Lesson from the Shop: Planning For A Disaster by Stanley Leary


by Stanley Leary

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Tornadoes, computer crashes, lost luggage, burglars, floods – there are a lot of things that can make our important files and photos vanish. We should always have a backup plan.
First, I prefer a permanent backup of important fills to CD/DVDs. It is a more stable solution than a hard drive. Hard drives fail more often than CD/DVDs.
I make two copies of these backup CD/DVDs and put them in different locations.     I keep one backup with me where I can get to it in a hurry if my computer fails, but I put other copy in a safety deposit box or at a friend’s house.
Second, I have an external hard drive and make regular backups to it. Most external drives come with software designed to help you make back ups.
I use this external hard drive to mirror, completely duplicate, my computer’s hard drive. When (not if, but you can count on when) my computer dies I only need to do a restore and everything will be put on the new hard drive or new computer.
Third, I bought yet another backup hard drive. I labeled one A and the other B.       I alternate backups between the two. I make sure these A and B drives are rotated, not just with the computer, but the location where I keep them, also. (Bank vault, neighbor, etc.)
Another option for backing up important files, like photographs, is to use an Internet online backup. To take advantage of this solution a high-speed connection is needed.
Your first backup takes the longest, but once this is done only the changes to your hard drive from the last backup are needed each time. I program my computer to do this at night after I’ve gone to bed. It takes longer than backing up to a hard drive connected to a computer, but it is off sight and it is one more place to keep your data. One such provider is Carbonite (http://www. carbonite.com/) which is only $49.95 a year for unlimited storage.
I stay away from tape backup systems. The computer department where I used to work decided to use a tape system to backup their image library. The system corrupted the files and, after five years of inputting data, everything was lost. After restoring all that had been lost and the adding four more years of images, it happened again. As far as I know they never recovered the images from those nine years.
The estate of President John F Kennedy's personal photographer, Jacques Lowe, archived all their images in a safe deposit box housed in the vaults at 5 World Trade Center next to the Twin Towers.
I make sure my images and other important files are stored in more than one location.
Now, when I hear a weather alert I’ve got one less thing to worry about.