One of my greatest frustrations in life is technology. It so happens to be one of my greatest loves. I love, love, LOVE it. So much so, that when my husband suggested that I stopped using it (since he has the inside scoop on how many issues I have with it), I thought he was out of his mind. ?
So you won’t believe what I’m gonna share with you today! Actually you do, since you read the title. I may very well be the last person that should be giving anybody advice on technology… BUT since I know how very awful it feels when technology fails you, I can’t help but share with you what I’ve learned in the process of losing some treasures… precisely to technology.
Of all the things you can lose when technology fails, losing digital photos is probably the worst. There’s no way to recreate the sane exact moment more than once…so when a snapshot of any given moment in your life is gone, it’s GONE.
So let’s focus on how to preserve the photos that you have stored digitally (although many of these tips also help you protect other documents you cherish).
1) Remember That No Computer and No Device Is Eternal
- No matter how much you spent on your computer, cell phone or external hard disk… or how many 5 star reviews it had…. the question is not IF the device will fail you. The question is WHEN.
- I know this sounds dire. Awful. Even cruel for me to tell you this.
- But I’m the person that had to spend several hundred dollars to fix a failed INTERNAL hard drive on my laptop that SUPPOSEDLY was backing up to a super well-rated external hard disk… only to later find out that the EXTERNAL hard disk had broken down, too. So imagine that! Not one, but TWO hard disks broken at the same time. Sigh.
- When this happens to you…which I hope it doesn’t (although it will), what you learn is not to trust technology. Which is SUCH a shame because technology is so cool and it allows you to do so much. Unfortunately, keeping your files forever is not one of them.
2) Have Multiple Ways Of Storing Your Digital Photos
- When It comes technology, you have to have a Plan A, a Plan B, a Plan C… and if you’ve lived through digital loss… you may be aiming to have Plan X, Plan Y and Plan Z. Well, not totally, but the more copies (hopefully accessible and organized) of the files you treasure you can have, the better.
- Technology experts agree that you should at least have 3 different ways of storing your important documents. And by that I mean, that you should have digital photos on different devices and different types of devices.
- For example you should have your photos on computers, external hard disks, USB drives, SDdisks, photo DVDs, cloud storage and backup services.
- There are even ways in which you can save your HD files onto someone else’s computer, in case your computer goes up in smoke, is stolen, or breaks down.
- The reason you want to have your important files stored in different devices is in case the files in one of these devices or storage solutions becomes corrupt, you’re not left empty-handed.
- Plus,the reason you want to have them stored on different types of devices is because technology becomes obsolete, and the devices that you store them on can become obsolete as well… so having a different type of device to try to retrieve files from is helpful.
3) You Will Have To Spend Money
- Yes, it kinda sucks that you have to pay someone to store your files for you or to create multiple copies of your digital photos, when really, computers in this modern day should be SOOO advanced that you don’t need backups, but it’s better to be safe, than sorry.
- I have a dream, that one day, we’ll catch up to how advanced technology TRULY is TODAY without being a victim of the technology company’s game of selling us yesterday’s technology.
- Translation: we’re being screwed.
- But we might as well pay to preserve our memories now, at our own pace, and actually protect our treasures instead of worrying with our fingers crossed and while we’re on our knees that the technician is able to recover the digital photos that mean so much to us.
4) Sign up for Dropbox
- For many people, Dropbox‘s free account is enough to save their digital photos. However, if you’re a photo and memory hoarder, like I am, buy the extra space.
If you don’t do ANYTHING else that I’ve suggested… promise me that you’ll do yourself a favor: download the Dropbox App on your smartphone AND allow it to upload your smartphone camera photos automatically onto Dropbox.
Why? Because darling, most of us use our iPhones to take photos and iPhones as great as they are, fail. And amazingly, mine died on me last week… And I has had to reset it a couple if months ago prior to setting up iCloud, but thankfully, my photos were being uploaded during both if these times.
The one thing I don’t love about Dropbox is that photos or files aren’t as private as they should be. But I would much rather HAVE my files, even though the government could take a peek at them, than not having them at all.
5) If You Have A Mac, Be Sure To Set Up Time Machine
- But time machine is a life saved like that one time when I had been working on an important project for days only to see that the file had disappeared. Thankfully, Time Machine saved the day.
- If you don’t have a Mac, or you’re “too cool” to use Time Machine… find your own way of backing up your files.
