As part of my spring cleaning, I decided to tackle the mess that are my computer files. Yikes! I knew I needed to archive my old photos in case my computer kicks the bucket...those scary viruses always loom in the back of my mind. I've had this computer for two and a half years, so that would be a big hole in my family history if I lost them all or couldn't access them for some reason.
Plus, space on my hard drive is getting crowded. I needed to clear out the old to make room for the new! I also plan to delete ALL the photos on my crowded digital camera card, too. It will feel so good to not have to delete photos each time I use it just to make room for new photos!
But back to the computer: I took a photo archiving class a few years ago and decided to use some of their tips to give me peace of mind about my precious photo stash.
Tip 1 - Create a system. Organizing your photos is key to the archiving process. If you can't find what you're looking for, what good are your photos? So, pick a method of saving your photos and stick with it. I am just going with a chronological dating system. I figure I can get close by guessing the timeframe I'm looking for and can browse folders by dates.
I also save all original photos. If I edit one, I add an "A" to the end of the original file name, so I will never save over an original photo.
Tip 2 - Save to CD. Admittedly, this course was a few years ago, but at that time, a CD was the recommended way to save for archiving. There may be something new and exciting out there now. But at the time they mentioned that zip drives, thumb (or flash) drives and even external hard drives aren't as reliable as a good old CD. Those devices can crash or malfunction as easily as the original computer can. But CDs are easy to access from any computer and are fairly easy to keep. They don't take up much space and the only dangers are scratches or extreme heat.
I've thought about online storage since that time. There may be a good solution out there, so feel free to share if you've found one. But I didn't want to have to rely on some unknown server out in cyberspace or have to pay much for this storage solution.
Tip 3 - Save in multiple locations. If you go the CD route, or really, any method of archiving, it is a good idea to have a back-up to your back-up. It is easy to burn two disks at a time. Once one disk finishes burning, before creating a new burn folder, just pop in another CD and burn exactly what was just saved.
I will put one set of disks up in my home office for easy access. And I'm considering putting the second set in our fire-proof safe if we have the room.
That's it! Easy-peasy. You'll feel better knowing you have those precious photos in several locations, not just on a computer in case of the worst happening. Imagine losing all those precious memories!
Here's a before and after screen shot of my desktop:
I cleared out over 2.5 GB by archiving my 2009-2010 photos and cleaning off my desktop (finding appropriate folders for the rogue files and deleting unnecessary files). It is so much more pleasant to open up my laptop now. Gotta love Spring Cleaning...even Cyber Spring Cleaning!