How Best to Store Files

Hi all - been battling with this issue for quite some time and just can't figure out the best way to store, backup, etc. I'm not really "techy" but I understand the basics.

Here's the thing - I am a working photographer and designer so have some big files and years worth of them. Right now I am thinking about taking everything prior to this year off my C drive and storing it externally, and then backing that up maybe monthly to a second external drive. Then the internal drive will have only programs and current year's work on it.

I have an external 3TB drive ready to go, and an external 1TB drive already installed. I know I need to do a big file cleanup before moving stuff.

Does this seem like a workable solution? The 3TB drive appears to do auto backup and saves so should that be my primary backup? And then back that up to the 1TB on a monthly basis or something like that?

My photo editing software (Lightroom) does not find files once they are moved so I'd have to relink them if I ever need them. Not a big deal, I suppose. This is just a big undertaking and I've been avoiding it but want to do it right.
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  1. Best answer
    First off, yes this should all work. What I would recommend is a set up like this:

    C: -> Operating system and core programs (Assuming this is about a 500gb or 1tb drive)
    3tb -> Large File storage (Photos, movies etc)
    1tb – Back up (Assuming this is large enough for now, as your collection grows you can easily swap this drive for a 3tb back up drive)

    Name your 3tb drive something appropriate (External Storage, Photo Storage, etc) and re-format if necessary. You need to pick the correct format for what you’re going to use it for. (FAT, NTFS). If you’re unsure just ask, or do a bit of research.
    Move your photos to the 3tb drive with Lightroom (a quick Google search says this is possible and retains the links)
    Set up your back up with either Windows Backup or some 3rd party software. You can choose to backup both the C drive and the 3tb, or either or.

    As an extra precautionary measure you can place a copy of your photos on the 1tb drive before moving things around just in case, then delete the copy later.

    NOTE: Moving terabytes of data takes a LONG time so start this when you know you might have 5-15 hours where the computer won’t need to be moved/turned off. I like setting things up to move before bed, then by the time im back from work the next evening its normally done.
  2. Thanks urbanrider! This seems like a good solution and I like the idea of moving Lightroom WITH my photos so I don't have to hunt for files if I need them. I currently have all my files on C and the 1TB so there's some cleaning up to do before I launch into this new workflow. But not storing everything on my C drive should help my computer performance; and I have to get into this backup habit. Off to sift through C drive and be ruthless about getting rid of old files!
  3. When you move those files, use copy/paste not cut/paste. I have seen people lose files in the transfer process before adequate backups could be established (power outage or fluctuation, etc.) Copy them over and THEN delete the original.
  4. never trust your important files to a single storage location.
    This is what I recommend.
    Make 2 copies of all your important files to archival quality dvd's or bdr's. Keep 1 copy onsite, like your basement, and another offiste, like at you brothers basement. This way if your house burns down you didn't loose anything.
    Keep a 3rd copy on your 1tb backup drive. This is your easy access long term backup. Keep it in your work room but not continually attached to your pc.
    Use the 3tb for your local backups. You can keep this attached to the pc if you want but be sure to do update to the 1tb and your dvd/bdr backups as needed.

    I have survived a house fire and the sewer backing up into my basement (and killing my backup server) without loosing any data. It pays to be super careful with your precious files.
  5. Thanks, everyone. I forgot about storing something off site so that was a good reminder.
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