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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> DVD or External hard drive for photo backup???
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11/21/2006 10:47:19 PM · #1
I don't have any of my photos backed up and I have thousands. If my computer crashed I would be devastated! Not sure the easiest, safest route to go with backing them up. I only have a cd burner on my pc so I was thinking about getting a dvd burner. Or just get an external hard drive. What do you guys recommend? Thanks.
11/21/2006 10:51:34 PM · #2
Personally I'd go the DVD-burner route because you'll never know when that external HDD will fail on you (it's the same thing as your internal harddisk by the way). Keep them in a dry, safe place and you'll be fine.

Message edited by author 2006-11-21 22:52:06.
11/21/2006 10:52:51 PM · #3
Originally posted by A4wheelin:

I don't have any of my photos backed up and I have thousands. If my computer crashed I would be devastated! Not sure the easiest, safest route to go with backing them up. I only have a cd burner on my pc so I was thinking about getting a dvd burner. Or just get an external hard drive. What do you guys recommend? Thanks.


Both! I guess I don't trust either one 100% so everything is backed up to my computer, my external hard drive, AND DVD's ...LOL
11/21/2006 10:58:21 PM · #4
Originally posted by JRalston:



Both! I guess I don't trust either one 100% so everything is backed up to my computer, my external hard drive, AND DVD's ...LOL


I completely agree 100%! I have mine on my computer, CD/DVD, & an external drive. DVD's would probably have been just fine, but I like the idea of being able to be able to see what I have backed up without looking through a billion discs(especially if I'm searching for a pic).

Message edited by author 2006-11-21 22:58:32.
11/21/2006 10:59:21 PM · #5
I also believe in redundancy. I keep my images on two ext HDs - one a copy of the other :)
Oh, and keep a program like RecoverMyFiles to save those you inadvertantly delete :)

11/21/2006 11:00:33 PM · #6
I went the external drive route for a couple of years. But the number of external drives that I had kept multiplying like rabbits. Trouble is, a wedding for me is now typically about 20Gb in size (engagement pictures, bridals, wedding, reception plus edits).

So now I've switched to using DVDs because I can't keep buying hard drives. But I don't necessarily trust DVDs!!!

In truth, I'm really in both camps right now. For all "active content" I now have one main drive for my business photos and one identically sized external drive. I mirror the main drive to the external drive, and then turn the external drive off. That way, even if something goes wild and deletes my main drive, my external drive is unaffected. When the content is no longer active (I'm not expecting any more orders to come in), then I move it to DVD.

One more thing: I use smugmug.com for my proofing and sales, but it also functions as an off-site backup for me because I upload full-res pictures to it.

Message edited by author 2006-11-21 23:01:22.
11/21/2006 11:18:19 PM · #7
I agree with many about going in both directions at once ;)

DVDs can't be beat for giving you low cost, unlimited storage. Just remember though that someday you may have to find a shot on the DVDs, so starting off the bat with a good naming/numbering scheme and an offline cataloging program is a good idea.

Buy a good, reliable brand of DVDs. I use Verbatim mainly, and I haven't had a single problem with one (knock on plastic). I use mainly DVD+Rs, but I've also used DVD-Rs. Don't go with rewriteables (DVD-RW), as they are not permanent.

I use case-logic style notebooks to store CDs/DVDs by date, making them easier to find (I store all my data that way, not just photos). That's not the most archive safe way to store them, but it is one of the most accessible.

If you really want to be safe, make two copies each time you archive, and take one copy and store it off site. That gives you a much better chance of survivability.

The smugmug idea is also good. They do charge you to get your data back, but you'd be hardpressed to find that much remote, online, storage for so little!


11/21/2006 11:27:00 PM · #8
I agree with using DVD's, an external hard-drive is really no different to an internal one, its just a smaller case and is just as susceptible to power surges as anything in your computer.
With the upcoming new formats in DVDs capacity will increase dramatically and they will be the best and cheapest available option. Nshapiro is right about a good naming system being necessary and make sure that all dvds are stored away from strong light and heat sources
11/22/2006 09:42:22 AM · #9
Thanks alot guys! Alot of great ideas there. I think I'll go the DVD route.
11/22/2006 09:49:41 AM · #10
I use a DVD for the offlne storage, but have 2 200Gb SATA harddrives in a Mirrored RAID. This means that the images are duplicated with a copy on each drive.

