Is Your Data Safe?

I have been scanning and archiving old family photos in order to help preserve them for the future. The first set of photos are the only copy of each photo available so they were chosen first for archiving.

It is important that when you archive photos that you create a system for backing up your files so you won’t lose them. I have created my own system that should ensure I will always have a copy of each file I archive.

Archive Method

I have several media that I use to ensure I won’t lose any of my archived data. One point that I would like to make is that you should always have multiple copies of the same file. Never only make one copy and hope that it survives.

Below I have listed the media that I use for backing up in the order they are used in the process.

  1. External Hard Drive. This is my first source for my archived data. It is readily available so I use it to access the archives on a regular basis. Even though I can readily access the archives, I never make changes to the files directly. I simply make a copy of the file on my local hard drive and then change the copy of the file. In the future I would like to implement a NAS device to allow my desktop or laptop to access my archives.
  2. Online Backup. I recently added this method into the process for backing up. Once I move the files to the external hard drive, the online backup’s tool that runs on my desktop will detect the new files. At this point it will back up the files online automatically. For my online backups I use Mozy.
  3. DVD. I always backup my data to two DVDs and keep them offsite. If I ever lose my entire archive collection, I will use these DVDs to restore all the files. The DVDs I chose for archiving purposes are Taiyo Yuden DVD+Rs. Taiyo Yuden is known for their high quality DVDs, and for various reasons +R are better than -R for archiving.

As you can see from the list above I make multiple copies of my files on various types of media and store them in multiple locations. Is this overkill? Perhaps, but if something happened to my files I feel confident that I can easily restore them without worry.

Have Your Say

  • Do you backup your data, and if so, do you have a process?

11 Responses to “Is Your Data Safe?”

  1. philip says:

    I just started using Mozy. It is awesome. Reliable and reasonably priced. I encourage everyone to check it out.

  2. Beau71 says:

    Great post….I just recently purchased a Western Digital Mirror Edition external hard drive. That should hopefully avoid any type of corruption or failure that can happen with a regular external backup.

  3. Marie says:

    It’s certainly is important to back up your digital photographs. I learned this from experience. We backed up a lot of our photos in an external hard disk drive and it was ok.
    I then also made a copy on CD for some of my favourite photos…and luckily I did do this. Our external hard disk drive got corrupted and we are still trying to work out if we can salvage our photos.

  4. Paul says:

    @Brad: It sounds like you have a good process for backing up your data.

    @Layne: I hope you can recover your data. I know how frustrating that can be. That is the reason I always make multiple copies of my data.

  5. Layne says:

    I’m just rethinking the backing up of my photos and anything else that’s important, because I too bought an external hard drive specifically for daily backing up of the system (PC and laptop).

    After backing up all the photo images from PC, I deleted the originals from the hard drive to free-up some disk space. Unfortunately, this was really dumb cos I didn’t have a back-up of the back-up system and the external hard drive blew up, and I’m now in the process of finding out if the data can be retrieved! Doh!

    Sometimes it’s a wind-up however much you try to cover your arse, if you’re in the line of fire….. 😉

  6. brad hart says:

    First Thanks for the entrecard drop. I have a couple of things I do when archiving photos.

    1) If I have the negative that is always scanned at the best resolution in addition to the actual photo. People want to remember how the photo looked on the wall, not just how perfect we can make it look. I store these as photoshop files and make sure I keep a duplicate of my old PS and OS version so I or whoever comes after me can open those files.

    2) I put everything on multiple DVD and hand them out to family members. I make a duplicate set of of all my disks about every two years and hand them out to a new family member.

    3)I load my old hard drives with high resolution jpeg of all my finished work. I have a removable drive caddy that will let me easily access any drive in a safer cooler environment than most external USB cases since these caddies have 2 fans and receive the benefit of my case fans.

    4) Flickr. My SIL uploads all the archived photos to her Flickr pro account

  7. Paul says:

    @moneyloveandchange: Wow a professional photographer. Must have some great photos, that can be preserved for generations to come. Fantastic!

    @Nathan: I’m sorry you had some problems with an external hard drive. I haven’t had any with mine, and the transfer speed has been great. What brand of hard drive did/do you have?

    @Thomas: By offsite I mean at a place far from my desktop/hard drives. I usually take my DVDs to my parent’s and inlaw’s houses. This way if something happened to my house, and I lose my external hard drive, I still have my data on the DVDs.

  8. Thomas says:

    Backing up on DVD is something I haven’t been doing but should be. It’s cheap, easy, and effective.

    What do you mean by “off site”?

  9. Nathan Patel says:


    I bought an External Harddrive to backup my Harddrive, but it took too long to copy all files

    and it lagged my computer badly lol

  10. moneyloveandchange says:

    Wow – what a coincidence! We are also archiving photos – my husband’s grandfather was a professional photographer. We have pictures of family, WWII, as well as some really great pictures from his days on the Cleveland police force. For data storage, we are doing exactly the same thing (including Mozy and the TY DVDs).

    Our biggest concern at this point is the method for storing the actual photos. We have regular photos, slides, and even the really old glass plates…

    I don’t think the method is overkill at all. There is no price tag that you can put on family memories.

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