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Lesson 1–Backup Your Stuff!

Today could have been one of my worst days of my life. About two hours ago my hard drive with 600 GBs (gigabytes) of my files just broke. Did I have a backup? Yes, but it also broke, at the same time (For those that know what RAID is–let’s just said that both of my drives for RAID 1 broke). ALL my music, personal pictures, and wedding pictures were on these drives. ALL of it.

Luckily, I have a third copy of all these files. Of course I did loose some of my files, but it could have been much much MUCH worse. Another reason I’m not crying right now is that I was not in the middle of any project, which means that I do not have to reedit any pictures (you see, I don’t create a third copy of projects I work on at the time) or albums, which believe me, makes me extremely relieved right now, as I sit in a Starbucks and write this entry.

I was not going to write about backups, yet. I was going to show you some before and after pictures of some images that I really like. But I can’t now, since the before/after files of that images are gone now (that file was not backed up to the third hard drive). So I have to tell you about backups. After all, what good does it make if I tell you about how to take beautiful pictures but you loose them all every time your computer breaks? It makes sense that we would know how to take care of the images we love. And so here it is:

First, you computer WILL break. The question is not if, but when it will break. Mine broke numerous times, especially the hard drives. Please learn from my mistakes, not your own; trust me it’s a painful experience. Just think about what you have on your computer-music, pictures, documents-all that can be gone instantly. Well, it WILL be gone if you don’t backup your information. There are many ways of making sure that you have a backup:

1. External Hard Drive: External hard drive can be bought at any computer store or such electronics stores as Best Buy or Circuit City. You can plug them into the computer and copy all the important files onto it. When you’re done, it’s a good idea to store the hard drive in a different place than where your computer is. This way if there’s some kind of fire or flood, all of your backups don’t get ruined. Important: NEVER unplug your external hard drive from the electricity outlet while it is on. I have broken 3 or 4 of my drives like that, until I learned my lesson.

2. DVDs: This can be a good, quick and inexpensive way to backup your data. The problems with backing up your data on DVDs is that they only hold 4.7 GBs and they are easily ruined.

3. RAID 1 (stripped): This is a system where two identical hard drives are configured in a way that stores the same information on one and the other. This is the easiest system to use and very reliable. Whenever one of the hard drives breaks, the system fixes itself within hours. However, this is not bullet proof, and both drives can break at the same time-that’s what happened to me today.

4. Online: probably the most reliable way to store your important files is to upload them online. The downside of course is that if you have a lot of files like I do, this can be very impractical. But still consider this an option. You can check out; it’s one of the best ways to store your files.

I should add, though, that even if your hard drives break, in most cases you can still recover your files. This, however, can cost anywhere from $300 to $7,000 sometimes. About a year ago when my hard drive broke (yes, this happens often), I had to pay $3000 to recover my important files.

Well, in summary, I should simply say that you MUST backup your files. Computers are evil, so save your most important possessions, your memories and pictures, from disaster.


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