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Strategy for Backing Up Irreplaceable Family Photos Digitally? (NAS drive questions, Photo file format question, too.)

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October 28, 2013 2:54:14 PM

This has probably been asked thousands of times; thanks for your patience and help in advance.

We have an Acer laptop that is 4 years old...a Sony camcorder with a microSD card...two Samsung Galaxy S3s...and children so we have tons of photos on the Laptop, microSD card and cell phones.

I need to consolidate and back up our precious family photos and videos.

My first thought was to buy an external USB drive, however, it sounds like those crash quite a bit and also that the physical USB connection can become damaged.

My second thought was to burn DVDs, however, this could take a while and seems like a hassle...but it would be a tertiary (?) back up of the back up.

My third thought was to get a NAS external drive...but I don't know much about these: is this something that I could connect to our Windstream DSL modem/router and use wireless to send photos from our cell phones and laptop to? If so, that would seem to avoid the damaged USB port risk, as well as have the benefit of us actually using the drive because it would be easier to click and drag versus pulling the drive out of a fire safe or closet and plugging it in.

My current idea is to buy a 1TB or so NAS external drive...and put everything onto that now, and also burn DVDs of everything...then, on an ongoing basis, use the NAS drive to push things off of our cell phones/laptop and maybe burn DVD copies of the NAS drive every six months or so (realistically once between now and 2020...I haven't changed our smoke alarm batteries for over a year...between home and car maintenance, it feels a little burdensome to back up everything on a rigid schedule...).

With kids, and life being very busy, I think I need something that 1) is somewhat affordable (I could stand to spend around $300 or so on this), 2) fairly quick once things are up and running, and 3) pretty secure.

I have heard of cloud storage...is that a good option? Our DSL is around 3 megabits download speed, .5 megabits upload speed (roughly), so for maybe 100 gigs+ is that realistic? Then you have subscription costs?

Could anyone recommend a good NAS external drive (assuming this is a valid way to go)?

Would blank DVDs from Office Max or Walmart be as good as others?

I had read that .png is a good format for photos...since it may not fall by the wayside in 20 years...is that important?

Any other advice?

Thank you.


a b G Storage
October 28, 2013 3:09:51 PM

Stick them all on an extra internal storage drive in your PC... maybe a Seagate 2TB drive. Buy Acronis. Copy all your photos over to the storage Drive. Make a image copy of the storage drive with Acronis. Store the Acronis image file in a few places..... another Hard drive or even burn the image to a DVD/Blu-Ray disc.

Even if the storage hard drive ever dies the image can be restored to ANY other hard drive. You can add to the image as you like also using the Incremental Backup selection process.

Also, the created image of the drive it makes, is compressed. If you want it can also be password protected. Acronis is awesome and I've used it for years. This is probably the cheapest solution.
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a c 97 G Storage
October 28, 2013 3:26:32 PM

Well a NAS Server has just as much of a chance as failing as a USB drive. Its not really the USB enclosure that dies but the Hard drive and ANY hard drive can Fail out of the blue.

Now I understand where you are coming from. I have 4 TB of data. Movies, Music, Games, All the scanned family photos and what not, phone backups ect all on that. What I do is I have another 4TB drive that I clone to and keep that in my safe. This way the Backup drive has VERY little use so it won't fail as soon and also my safe is fire/water proof as well.

Now a Cloud solution is a pretty good idea just because you don't ever have to worry about backing up anything. Its all done automatically. Now yes with your connection it would probably take a few weeks of just having your PC on 24/7 to do the inital backup but once everything is backed up its just the matter of what is new. and for 60 bucks a year for carbonite i think its pretty well worth it for people who don't want to deal with it. This is also better than a USB or NAS in a way of 1) a NAS server will be a few hundred dollars. 2) If your house ever blows up or catchs on fire or something and your NAS or USB drive is in the house as well (Knock on wood) Then buying all of that wouldn't have mattered anyways! Everything would still be gone.

In your case i would go with

1) Cloud
2) USB
3) NAS

In that order. A NAS is more for someone like me who has terabytes of data and whats to share it with everyone or have a constant backup.

If you know of anyone with a faster internet connection maybe take the PC over to their house for a few days if you get online backup XD speed it up a bit, But still the rule of thumb is have you data in 3 Places. If you want to be that prepared then do the Cloud and then a USB/NAS storage as well.

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