Don’t Lose Your Cool… or Your Stash!
First off, let me thank all of you who took the time to reach out and offer your support after my husband’s accident. I won’t lie, the last couple of weeks have been very hard for us, but he’s on the mend and eventually we’ll be back to normal life. I’m finally getting into a sort of routine, but I’ve had no time for scrapping, or for playing with Elements, so I asked Ginger to give me a topic for this week. And her suggestion is a really timely one, coming so soon after the feeding frenzy of Digital Scrapbooking Day. Ginger says she gets a lot of service tickets related to lost files from crashes of some sort; we’re VERY lucky that she’s so willing to replace the download codes for our purchases because few of the online stores will do that after a certain period of time. So let’s talk about backing up files.
It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. Our computer has let us down in some way – either with a hard drive failure or a processor failure – or in my case, with a video card failure. All those lovely photos, finished layouts and digi-scrapping supplies are gone! It’s been known to cause many tears to be shed, multiple F-bombs to be dropped and more than one injury. (My photos aren’t actually gone, but they might as well be, because they’re inside a laptop that I can’t see the contents of – although my techie-nerd husband says there’s a way to retrieve them. (If only I’d left them on the SD card…) Trust me when I tell you I’m not really great at backing up my files, but I’m going to work on that!
About the easiest way to back things up is to copy your files onto a DVD/CD, flash drive or external hard drive (EHD). It’s time-consuming but it’s easy as pie. As long as the drive isn’t corrupted, or exposed to a magnet, or any other sort of calamity! I have two EHDs and I’m sure I have multiple copies of some of my older kits and photos. One of these days I’m going to go through everything and weed out the duplicates… but it won’t be today.
While I was researching this topic I found a great list of free back-up software, as vetted by Tech Radar. Why use dedicated software? Well, some of them will eliminate the duplicates, simply by only backing up what has been changed since the last run. Some of them can be set to run at regular intervals, with removes the whole OMG-I-haven’t-backed-up-my-files-in-forever panic when it looks like there might be a crash on the horizon. To read the whole article, click on the link above. Their #1 choice is EaseUS Todo Backup Free. They call it the best balance of automation and user control. It doesn’t include some of the functions the pay-to-play premium version has, but they’re more business-oriented so most of us who aren’t techie nerds won’t miss them. One thing I think sets it apart is that it allows for Cloud backup in addition to physical copies. One caveat: when you download the software it will also download a Chromium browser and Bing search engine UNLESS you uncheck the boxes for them BEFORE you say Go. Another possibility that sounds good for the averrage digi-scrapper is Paragon Backup and Recovery. It comes with a wizard that talks you through every step, you tell it what files you want it to copy and has the added advantage of a recovery script right within it.
There are a number of Cloud-based solutions to file back-ups. iPhone users may already be using the Cloud to store their photos; if, like my daughter, they’re also running a Mac, it’s not a big leap to also store copies of other sorts of files there too. Google Drive is another option for online Cloud storage., as is Dropbox. All three have a limit on how much room you can have free, with a reasonable cost for additional space. If you’re looking for something that will look after your backup needs without any reminders, you can subscribe to an online backup service for a monthly or annual fee. PCMagazine has an in-depth evaluation of several of these. Their top picks are IDrive, Acronis True Image 2018, SOS Online Backup, Backblaze, SpiderOak One and Carbonite. Each has its own pros and cons. Backblaze and Carbonite are the only two on their list with unlimited space, although neither of them offer any free space but they both only cover one computer. Before you commit to one of these services it would be a good idea to compare them head-to-head on features and subscription costs.
Make the time soon to back up all your irreplaceable stuff. Choose the method that works best for you but DO IT! And then make a commitment to maintain those backups for the future. Maybe tie it to a specific event, like (i)NSD and DSD, or to the time change to and from Daylight Savings, like you do with the batteries in your smoke detector. (Don’t ever forget to do that… The people in your life are worth so much more than photos and scrapbook layouts!) Better safe than sorry.