Jeremy D. West
External Backups of Photos
I would like to know what all you photo enthusiasts recommend for safe, but simple, external backups of photos. What external hardware is good? Which software makes it easiest, to be able to save photos and then bring photos, by folder, back into Photoshop and/or Lightoom as desired?
Randy A. Myers
Most hard drives sold as external backups come with backup software. I've used different ones at work and they are all about the same. The one I use at home for my photos is called "Second Copy". I only use this because I've had it for years. External drives didn't used to come with backup software. I use two backup external hard drives. I use the first to back up my internal hard drive, and I use the second one to back up the first external drive. I go in and look at the second external backup, and if the files are good on it, I know I have the files in three places. It gives me a little more piece of mind. If one drive goes out, I'm not in a panic to get another drive ready for backup since I would have it in two places then. I also have a third external that I back up to occasionally, and I keep it off-site in case of a major disaster like fire or a tornado. Hope this helps.
I have been using Iomega Firewire mini-max Hard drives for the last 3 years. They are fast, stackable and so far have been very reliable. I have (2) 1TB, a 750GB and another 500GB drive stacked that I am using right now.
I had 2 Seagate hard drives fail or not work correctly but the Iomega mini-max drives are great with both of my MACs - it's just a matter of plugging in the drive and turning it on. I didn't need to download any software or drivers but this may be more of a MAC thing that the drive itself.
I use the Adobe Photo Downloader via Photoshop CS5 Bridge and select or create a folder. I custom-name the images and you can even download these to 2 different drives at the same time.
I also use a Sandisk "Firewire" CF card reader. An 8GB card will download in about 6-8 minutes.
I snagged a 2T Western Digital My Book Essential portable hard drive at Staples for an amazing $90 a couple of weeks ago. I've got a 1T one on my husband's PC (formerly mine) and love it. Back-up software is included on both.
My new PC has media card slots and speedy download times, but if it didn't, I'd take Carlton's advice on the Sandisk card reader.
Also, I love the smaller WD Passport models for travel. I've had other brands that either failed or I simply didn't like, so I'm planning to stick with WD from now on.
I use external hard drives with the highest reliability ratings from places like Newegg or Amazon. Western Digital seem to be about the best.
For backup software, I use Microsoft's free Synctoy which will copy only the changed files when doing a backup. It is a manual program but works very well for me.
I always use it in the "contribute" mode so I never delete any files on my backup drive.
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