Monday, September 3, 2012

How I backup my photos

As my wife will quickly let you know, we lost some important photos of a trip we took due to a hard drive crash.  Since then, I've become very paranoid about how I store and back up our photos and videos.  Here is how I now back my photos and videos.

I've got all our photos and videos on a desktop machine with three hard drives.  The primary hard drive is a smallish SSD that has the operating system and not much else.  The other two drives are 1.5 TB spinning disks in a software-based raid 1 (mirroring) configuration.  At the end of each month I:
  • Download all my photos and videos to the desktop
  • Use robocopy to backup the spinning disks and important files from the SSD to a 1.5TB external HD
  • Swap the external HD I just backed up with an offsite external HD that has last month's backup
This gives me good confidence that I've got my important documents backed up reliably.  At anytime, a document is on at least 3 hard drives (one of which is in a different physical location) and I've got last month's backup in case I delete something or need an older version.  
There are still some problems with this scheme:
  1. Its not automatic
  2. I have to realize I deleted something before I make the next backup
However, its relatively cheap (you need 4x the hard-drives you might otherwise need) and it works. I've had to upgrade from 300 GB disks to 1.5 TB and had no problems restoring my backups.

How do you backup your important documents?  What am I missing that I should be doing?

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