Photo Backup – Software, Tips and Tricks

by Rod Dunne on July 15, 2010

in Backup Software

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It is unfortunate to say, but you only really understand the value of using a photo backup approach after you lose some photos due to a power surge, accidental deletion, computer error or virus damage. This article looks into the local and online photo backup options available, the pros and cons of each and some best practices in data backup.

Backup Photos Locally

Storing digital photos to CD, DVD or tape backup has been a standard photo backup approach for many years now. No special photo backup software is required other than a CD burner application. The cost of blank CD’s is very economical, the disks store away easily and you can make multiple copies to share with friends and family. The downside to this data backup approach is that it is all too easy to scratch the disk and make it unreadable.

The more modern approach is to use external disk drives/storage devices to backup photos. These can store huge volumes of photos and data (a laptop data backup could in fact include a ghost image of all drive contents) and costs have plummeted in recent years so they are a very viable option. The one concern would be that you would normally store the drive alongside your computer – the two places most people keep their backup photos – which introduces the risk of both being stolen or damaged (e.g. by fire/water) at the same time.

Our post on how to choose the best backup solution differentiates between HDD/DVD in more detail.

The question always arises if you should use photo backup software for synchronizing/copying your photos. Manually copying over the files to a computer/external drive is free and simple to implement. However, by using tools like Final Sync you can automate the backup process to run on a scheduled basis so you never need to remember to do it and can synchronize photos between multiple locations (camera – computer – storage).

Online Photo Backup

There are two main methods of online photo backup: Using portals such as Picasa/Flickr or using dedicated data backup services.

Picasa/Flickr are great for sharing files with friends and simple to use but there is the potential that the photo resolution is reduced or compressed in order to store the files so you never get back the original photo you uploaded.

In comparison, online backup services (e.g. iDrive/My Live Drive) can backup photos and other data from your computer onto their online servers. The process involves installing photo backup software which uploads your photos/data automatically, at a time of your choosing, to the server so you never need to remember to do it.

The value of any online backup option is that the photos are stored well away from your originals so you can access them even if your computer, camera and memory cards all go missing.

Best Practices In Data Backup

Lastly, here are some best practices for data or photo backup that can save you from losing your data:

  • Backup photos to at least TWO separate media (CD/computer/drive/online).
  • Do not delete the photos from your camera memory until you have two copies on other sources.
  • Do not store your duplicate backup photos all in the one location. At least keep the CD copies away from your computer/drive in case of fire/water damage to one room.
  • Distributing CD/DVD copies to friends/family is a cheap way of maintaining multiple backup copies in several locations.
  • If you are concerned about others viewing the photos (on the CD/drive) without your permission then password protect folder contents (e.g. using Zip password protection) prior to making the duplicates.

Related Posts:
- Discover how flash memory data recovery can be achieved if you accidentally delete/format your photos.

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