Back it up

Consider this a PSA that doesn’t come with a tragic tale of photos & data lost.

Though, considering it has actually been since November since I did a back up, it could easily have been a tragic tale.

In my mind I back up my photos to Smug Mug on a near monthly basis. In my mind I burn my digi supplies to DVD as soon as the ‘download’ folder reaches 4GB. In my mind I copy the contents of my My Personal folder to both my EHDs every 3 months.

Lots of happy thoughts in my mind.

Many of them involving Nathan Fillion, sushi and a deserted beach.

But, unfortunately, like Nathan & beach, none of the backing up, copying & burning ever happen in real life quite the way I imagine they do.

See, I have a rather selective & idiosyncratic memory due to a combination of motherhood and insomnia. Mostly I remember things that happened years ago and things that happened hours ago. Anything in between is a mystery. So if I actually remember doing a thing I assume it must have been a recent occurrence, otherwise I wouldn’t remember it. Right?

This is the leading cause of the long expired items in my kitchen. I assume since I remember buying them, it must have been recently & so I don’t look at the date.

My recent discovery of 20 month old Milanos led me to wonder what else in my life I was remembering wrongly. Later that night I read a post in some forum or other about someone’s hard drive crashing & they lost 6 months worth of photos and half the book they were writing.

And I thought “well, at most I’d lose a month of photos since I back up regularly” and thought about the last time I plugged in my EHD to do just that. Because I clearly remember doing such a thing it had to have been recently. Hmmm…wait, that wasn’t last month. It was still cool out then (I have better luck remembering things if I think of what was going on around me instead of the thing itself), so it might have a been a few month after all. Maybe April. Probably I ought to back up the summer’s worth of stuff.

So I went out to Smug Mug to check the last month I uploaded.

I was right, it had been cool out.

It had been November.

So it’s been almost a year without backing up photos & I’d have been fairly devastated to discover that had my hard drive suddenly failed on me.

I had last done a back up of my folders in February and there are currently 7GB of stuff sitting in my download folder waiting to be burned.

Then upon further investigation I discovered there are three months of photos that I have not edited from their raw format. I started shooting in raw in December for more control of editing but Smug Mug does not upload raw format so I edit the best photos of the month save them as jpgs and upload those & delete the raw format versions to save space. I was missing March, June and part of July.

How did I miss March?

Wednesday night I started an upload to Smug Mug for Dec-Feb. I also started a sync between one EHD and my personal folders and realized why I hadn’t done it since Feb. I have random files all over the damn place on two EHDs and this laptop from back when I bought it a year ago and I have no idea what is what. I need to catalog the darn things & then combine them & then I can back them up properly.

Guess what i am going to be doing Labor Day weekend (since Nathan has yet to call me offering sushi and a plane ticket)?

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7 comments to Back it up

  • SciFi Dad

    Our system involves 3 instances of the recent stuff: we dump the camera cards to a working (i.e. primary, use all the time) drive as we go. Then, at the end of the month, my wife goes through and deletes duplicates/similar stuff and culls the herd of images, so to speak (she does it because the last time she let me I cut too much) and copies that folder to an archive drive on the same machine. Then I back up the stuff to DVDs and we put them off site (i.e. out of the house). Basically, this ensures that we've at least got two copies (since I'm good at remembering to nag my wife to sort at month's end… the DVD thing? Not so much.)

  • Ruth

    Ah, yes, the wisdom of back-up and EHDs.
    But …. who is Nathan???

  • Rinda1961

    Thanks for the PSA Stacey. This sounds like a good Labor Day project for me, too! I have tons of summer baseball tournament pictures I never edited but really need to (and then back-up). By the way, I do think it was sweet of you to be so supportive of my little league posts this summer, given what you wrote about your own childhood being so disrupted by that sort of thing. It really made me appreciate your comments even more!

  • Carrie

    Nice PSA. I've been trying to do a lot better since I lost a good portion of '08 photos, like you I THOUGHT I had backed-up more often than I actually did. Glad to read you didn't lose anything!

  • Andrea Chamberlain


    That's me, realizing how long it's been since I backed up my stuff too. God, I just *hate* doing it. I wish I could pay someone to do it for me.

  • Mel

    I have an auto-back-up scheduled for once a week, but I'd still be pretty gutted to lose a week's worth of photos… Off to click that 'manual back-up' button right now!

    PS Good luck with that sushi and plane ticket xx

  • Cindy Carlson

    Mmm, Nathan Fillian. Thanks for the reminder to back up as well. At least now I can have that mental image in my head while I do. ;)