If you are like me then most of your photos are stored in a single photo on your hard drive creatively labeled: ‘photos’. Now imagine just for a second what would happen if your computer was stolen ? … your operating system got infected with a virus ? … your hard drive died ? It all comes down to one single question:
“Do you have a backup ?”
If your answer is YES, then good for you. Your photos are preserved, despite your problems. By having a backup, getting them back is a few clicks away, or as many as it takes to invoke the restore procedure.
However, if your answer is NO, you should definitely consider making a backup. Today’s backup tools are easy, convenient and automatic. And some of them are even in-built into operating system such as windows XP, Vista, 7, or Mac, meaning there is no excuse not to make a backup. Invest a little bit of your time to create an automated backup (recommended), meaning that from that moment on, whatever photos you take, your backup tool will keep a watchful eye on them.
Ideally you should consider storing your backups away from your PC. CDs and DVDs are a possibility, but may not be practical, especially if you have many shots. The best solution is invest in an external hard drive, and keep it separate from your PC. Alternatively, you could invest in network-attached storage (NAS), which is basically a hard disk that is permanently sitting on your home and office network. It gives you the flexibility of an external drive, without the hassels on connecting it via USB or Firewire every time you decide to make a backup, and as a bonus, you can access it from any PC on your network (or even from a Photo Frame perhaps).
So to conclude, our tip of the week is:
“Make your backup when you DON’T really need it, so it may be there for you when you DO really need it !”