative?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amber May 30, 2010 at 3:15 pm

I automatically back up my blog every week. I have a program set up to do that for me. And my husband has a program that automatically backs up our hard drive every day. As for photos, most of the best ones are online, so that serves as an additional back-up.

Happy organizing!

2 Sara May 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I back up at least once a month. Unless I have nothing else to do, then I back up once a week.

I’d like to say that I back up everything in two places but I can’t. I have my computer that I download my photos to and then I have my ALMOST full 250GB hard drive with just photos.

I have to take a day or two to make sure that everything is organized again. I usually do the organized and no duplicates every six months or when I am really struggling for space. Which is right now.

Sadly, I have lost some photos because I didn’t back up regularly. That is why I do it so “often” now.

Oh, I also keep every photo I take. I think I am going to have to do away with that now since hard drive space is a real issue with me now. 🙁

3 angela ( jhscrapmom ) May 30, 2010 at 7:50 pm

uuuurgh. a weakness of mine. and i almost learned the hard way this year when i thought i had lost just precious shots…

off to figure out my external hard drive that has been sitting in a box, unopened for months…

4 Sara in Montréal May 30, 2010 at 8:44 pm

The first thing I do with my picture when I uoload them on my computer is to delete. Delete the ones I don’t like, the ones that are exactly the same, the “test” ones that didn’t work, the ones where I forgot to adapt the white balance etc etc. I usually trim it down to half of what I took I’d say.

As to backups… I usually do them when I have nightmares about losing everything. Not nearly often enough. As for my blog, I backed it up for the first last year after some 3 years of blogging. I swear I won’t wait that long again! And yep, I only have one external hard drive on which I put everything. I guess I’ll have enough nightmare about my house setting on fire then one day I’ll buy a second external and put it at my mom’s place or something alike.

5 Simon MacDonald May 30, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I backup to an external hard drive about once a week using Time Machine on the Mac. I’m thinking of using Carbonite for an off site backup as well.

You may want to look at Backupify for backing up a Blogger or WordPress blog.

6 2Hirondelles May 31, 2010 at 8:13 am

Like Simon, TimeMachine does it for me, for both Macs, daily. If I didn’t have it, it would never happen. Right now, I have about 4 months of un-downloaded, unedited video snippets on my videocamera, and about 6 months of unedited clips on my MacBook’s hard drive, that’s how organized I’m not.

7 Mary @ Parenthood May 31, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I’m really lucky; my blog is automatically backed up every day to a separate server and also to an offsite location. The perks of running your own company I guess!

8 Lara May 31, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I’m wasteful of hd space because I never go through and delete the photos I don’t like. I have such a hard time with that and it’s going to be a problem in the long run.
I have everything on my computer, and then we back up to an external hard drive that has a secondary hard drive that mirrors the first one. I am also notoriously bad at deleting the photos of the memory card until I know the photos have been backed up in a zillion places. And I upload the photos I really love to various web sites so I always feel like that’s another back up.
I’m a bit crazy about photos. sigh.

9 mapsgirl June 1, 2010 at 7:09 am

I did cry when we lost 3 years of our digital life. Since that day, I tell everyone to back up their stuff. BigDaddy has become very diligent about doing it. We have a 2 terrabit external hard drive so we always have at least 2 copies of each picture becuase we also have copies on DVD as well. Ya, it’s overkill. But I can’t have it happen again….because I don’t have another $3000+ to have the hard drive recovery people do their magic.

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