Its about as safe as I could afford.
11/22/2006 03:34:30 PM · #11
Originally posted by Falc:

I use a DVD for the offlne storage, but have 2 200Gb SATA harddrives in a Mirrored RAID. This means that the images are duplicated with a copy on each drive.

Its about as safe as I could afford.


Can any hard drives be set up this way? I always move my files from my memory card to my CPU, then I copy it to my external HD, then I put them on DVD. It would be nice if it could write to both hard drives at once!
11/24/2006 09:31:57 AM · #12
I try and keep them on both computers, laptop and pc. Then I put them on dvd too.

I don't have all that many photo's yet. Just a lot of snap shots jpg files that are 3.0 meg pixal.

Now that I will be shooting in RAW at 6.0 meg pixal I may need something with more room.

11/24/2006 10:45:44 AM · #13
Originally posted by JRalston:

Originally posted by Falc:

I use a DVD for the offlne storage, but have 2 200Gb SATA harddrives in a Mirrored RAID. This means that the images are duplicated with a copy on each drive.

Its about as safe as I could afford.


Can any hard drives be set up this way? I always move my files from my memory card to my CPU, then I copy it to my external HD, then I put them on DVD. It would be nice if it could write to both hard drives at once!


Most mother boards built in the last year or two support RAID of some sort for either IDE or SATA drives, but if you have a Dell or the like chances are it prob doesn't. if you have the room in your case for a couple extra drives then a cheep solution is to go with something like an aftermarket RAID card which you can get in different configurations like PATA (IDE) or SATA or now SATA-II, and you can get the SATA and SATA-II in 2, 4, 8 and 12 port (1 drive per port)configurations depending on your needs.

Using mirror or RAID1 arrays are a great way to ensure data safety as Hard drives regardless of brand, can and will fail at some point. I speak from experience as my home network is all mirror arrays spanning across 30+ drives and just over 8 Terabytes of storage.

As for the RAID cards I use 3ware and Promise, 3ware are expensive but rock solid and have excellent monitoring software, Promise also makes great cards as well and more affordable to the general user. I build a lot of computers for friends and family and some small businesses and I always try to put at least a Promise RAID card and a couple drives for data safety in them.

One major bonus to RAID cards is if you buy another puter then you just simply move the RAID card and drives in to the new box with little or no trouble. With on board RAID unless the new puter has the same RAID chipset as the old puter chances are you are going to have to backup your data to another source, rebuild the RAID (this usually wipes the drives clean) then restore the data which can be a royal pain as most RAID chips have there own way of configuring the drives and are not compatible between manufacturers.

Here's a link to the types of RAID configurations Don't be intimidated by all the different types as for most people looking for data backup/safety then RAID1 is prob all you would need...

sorry I got a little long winded there ;)

-dave
11/24/2006 10:48:14 AM · #14
two different drives one always connected and one for backup
11/24/2006 05:35:20 PM · #15
Originally posted by A4wheelin:

I don't have any of my photos backed up and I have thousands. If my computer crashed I would be devastated! Not sure the easiest, safest route to go with backing them up. I only have a cd burner on my pc so I was thinking about getting a dvd burner. Or just get an external hard drive. What do you guys recommend? Thanks.


I was in the same predicament and went for the CD/DVD burner. I picked up a Pioneer model at Fry's earlier today for $39, plus a $15 rebate on top of that. I noticed in your bio that you're in Oregon...not sure if there's a Fry's up there or not...either way, they're fairly inexpensive and will require a much smaller investment than some of the other recommendations (not that they're not valid).
11/24/2006 07:09:11 PM · #16
In order of preference: Internal HDD, NAS, External HDD, DVD, CD.
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