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Best way to back up digital photos

by jesseben / May 5, 2006 6:27 AM PDT

I've got lots of digital family photos saved on my PC's hard drive. What's the best way to back them up? Should I just save them on CD-R's? Or is it better to put them on some other media?

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I usually
by PudgyOne / May 5, 2006 8:21 AM PDT

I usually burn my pictures on a CD in jpeg format. I then put them in a safe place. I can then put them back on the computer if I lose them.

Hope this helps.


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There are many choices depending on how many photos
by Kiddpeat / May 5, 2006 9:22 AM PDT

you have. CD-Rs are the most basic choice. Next up is DVDs. If you use either of these, be sure to use high quality disks and store them properly. Photo stores are beginning to carry archival disks for just this purpose. The next step up is some sort of hard drive. Many use an external device which is connected via USB. If the computer's hard drive fails, the photos will still be on the external drive.

You should always maintain at least two copies of your photos. For example, one set on your computer's hard drive, and a duplicate stored on CD-R. You should never risk having just one copy of your photos.

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by taboma / May 5, 2006 3:28 PM PDT

Good post kiddpeat.
I have images saved to my external hard drive as well as to CDs.
I happen to like backup on a CD disk. Your external hard drive could lunch itself some day. I had one of those. Thats why I have my second Lacie External HD. Never know.

I also have the ability to burn a DVD. Just out of curiosity, which format will last longer? CD or DVD?
Any info on this sort of storage and longevity?


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Yes, the external hard drive could indeed fail. As you know,
by Kiddpeat / May 5, 2006 11:23 PM PDT
In reply to: Choices

that's one of the things hard drives do for us. The bet is that it won't fail at the same time as the computer's internal hard drive. Therefore, the data will survive on one of the two drives.

Any storage device can fail. That's why you should always have at least two copies of everything.

I haven't seen anything regarding the testing of DVD longevity. There was some stuff on CDs that listed Taiyo Yuden (sp?) as one of the best. I have since heard that Taiyo Yuden is good if it was manufactured in Japan. How you know that is a mystery to me. I do have some Taiyo Yuden gold. The brand name, if you believe it, is MAM-A. It sounds like a bargain basement special. I have both DVDs and CDs made by Taiyo Yuden, and use those for backup. I'm guessing that, if their CD is good, their DVD will also be good.

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Close to worthless.
by Kiddpeat / May 6, 2006 5:23 AM PDT

The government does not disclose which brands do well, and which do not. In tests I've looked at more closely in the past, some name brands do well and some do not. One of the factors is that many of the 'name' brands do not make their own disks. Thus, the identification of Taiyo Yuden (sp?) is a top source. Although some disks like MAM-A are theirs, it is hard to tell which 'brands' are using their disks.

They are a fairly well known 'secret' on the web. I'm surprised you are not familiar with the earlier, and fairly extensive, research.

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PS on Kodak
by Kiddpeat / May 6, 2006 5:37 AM PDT
In reply to: Close to worthless.

Kodak Golds were, in the earlier studies, highly rated. The problem is that Kodak stopped making them. The MAM-A CDs are gold disks as are the archival disks I've seen in photo stores. The MAM-A DVDs do not appear to use gold. I'm assuming that gold doesn't work well for DVDs. However, the archival DVDs are claiming gold, so I'm not clear on that issue.

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Bob and Kiddpeat
by taboma / May 11, 2006 5:38 PM PDT
In reply to: PS on Kodak

Thanks for the links and information.


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Backing Up Images - Reality Check
by VacuBlaster / September 27, 2013 10:01 AM PDT


I hope I don't upset people with my comments but backup is a serious business and needs to be done correctly. In my opinion, there is only one affordable, reasonably safe way for a home based photographer to backup images and that is to external portable hard disks using automated software.

CD's and DVD's - If you are anything like me then you will have something in the region of 25 - 30,000 RAW files at 25MB each. If I was to backup 25,000 images at an average 25MB each then I would need around 780 x 800MB CD's or 130 x DVD's The storage of all these disks alone is huge and that is without backing up any Jpegs or Tiffs I may have created whilst working on images and that is only one backup. Added to this is the unreliability of CD and DVD's and given that they don't last more than 4 years without degrading it has to be repeated a lot.

Online Storage - Online storage is good in the fact that it is away from your property so any disaster at home and all you need is a computer to get them back. But what if your membership lapses and you hit on hard times and can't afford to renew, where do your images go? in the bin probably after a few months. What if the company goes into liquidation and where are your images really stored and who is accessing them? To many IF's for my liking.

Data Backup Tapes - Easily the best and safest method of backing up which is why this method is still used today in the corporate world. Data tapes can store huge amounts LTO5 tapes hold 1.6TB each of uncompressed data. The drawback though is that they are expensive and you need a server to drive the library and manage the software.

External Hard Disks - This for me is the best method, I use three 1TB portable external HDD and FBackup software which is free from the internet. I run a daily backup which is a mirror of my image store, this runs at 10pm daily and stays with my computer. This secures me against my main HDD failure or accidental deletion of images etc. I then run a Monthly FULL backup of all my data and stagger it between 2 drives so Jan on drive 1 and Feb on drive 2 and so on. I then remove the Jan backup drive and take it away from my home, to my work desk drawer to be precise. and then once Feb backup has completed I swap them over. This secures me against flood, fire theft etc.

Drawbacks, the drives can become full so bigger or additional drives are needed but this is the same for all methods. A drive could be dropped whilst in transit but you can buy hard cases to protect them or just be careful. These drives can fail but then so can tapes or CD's.

I hope this helps

Dave S

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by Clickpencil2 / October 24, 2013 10:56 PM PDT

it's great if you've burnt them on cd-r's or you can eithere use dvdr rathere than that you can use different storage media for the backup of photos like usb flash drive external hard drive and in sd card etc.

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by clk4suport / December 15, 2013 8:13 PM PST

Hi there,

You have to use external hard disk for this purpose.It should more useful than any other media.
May it help it.

Thank You.

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