Backing up digital images

Hard drive with built-in card reader

If you’ve ever inadvertently deleted or overwritten an image file, or had an unexpected hard drive failure or virus attack, you understand the importance of regularly making backups.

Backing up is simply making a duplicate copy of unedited original image files and burning them into a high quality CD or DVD disk. Backups can also be made by copying files to an external hard drive or high capacity flash drive.

Archiving digital images

Archive by making additional copies of images and storing them away from your home or office, such as in a safe deposit box or a relative’s house. Though not a pleasant subject, there is always the possibility of theft, fire or a natural disaster, so keeping important files in a second location makes a lot of sense.

Many use archival-grade DVD discs for backing up files. They are tested under extreme conditions and are said to have a storage life of approximately 100 years.

Online backup and storage

But will CD and DVD drives be around for another 100 years? No one knows for sure.

That’s why many photographers also use online back-up and storage facilities to archive important data and images. Some services offer a few gigabytes of secure, free storage. If needed, additional gigabytes can be purchased for an annual fee.

When using an online backup service, make sure to use a reliable company. Some of the companies that offer free online storage and backup are EMC’s Mozy , Microsoft’s SkyDrive and AOL’s Xdrive. For Mac computer users, Apple offers a 60 day free trial of Mac iDisk.

Tip: when storing digital files online, make sure the control panel is set to keep the original file size and compression if that is your goal.

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