How Do You Back Up Your Files?

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How Do You Back Up Your Files?

I have an external hard drive and do copy stuff to DVDs, is that what most people here do or do you use an online service for backing up your stuff?

I have tons of family history photos, my designs and now adding scrapbook stuff for making our family books. My hard drive is almost full. smiley

I would appreciate any tips that have worked for others here. Thanks

Hi, Kat. I have two external hard drives, both 2TB capacity. One is my scrapbooking storage drive (permanently attached to my desktop computer), while the other one is for backups only. I do want to get a DVD burner again very soon, so I can backup to DVDs as well, but I have to get my computer fixed first (see my "Computer Woes :(" topic in Chit Chat!). I don't backup programs, only My Documents - I figure I can reinstall a program but data is irreplaceable. Personally, I'm not really comfortable with the idea of online backups, but I know that plenty of people do this - it's just my own personal preference.

I have two external TB drives ... one for storage and the other for backup .... that drive has software on it to automatically back up as I work on the computer .... the drives with the software cost a bit more but are worth it...I don't trust the online backup servers .... my son works on servers and I know just how infected they can get in just seconds because someone using them hasn't updated etc ... I also have a friend that has drives stored with other people just in case something happens to hers ... a little overkill maybe but it works for her smiley

Thank you, maybe it would be cheaper for me to get an extra hard drive besides the one I have. Mine is Seagate, I don't know if it allows backup while I work since I have only used it to make a back up every couple of months.

Seagate makes both ... the difference in them is the backup software ... both mine are seagate

I have 2 externals 1 for supplies, 1 for backup, plus I also have an online backup at crash plan...I am really worried about losing all my stuff smiley

Does anyone also copy to DVDs?

I have decided to get a second external drive now. I have a bunch of DVDs that I copied my stuff to but I don't do that often enough. I still may do online backup, it just seems a bit pricey for what it is.

my opinion about CD's or DVD's as a back-up is that they are great for limited amounts in the temporary... but in the long run or for large amounts not so much. They can get damaged fairly easily compared to a EHD. Think of when you've scratched a CD and then the song would skip or never play right again... But the big thing is you can't put too much info on one of them, so you'd have to have tons of them. but I'm a big EHD or ghosting your main HD advocate. smiley

That's a good point @ Shawna, thanks.

I have an external hard drive for the backups. But I keep my photos on the SD-Cards (as a second backup) and buy new ones for the next photos.

I have 2 seagates and 1 is almost full. That one has some of my scrapping program on it and all of my digi files for scrapping. I put my svgs, etc on both drives, just in case. I also back up to CDs and put them in a fire box for safety. I just bought a 128GB flash drive to hold all my digi files to use with my Silhouette. I don't to digi scrapping on my layouts, but use the digi files for cutting or printing. I need to stop acquiring and start using more, but love this stuff!

I have a hardrive and a USB so I can print my work/photos on the fly! Since I'm still a novice my storage fits me for now. I suspect that eventually I'll need to expand on my storage methods too.

I back up with Carbonite which is an online backup. I've tried external hard drives, but either I'm doing something wrong or am just unlucky, but after 3 externals crashed within 18 months I decided to go with an online service. Also, I have been through a house fire with a total loss, so an online service really makes better sense for me because whether a fire, or weather, I don't have to worry about anything because I can always retrieve my files.

All my files are on my laptop. They're all backed up on an external drive. I'm also currently looking for an online solution for extra security measure. I'm like Amber on this (worried about loosing stuff). I mean, I have so much! smiley

we have (mostyl for pictures, but some scrapstuff too) a system with two harddrives, one in my flat, one in his. they are synching each other over night. i don't want to have my things somewhere online, so this is the best solution to me to be a) on the safe site and b) not giving anyone my pictures.

I upload everything to skydrive. In the space of 2 years I lost an external hdd and 2 laptops... I have lost 2 years worth of photos smiley so everything goes straight to my skydrive

I second finding some online storage. Google Drive has up to 15 GB of free storage, but it's probably worth paying... I just lost my external hard drive. I had debated for months about cloud storage, but I'd put it off b/c I didn't want to spend the $$. Wompwomp.

