Back It Up

by Idaho Dad on July 19, 2011

If you’re not backing up your important computer files, then you haven’t been paying attention.

For years now, stories have circulated about crashed hard drives and mysterious memory dumps. We all know someone who lost valuable information because of a computer virus or hardware failure.

And by “valuable information” I mean photos and songs.

Because that’s what is most important to me. The photos because they are priceless and irreplaceable. The music because it is replaceable at a high price.

I figure it would cost me upwards of $30,000 to replace my 25 years of accumulated music. It’s all digital, the vinyl and CDs having been sold on eBay long ago.

So why haven’t you backed up your computer’s hard drive? There are so many online options these days, some of which are free, that there’s no excuse to not do it.

Amazon, Flickr, Shutterfly, Dropbox, Google, and Apple are all offering easy-to-use online cloud storage for your photos and music.

In fact, Amazon just sent me an email saying I could store an unlimited amount of music on their cloud. I have happily started transferring my 160GB of tracks to their servers.

Of course, there is one problem. And it could be just the excuse some people find to put off backing up their data.

Even on a cable modem, my upload speeds are painfully slow. If I let the Amazon Uploader run day and night, I figure I should have my music properly stored in their cloud by November.

It might be frustrating, but I’m not going to let that stop me from protecting my photos and music. I’d hate to lose any of it.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alli July 19, 2011 at 3:28 am

Thanks for pointing out the Amazon cloud unlimited option. I was having difficulty picking which music to put into my “cloud” so I hadn’t utilized the upload option yet. But now… well, it will also be November before I finish, but it will be backed up somehow!

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2 Idaho Dad July 20, 2011 at 5:31 pm

I’ve had it uploading for three days, and it’s 5% complete. :(

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3 jjdaddyo July 19, 2011 at 5:07 am

The problem isn’t only upload speeds, don’t forget a lot of ISPs are imposing data caps now, which include both uploads and downloads. You might find yourself running up against those if you start backing up large quantities of data to the cloud.
You might be better off using USB external hard drives. You can get up to 2TB for less than $100. You can even get external 2TB RAID1 drives for less than $200.

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4 Idaho Dad July 20, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I hadn’t thought about data caps. I’ve never heard from ours (Time Warner) about it.

I also have a 1TB external drive. Yes, I’m paranoid about my photos and music. Must back everything up at least 3 times in different places.

I like the online storage just in case something happens like a fire, or earthquake, or somebody’s in your office waving around a giant industrial magnet.

And the key thing with photos is that if you want to print them at a place like Shutterfly you have to upload them to that site first anyway. Might as well just store all of them over there.

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5 Katrina July 19, 2011 at 7:03 am

I second jj’s recommendation to use an external hard drive. I have a 2TB external drive–it’s about the size of a paperback book and connects to my laptop via USB cable. I have a reminder set on my calendar to back up every two weeks. Data transfer is fast, and backing up important files is as easy as dragging and dropping to copy. (However, my geek husband wrote me a batch file, which makes it even easier. I just plug in the drive and click on the file.)

Great reminder to all of us that data is vulnerable.

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6 Idaho Dad July 20, 2011 at 5:30 pm

I do have an external drive as well. I like the online storage for being able to quickly and easily print photos at a site like Shutterfly. Also, am looking forward to having my entire music collection available to play from “the cloud.” I’ll end up storing all my music at both Amazon and Apple, just because I’m paranoid, and then seeing which one offers the best mobile access.

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7 melanie July 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I have an external hard drive but always forget to use it. I use Trend Micro’s Safe Sync and it backs up my stuff as soon as I create it and the last ten copies of it. I don’t have to remember to back up and don’t even notice it working in the background. I can access it anywhere. It does cost money(20-40ish a yr. depending on how much storage you need but worth every penny) and it did kill my data cap for when I first initially uploaded to the cloud. I don’t think Time Warner has a cap though. It uses the same security encryption that your bank uses. I have links for a free month or 50 percent off if you are interested. It’s nice to not have to worry about my pictures.

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8 flea July 23, 2011 at 7:02 am

Is the cloud safe?
must admit, we burned our photos on CD but haven’t done so for almost a few years now … if my computer crash I will loose ALOT of great pictures. I must do it. I heard CD’s (photos on it) dont’ last for ever, is that true?

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