Backing Up Your Photos

Hard Drive Docking Station

Are you backing up your image files?

If the only place you keep your image files is on your computer, you will eventually lose something. Every hard drive fails at some point in time. Every computer crashes sooner or later. It’s a fact of life.  It’s a good idea to have a backup plan in effect before it happens.

Every month I make it a point to back up my images to hard drives. Now that a new year has begun, it’s time to order a couple more hard disks and make sure my backups are up to date.

I use a fairly inexpensive and reliable method to back up all of my photographs.

Hard Drive docking stations.

In my case, I’ve been using the Wavlink USB 3.0 drive dock. I have another brand on the shelf that I haven’t played with much as a backup to my backup equipment. The Wavlink Dual Bay HD Docking Station is fairly inexpensive and there are other brands out there. It allows for up to two internal SATA drives to be inserted. There’s a one button clone operation, which is very handy for backing up the main boot drive in the PC.

My normal backup drive is a 2TB HDD, which is the maximum size that can be connected easily to a Windows 10 pc via a USB 3.0 connection.

This particular unit will handle two drives, which when connected to the computer show up as normal hard drives in File Explorer.

The faster the hard drive, the faster the read/write times of course, so when I buy a new backup drive, it’s usually a 7200 rpm, 6 gigabyte/sec, 3.5″ drive. You can purchase drives like this for under $50 now, so it’s quite economical.

I keep my photographs on the computer in folders based on the year. A couple of inexpensive 2TB hard drives can backup just about every photo I take in a year with room to spare. When the drive gets full, it goes into the fire safe and I put a new empty drive in the docking station.

I use a sharpie to write a master number on the outside of the backup drive. I also maintain a master list of the image directories on each drive.  As of now, I have over 10 hard drives filled, some of which were repurposed from upgrades to my desktop computer. If I need to recover from a hard drive crash on the desktop, all I have to do is dig out the backup drive and copy the files to the new HDD in the computer.

I’ve also found it works great with my laptop PC as well.

It’s also a good idea to buy plastic HDD storage boxes for protecting the backup drives.

It may be worthwhile to store your backups in a second location. That way a catastrophe in the home won’t destroy your life’s work.  The best part is you can obtain a solid backup method for under $100.