Fortunately all my scrapbook pages are up-to-date and uploaded to my photobook publisher, waiting to be printed. I have all my photos from 2013 thru now on my laptop, but everything prior to 2013 (with the exception of wedding pics on DVD) is lost. I've already scrapbooked those years prior to 2013, so it's not like I won't have anything to look back on, but I'm disappointed to lose all my documents and ALL my digiscrapping supplies. Ugh. Most of it was free stuff that I spent a lot of time downloading & organizing (all those great blog trains take time! lol).

So! I recommend finding a cloud service if you can, or at least finding a free server to use for the most important items.

I have signed up with a site called Adrive, I got 50 gigs free on the personal free account. I signed up for google drive and dropbox too. I think between those 3 services, I can back up my most important files. Thanks for all the discussion, it has been very helpful to me and hopefully to others too.

I use external HD and also a NAS with 2 1TB HD in it which are mirrored to eachother, so if one crash, I still have the other one.
I try to back up my files every 2 months.

I do, too...I use a 2TB Western Digital portable external hard drive and that's my base for EVERYTHING (photos, scrapbooking, documents, games, fonts, etc.) but then ALL that also gets backed up online via CrashPlan.

Ok, I tried to reply before, but it messed up after I got it all written out... so... let's try this again! LOL!

My suggestion, if you're really serious about backing up your files, is (beyond just backing up to an external drive) to REGULARLY back up to at least 2 online "cloud" providers AND burn CDs/DVDs.

I suggest two cloud services for redundancy and ease of access. I like to suggest both Amazon and Google for file hosting because they offer a decent amount of space for free, have decent prices if you want more, are already integrated into most people's lives, and have great reputations for reliability. If you have a gmail account or shop on, then you already have access to their free storage services and if you're not taking advantage of them, you really should! (other options include Dropbox, a Microsoft service, and Box, but there are a LOT more providers - just be sure to do your research!)

To maximize your storage, with Google accounts, don't upload pictures (pngs, bitmaps, jpegs, etc) to your Google Drive. Instead, upload them to folders in your Google+ photos section (formerly Picasa Web). I say this because any images 2048 x 2048 and smaller won't subtract from your Drive space if they're uploaded into Google+Photos.

To maximize Amazon storage, if you're wanting to backup any MP3s, Amazon offers a specific cloud service for that. You can upload approx 250 songs and it doesn't subtract from your file storage space.

I suggest avoiding more dodgey cloud/sharing services like 4shared and mediafire as a primary provider. This is because many of these type of sites have gotten in trouble for illegal downloads and this could cause file loss for you if the site closes, or at the least, inconvenience. Many public networks (like the library) won't allow you to connect to 4shared because it is dodgey. And if you lose files, it may be under circumstances where your only access to recover your backups is on a public network!

When generating a physical copy (like with CDs and DVDs), you really want to consider storage capacity AND ease of access. Don't assume that the computer used to create them will be the computer accessing them! DVDs certainly have more capacity, but a couple of years ago were hit-and-miss when trying to find a drive to read them. Now they are more frequent but CD drives are still pretty universal. Blu-Ray discs have very high storage capacity, but it is difficult to find drives to read them.

Also keep in mind that CDs/DVDs have shelf lives - eventually they degrade and decay, losing or corrupting data. So don't expect to burn one and have it last ten years. I would suggest re-burning them every few years to be safe. I've has some last 10 years, and some that have barely lasted 2. Again, be sure to research the brand/model of disk you are using!

Flash drives are another option, but I tend to find them less reliable than the aforementioned methods. They also have a shelf life, and I am not sure as to what the limitations are because I have traditionally steered away from them. They have been convenient for me, though, for a quick transfer of data in a pinch! smiley

All of this I have learned the hard way, so it's not just some "great" article I read in a magazine that I am passing along. If you really want to be on top of backing up the files you love, it involves a bit of chore! smiley

Mollie, thank you bunches for this great article. Great options. Sadly, some of us don't realize how important back up is until we lost something important to us. Don't delay your back up! Do it regular and put you a reminder sticky on your computer.

