Backing up precious memories

For the majority of people, the most important thing that is stored on their computer or smartphone is all of their precious photos. Nobody can ever foresee any disasters, loss or data corruption before it happens. The best thing to do, when it comes to protecting precious memories, is to back it all up on a regular basis.

The following post will cover some of the ways that you can regularly back up your photos and important data so that memories can always be saved and accessed whenever.

Data Storage 

Data storage is an easy way to spread the content that you want to back up, over multiple devices. Data storage can include USB sticks, memory cards, external hard drives, CDs or DVDs.

USB sticks, memory cards and external hard drives are the easiest way to back data up. Memory cards are used in cameras or smartphones, to store all photos and videos.

From the memory cards, data can be copied onto the PC. As memory cards are relatively cheap, I have found that it is best to keep the original copy of the image on the memory card. When the memory card becomes full, copy all images over to the PC, and keep the memory card with all of its images in tact. Then insert a new, blank memory card in the camera. By inserting a new, blank memory card, you avoid accidentally deleting any images or files that were not correctly copied over.

Images and videos stored on smartphones can be copied over to a computer, easily by connecting the smartphone to the computer by way of a cable. Once connected, the computer can detect the smartphone and the images and videos can be copied over. Once copied over to the computer, copies of the files can be made to another medium.

USB sticks are getting bigger and bigger in volume, with more storage being made available, despite the physical size of the device. USBs are great for making another copy of every file that is required to be backed up. As well as the memory card that stores the original copy of the image, the computer that has the second copy of the file, everything can also be copied over to a USB. The USB sticks, along with the memory cards should be stored somewhere safe.

Data corruption can occur on a device. A USB stick can suddenly stop working or become corrupt, losing all of the information stored within it. To be on the safe side, it pays to not only copy all files to a USB stick, but also to an external hard drive as well.

External hard drives are also becoming bigger in volume. It is possible to get 2TB external hard drives at a reasonable price. A copy of all files should also be made to an external hard drive.

External copies 

Making additional copies of the files on USB stick and external hard drive, and storing them externally, safeguards against any loss, such as fire, flood, or theft.

Additional copies of the files, stored on USB stick and external hard drive should be kept at a different location from the original files. An example of a different location would be if the files were kept with a close friend or a family member. This is actually good practice, to have additional copies made and stored at a separate premise.

Hard Copies 

Printing of photos can be relatively cheap, and will provide a physical, hard copy of your images. Generally, photos can be printed from several department stores that have a photo booth facility available. Photos can be accessed from memory card, USB or smartphone. The easiest method is generally from the USB. Prior to getting photos printed, it would pay to sort the photos out into appropriate folders. You may only want a collection of photos to be printed from a large collection. Separating the images first, makes it a lot faster for the photo booth to display the images and for you to select the ones you want.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is another option, and allows for images to be saved online, rather than on any particular device. Once uploaded to the cloud, the files can be accessed by computer or smartphone, with a valid login or password.

Cloud storage is generally free for the first 1-2gb of data, but then requires a subscription fee beyond that.

Examples of cloud storage are: Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive.

Frequency of backing up 

Depending on how long it takes to fill a memory card, you could choose to back your files up either by time, as in every few months, or whenever you fill up a memory card.

If you decide to back things up periodically, you can always set a reminder, or do the backups every calendar month, or at the start of every season. The frequency is up to you. Just think, that the more photos or videos you take, the more you have to lose if anything goes wrong with them.