Avoid The Heartache of Digital File Loss With These Backup Tips

Avoid The Heartache of Digital File Loss With These Back-Up Tips | Retouchingblog.com

Avoid The Heartache of Digital File Loss...

Many people have gone through the heartache of a hard drive crashed and file loss. Unfortunately, hard drive crashes, computer crashes, and corrupted files are inevitable events most of us will have to experience. But how to you make it as painless as possible? Be prepared. (or at least as prepared as possible) Backuping up is an essential defense mechanism that everyone computer user should invest in to avoid permanent file loss. 

As a former photographer and current retoucher, backing up images and work files play a crucial part in my workflow. It gives me the security of knowing there are multiple places to retrieve personal and professional files if the worst occurs.

Here are some tips to save you from the heartache of a lost file:

ALWAYS Make A Copy of Your File To Place In a Separate Location

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Whether you're capturing images on your camera or creating files in Photoshop, it is imperative to make a second copy asap after the initial creation of the original copy. If the image(s) is coming from a camera, copy a version of the image(s) on your computer hard drive and external/cloud drive once you get back to you.

Have at least two external hard drives available.

I prefer two portable hard drives, but one portable and one non-portable, or two non-portable is fine if that's what suits you. Keep two hard drives, so you can have more than one back-up available; in case one of those drives crash. Some will use their computer as one storage source and then an external hard drive as the second source, but this can become problematic if files start crowding and slowing down your computer. 

Keep a larger hard drive for long-term and archiving storage

Affordable portable hard drives are normally 500 GB - 2TB. Depending on the type of work you are doing, this may be more than enough space, but if you're doing photo or design work that involves large files, I find it ideal to have one large hard drive of at 4 TB available for archiving. I keep one in addition to my two 1TB portable hard drives. While the archiving drive is much larger, I am very selective of which files I drag onto it. Since it's for long term storage, I don't need any junk files or temporary file clutter on it. I manage junk or temporary files between my computer and portable hard drives; the most important files are for the big boy hard drive. 

NEVER try to make a non-portable hard drive portable!

This is an excellent way to cause a hard drive crash. If the drive is not built to be moved around don't move it around (or at least not often). 

Don't Drop Hard Drives

Yeah, I know you're saying "duh, that's common sense". I made this tip for people who are clumsy like me. I've lost a brand new 2TB hard drive like this before. Obviously, I knew to not to drop hard drives then; but I underestimated my chronic condition of butter fingers. The hard drive was fine for a week after the drop and then crashed. 

Have a system of Organization and STICK TO IT

Your file organization will play a big part in your backup habits and workflow altogether. I've burned myself so many times by having files scattered all over my Desktop and Downloads folders. I've also foolishly allowed my backup drives to be equally cluttered before. I had no idea of what has been backed up and what has not. Learn from me and avoid this stress on the front end. Scattered files are inefficient and overwhelming.

Additionally, I have started with systems of staying organized, but I would either get easily get sidetracked from that system due to poor focus or sudden interest in someone else's style of organization. I recommend finding a system that works best for you and stick to it as long as you can. It's okay to be inspired, by other ideas of organizing; but don't let it destroy a system that may have already been working for you. 

Avoid duplicate files in the same place

This is in relation to the organization tip. When I'm not sure of whether I backed up a file or not, I may copy it again on a hard drive that the file may already be on. Not only does this affect organization, it wastes space. 

Invest in online/cloud storage

This can be a great solution to free up clutter caused by smaller or less important files. While some cloud storage services allow storage of large files, it's not ideal for a large number of files in my opinion. Plus, the upload time is super long. But for files such as flattened photos and designs, social media graphics, inspiration files, downloaded resources, or just random stuff you saved on your desktop; cloud storage is pretty useful. Services such as Dropbox and Google Drive have free storage services up to a certain GB limit. Other services can be a little pricey, so evaluate your specific needs are before investing money into cloud storage services. 

So that's my quick run down of tips to ease the pain of hard drive crashes and file corruption. I hope you find these helpful, let me know what you think of comments below. Do you have any helpful tips or ideas to recommend?

Retouching Blog is a resource blog founded by retoucher, Tia Jones. RB is dedicated to finding the best tutorials, resources, and inspiration focused on retouching, photo editing, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Photography. The ultimate goal is to make your life easier, by sifting through the internet noise and finding what the content you are looking for about retouching and relative subjects.