I think we get so complacent because computers make so much easier for us as far as storage and sharing media...we forget that it needs upkeep just like anything else! I want to just drop stuff off and forget about like I do my attic. lol

Good to know about the Google Drive pictures, Mollie! Thank you. I may transfer a lot of my scrapbooking supplies into the Photos to help conserve Drive space. smiley

Great tips Mollie, I am trying the cloud drives now along with my external drive and some dvds, I am feeling better about it than when I first posted this.
thanks everyone, it looks like this has helped others too.

Mollis is right in pointing out that DVDs or CDs have a (short) shelf life.. I tried to access supplies I had backed up on a DVd in 2008 and a lot of it was no longer readable / accessible smiley
I currently have 2 EHDs, one to work on, one for backup and I also use Crashplan to backup my laptop and both the EHDs. The only downside of Crashplan is that not being in the Us, I couldn't just send them a disk for the initial backup which took forever...

Oh, and I forgot : there are softwares that can automatically backup things for you... I could ignore a sticky note on my computer and decide to backup later but Cobian does not ignore its scheduled backup time smiley

I had been using Crashplan online backup, but I found that I can use Google Drive just as easily, and cheaper - BUT, I don't have that many supplies other than the ones I've made myself. Right now I am paying $1.99 a month for 100GB of storage, which is just enough for me. Most likely, that wouldn't be enough for those who download a lot! The thing I like about it is that it constantly syncs, so whatever is on my hard drive is what is on Google. So I can access my supplies on my desktop or laptop.

And like Mollie mentioned above, I use Picasa (Google+ Photos) for my pictures. That's especially nice because the pictures my phone takes are small enough that they don't count against my storage limit.

I am new to digital scrapbooking so my backup plan may not be the best. I don't like the idea of copying to DVD's as it hasn't worked well for me in the past. I use to store my family photos on them until I lent some out to a family member and when I got them back some were scratched. I now have two external hard drives - one for my pictures and one for my digital tools and layouts. I'm kind of a control freak so I can't use online backups. If I start running out of room on my external hard drives I will probably just buy another and label them so I know which one I need when I'm working. If you have any other suggestions please let me know.

Hi, I'm new in the world of scrapbooking and I use one external HD. these comments are great. thanks everyone. smiley

I don't use cloud storage with the exception of things I put up for others to download (yes, that is cloud storage, lol). Two reasons for my not using is 1, it's all stored on a server which can crash, and 2, it can be hacked. Remember all those nude photos of Hollywood elite that got stolen and spread around? I do have two EHDs but don't back up very often. I do not keep they attached to my PC. Over the years of listening to others woes with them, I realized that the ones that are kept attached to the PC are often the fastest to crash. My PC has a slave drive where I keep all my files. The main HD is for my programs, the slave drive for files. I learned this from a tech guru years ago. The drive that works the hardest and will almost certainly fail first is the one running programs. It happened to me some years ago. The main drive failed, the slave drive was fine, and I had to make it the main drive.

I don't use DVDs much any more. I just don't want to add the the stacks of them I already have. And I do mean stacks. That doesn't count the old ones that I dumped after I copied off what I wanted to keep.

A few weeks ago, I read an article on a news site that was musing about digital storage. How long the various ways of storing will last, and what happens in the future when the technology has changed so much that there is nothing left that will read the old technology. That's something to think about. All those DVDs and EHDs and no way for the future generations to access the information. It appears that the safest way to keep digital files may be to (gasp!) print them. Acid free paper, properly stored, can last for centuries. Crazy, isn't it?

I am one of those who over backup. My files are on my main computer; I have a online cloud that backs up what I put in a specific folder; I have my own 6 TB cloud that I can access when I am away from home; I burn my downloaded scrapbook items to DVD; and multiple external hard drives. My next plan is to put something in my safe deposit box.