(This is one of many pages of tips on Organizing Your Images.)
Previously we talked about backing up your RAW images as soon as possible. Here we're talk about strategies for backing up all your data and even a about backing up your system and programs.
If you only have one computer with one hard drive, the choice may not be that difficult. You could just do a , much more frequently. But, since they take awhile (especially when you use high compression), I still recommend a combination of complete backups SyncToy backups (see below) of your personal data.
However, as we get more serious about digital imaging, most of us have slowly found themselves with more computer hardware (and software). Many of you probably have a desktop workstation, a laptop computer, and your spouse may have another computer. Some have yet another computer they use as backup computer, for when their primary computer fails. Many others who have gotten burned by computer viruses, have one or two computers which they never attach to the internet and just use for digital imaging. Each of these environments has its own challenges when it comes to backup.
In a more complex environment, I try to simplify things by thinking about the backup of the computer operating system and all the programs differently from the backup of all my personal data.
The most important thing on your computer is all your personal data. Your documents, your images, your eMail and any other personal information you have on your computer. It's important that you know exactly where all this is stored, both to backup it up, but also to make it easy to move it to a new computer or to keep synchronized copies of some of it on your laptop or another computer. Other things that are harder to keep track of, but are a source of flustration when you don't have them, are your personal settings in various programs. For example, bookmarks in your browser; address books in your eMail program; customized templates, toolbars, or shortcuts you've defined in various programs; etc., etc.
A complete system backup is often going to be almost useless if you computer fails and you need to get a new one (which is often the wisest choice). Therefore, learn how to make a seperate backup all your personal data. Then should the need to change computers arise, you're almost home free.
Start with the most important and with the largest amounts of data first. (Like most other places, the 80-20 rule applies here too.)
Since this is ImagingTips.com, we'll start with images. A few years ago, I was only careful to keep backup copies of my originals; my thinking was that with those I could re-create anything else that I lost and really wanted back. Now the cost of hard-drives is low enough that it makes sense keep backups of my PSD files and any variations on an image. For a $100 or so, it's not worth my time to recreate them.
For purposes of backup my images seem to fit into three categories, and I've reorganized my folder structures to allow for easy backup of each using SyncToy:
Now let's consider all the other personal data on your machine.
My recommendation is to be sure each of the following are in their own seperate tree (or trees) because over time you'll find you want to backup each differently:
Once you've determined which Folder Trees to backup, setup pairs for each using SyncToy. I continue to be amazed by SyncToy! It took under 12 minutes to examine 500,000 files and find the 700+ that needed to be updated, see the "All Pairs" example on the SyncToy page.
Check back, when I get a chance I'll try to add to the list above and include links to pages showing how to find and copy special files (toolbars, bookmarks, shortcuts, address books, etc.)
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