6) Buy An External Hard Drive With Good Reviews On Amazon
- At the time that I wrote this, I have two Seagates Backup Plus Slim which have been great… but do your research, technology changes, and usuuuually improves. ? This means that you can potentially have an even better external hard drive than I do. But you know what? Out of the three brands of external hard drives that I’ve had, Seagate has given me the greatest peace mind (knock on wood). That’s why I have two of them. 🙂
7) Manually Or Automatically Create Backups
- Decide whether you’re going to be someone who has a hard disk that will automatically create backups or someone who will move folders manually to an external hard drive.
- Just so you know, though, there are some services that are not necessarily “compatible” with one another and you may have to have two copies.
- For example, if you want to save files on both Dropbox and Time Machine, you have to have two copies of the files. One copy for Dropbox AND one copy of the file on your computer, so that it can be saved by Time Machine.
- If you have your palm on your forehead or your eyes are wide open asking yourself “what the!?” Let me just say, I KNOW!
- I dislike having to remember to organize my files with this caveat in mind.
- It’s hard enough to organize files AND hard enough to secure them as it is.
- In case you’re wondering how I found this out, it was because my intuition guided me to ask this to an Apple Support representative. That’s what I was told on 5.29.16. I hope it becomes easier in the future. I was told then that Time Machine is a Local Backup and Dropbox is an iCloud backup.
- Write reminders on your calendar to make these manual backups if you go that route.
8) If You Have An iPhone Set Up iCloud
- ICloud will allow you to have the digital photos that you take on your phone be automatically updated to both your computer and icloud.com.
- Word of caution though, depending on how you set it up, please know that if you erase the photos on your phone, they will be erased from iCloud.
- However, if you lose your iPhone or it stops working, your photos should still be there.
9) Have Copies Of Your Favorite Photos On Evernote
- Evernote doesn’t have a way to automatically import photos, but since it’s such a reliable piece of software, manually adding a few of your favorite photos to Evernote is a good idea. That way, even if everything else fails, at least you have that.
10) Don’t Think Of Dropbox , iCloud, Evernote, Google Drive or Google Photos As Backup Solutions, They Aren’t
- Yes, I know that many people THINK they are…. but they’re not.
- I have to recommend a YouTube expert Mauricio Prinzlau to talk to you precisely about that topic. This guy is phenomenal and will help you determine for yourself what cloud storage solution is for you. His YouTube Channel Cloudwards is great!
11) Get A True Backup Solution Like Sync, Carbonite Or CrashPlan
- I personally use Crashplan.
- Mauricio can help you decide which is best for your.
- There are a couple of caveats the you need to be aware of when using these services.
- The first is that these programs aren’t magic and don’t read your mind. You have to set them up.
- For example, you have to manually select the Dropbox folder once inside the Crashplan console to make sure that it is selected in the backup file selection window to make sure that it’s also being backed up.
- The first is that these programs aren’t magic and don’t read your mind. You have to set them up.
- You also have to select your external hard drive. Or if you’re like me and you have two of them connected to your computer, be sure to select both.
12) Set Up Reminders On Your Calendar To Periodically Check That These Storage Solutions And Backups Are Working Okay
- For example, check:
- That your Dropbox app is working fine
- That the files on your computer that you want backed up to Dropbox actually are being backed up.
- That Time Machine backed up your files recently
- That the backup service of your choice, in my case Crashplan, is connected to all the computers, services and external devices that you’re protecting.
- All you have to do is log into the service and check when the last time that the backup services were working… And verify that all your pertinent devices are selected.
13) Trust Your Intuition
- If you have a feeling that something is not working as it should, or backing up as it should, or you’re particularly worried about losing a particular set of photos from one device, then make sure that you a) backed them up and b) that the backup is working. Your intuition is wise. Don’t ignore it because it saves you a lot of times.
14) Remember That There is No Such Thing As A (Truly) Stupid Question
- Whenever you have questions about your services ask the experts. It really is better to be safe than sorry.
15) Incorporate Photos Into Your Daily Life
- As silly as it may sound… one of the best ways to preserve photos is to use them for projects. Enjoy them. Visit them. Use them for wallpapers. Create items that you use in a daily basis with them. Print them. Frame them. Allow them to be the physical mementos of your life. That way, when you use them, they’ll also be more engrained in your memory. Perhaps your memory and your heart are the best place where you can store pictures. Plus, it certainly is nice having them beautify our surroundings and our life.
How About You?
What are your tips to preserve photos from your loved ones?
Share them in the comments below. We can all use some help in safeguarding these treasures.