Like many, I have lost data- pictures and documents- a number of times. Last time was this summer, when my laptop crashed and the HDD had to be reformatted and all my programs and data reinstated.
How does this picture make you feel? Physically sick? Stroking your own phone? Thankfully, when my phone got attacked by the stony parking lot, I kept the data.
With my laptop I naively thought I was safe, I assumed everything was synchronised to my OneDrive and a copy of important data stored on WD passport. I was wrong!
My choice for data storage: I have an Office 365 subscription and that comes with massive cloud storage on OneDrive, in addition I have a couple of WD passport portable external hard drives. (I use WD because they are a good price point, available at internet prices from Curry’s and have proven the most reliable over the years; having tried most leading brands and struggled with crazy recovery software and their odd outputs when they crashed and held my data hostage.)
Having a laid back approach to backups and not configuring programs to save work in the appropriate folders (instead of their own default folders) meant I lost weeks of work. The value? Beyond measuring it in time spent to replace these it is hard to say. In the past we lost music we’d ripped from our CD collection and then recycled the CDs, pictures of precious moments that’ll never return.
What I’ve learnt in the past months:
Back up regularly
I now set an alarm once a week to back up my laptop and my phone (and most of the time I don’t just snooze the alarm for another week)
Know where each program saves the files
So often I just click save, forgetting to change any parameter beyond the file name, then rely on the “most recent files” list to open up that file again. Gradually, I have been resetting default locations to folder I know are synchronised or backed up.
Check your synchronisation to the Cloud actually works
This has been the crux of me loosing data when the laptop crashed, but having most of my data when my phone fell to smithereens. My default back up is to OneDrive. On the laptop, as I was running out of space to locally store all content I made some costly compromises and due to glitches not all folders were being synchronised (ie backed up to the cloud). The phone’s back up, however, is much better automated and very few files are lost. Even with Microsoft’s well configured system I do need to check regularly whether any pictures have slipped up in the upload process.
No data is safe unless it exists in 3 places
It seems such a waste of resource, but I am inclined to accept this. Currently most of my data exists in 2 places: in the Cloud on OneDrive, on my phone or laptop and sometimes on the back up drive. It’s a real challenge to ensure these are all synchronised, so if I delve in delete rubbish pictures, rename them and so on these are then replicated across the different storage mediums to avoid even more duplication of effort.
My biggest challenge, currently, is storing photos in an easy to find, accessible way. I am considering the possibility of having them stored on an ever increasing library of SD Cards filed in business card holders. What do you think?
It seems I’m not alone in my whole conundrum on storing my data. Over the weekend at Blogfest, Western Digital presented some fascinating research on the mass of content and memories stored on our personal devices and the value we place on it.