September 14, 2012

The Importance of Backing Up Digital Photos

I am so sorry for the lack of posts this week, but I have been sick with a nasty cold. As a result, I have been dragging my sick self into work and then home and straight into bed each day, which means that I haven't had much time for writing posts. I am still recovering and I don't have a lot of energy, but I wanted to make sure to post something. This post is actually a transplant from my photography blog, Amanda Hilary Photography. The topic remains relevant so I chose to re-post it here, as it is something that everyone should know - not only those into photography. This post was initially published on August 3rd, 2012

I had a huge scare today: I came home from work and turned on my laptop, with the intent of quickly checking my email and then heading out to shoot some pics. Except my laptop refused to turn on. I had left it in hibernation mode for the majority of the day, and I noticed it was taking a long to to "wake up". After waiting a solid tens minutes, I attempted a hard shut down and a restart. Nothing.

Using my husband's iPad, I quickly posted my dilemma on facebook, with an appeal for help/advice. Thankfully a technology-savvy friend responded within minutes, and explained to me a way that I could quickly determine which part of my computer was preventing it from booting up.

After following the advice of my friend, I learned that my computer would not longer work due to a problem with the central processing unit. Having no idea what this meant or how much it would cost to fix/replace this, I placed a phone call to my local Best Buy. Turns out that the CPU costs more than the cost of a new laptop to replace, and the person I spoke to suggested that I give up on my old laptop without attempting a fix and just simply choose a new one.

I tried to remain calm, but it was pretty difficult. I have no technical understanding, and aside from my guess at the fact that a central processing unit is important - which it is - I have no idea what this meant with regards to all my millions of pictures, videos, documents, etc. stored on my now-defunct computer. I was very anxious that I had lost everything. But I was lucky. The technical support person that I was speaking with explained to me that even though the CPU is integral to the proper function of the computer itself, it didn't have anything to do with memory or data storage. Phew!

The reason I am sharing this with you is simple: Back up your images regularly. I am guilty of breaking this rule, as I am pretty sure that the last time I backed anything up or burned images to a CD was likely in 2009.  But this is so important, and should be done regularly. Especially for those like myself who love to take pictures: With the popularization of digital cameras, we no longer have physical negatives that we can rely on when our technological systems fail. Our digital images (edited or not) act as our negatives, and if technology fails, our recorded memories run the risk of being lost for good.

This situation could have ended up much worse for me, and I am relieved to report that for a sum of approximately $100 I can have the contents of my old hard drive returned to me safely. But this was a good reminder, that backing up data, though a mundane and boring task, is super important!

Photo Credit: Digital Trends

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