TPF Noob!
Mar 16, 2006
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Ok. So, I have been taking amatuer photos for about two years now, not professional or anything just stuff I love. I had over 50 gb of photos on a hard drive and the thing won't work anymore. I have not dropped it or misused it in anyway. The computer store is basically telling me I have to fork out 500-3500 dollars depending on how much time it takes to work on. So, now I have to wait until I save up 3500 dollars before actually trying to get my photos back. To prevent this happening again, what should I store my photos on? I thought the hard drive was the best idea, large capacity, doesn't junk up your computer, and small. How do you store your photos? ANd don't be like me, if you do use a hard drive back your photos up on thousands of CD's I guess. Let me know what you think. Thanks.
PM me if you want some help getting it working.

Basically, you need to back everything up to several locations using different hardware. Try and find a friend who's into photography and burn everything to DVD and swap DVDs as you build up your collection.

ALWAYS back up. I back up on an external hard drive and have been meaning to get to burning EVERYTHING onto DVDs. Sorry about the loss of your photos. I lost my first 10GB or so when my drive went kaput. I lost all my family wedding photos (that I had taken, they still have theirs). Lesson learned.............
First suggestion is to get a second opinion. Data recovery can be very expensive but it does not always have to be. Just know going in that it is never 100% guaranteed that you will get the data back.

So with my condolences, here is what I have come up with but have not implemented yet.

I am planning on building a dedicated box that will hold multiple hard drives in a RAID configuration. This will allow me to have the ability to recover from most crashes by replacing the one drive from the set that has become defective.

I will also be burning to DVD so I will have an offline and an online version of all of my files. There is some debate about how long a burned disk will last so I intend to test the disks every year or two to make sure they are still functional.

For the crisis at hand I would suggest you ask another shop to look at the drive and give you an estimate of what it would cost to get the data off of there. $500-$3500 is getting into the realm of professional data recovery services and is not something most computer stores are equipped to handle since it involves opening the drive in a clean room.

If you do manage to get your data back then talk to a computer shop you trust about building a RAID system for you. You could build a basic RAID for $200 or so but the sky is the limit for both price and capacity.

Best of luck to you CSmith93.
A RAID1 or RAID5 is surely a good idea, also performance-wise. However it will only protect against failure of a single drive, so if theres a damage caused by lightning and you lose both drives at once the data is lost again. Further backup possibilities depend on how much you are willing to spend. DVDs are a good idea but should be checked every few months because they definitely don't have an infinite lifetime. Using a tapedrive might be an option but it won't be cheap and some fuss to setup. Another option would be looking for external, backed up storage space. Be it simple webspace, a (root)server (double-check if backups are included) or a special backup-offering, all will work. Just look around and see what you can afford and what works best for you.
Yes, this is a problem as computer parts can go BAD as people sometimes say, at any point in time if you expect it. It happens with even the expensive components (just not as often) I have began backing up my photos on to DVD's and CD-R's, now as they were cheap and easy to burn onto. No harm in backing everything up. Okay it may take time each time, but it is worth it if theres a chance you could lose it!
I would definatally go with RAID5, and off site storage. CD's and dvd's do degrade over a period of time. What I would also recommend locally is: get an old machine with a big new hard drive in it, network it to your new Raid machine, and shedule it to backup overnight. then burn CD's or DVD's and post them to a photographic friend, who will save them on thier system too. Offer visa versa. Then: if a raid drive dies, you are OK - you have the othe raid drives. If the raid machine dies, you have the images on your spare machine. If the building burns down, you have all your work on your friends system, and a pile of DVD's waiting for you

The only discrepancy you have is the current un-backed up work... which perhaps ought to be on a memory card in your wallet?

System System System
Some great ideas here guys :)

I had not considered off-site storage but thats a great plan.

Anyone want to be my backup-buddy? :cheers:

Actually I am not ready to go yet (although I did just see a good deal on seagate 200GB drives that got me thinking it may be time) and I would probably want to find someone local so I was not incurring extra costs with postage.
RAID setups are complete overkill for the average consumer PC user. Your best strategy IMHO is to partition the hard drive in your desktop (to separate the operating system from the non-OS data like images, other programs, etc), and then run scheduled nightly backups of the data partition to an external firewire hard drive. That way, if your computer dies, you don't have to worry about it killing an internal drive.
yup, learned the lesson the hard way, just like you.

Bakc it up to a second hard drive, and make DVD back-ups. Either just the important stuff, or everything if you don't feel like spending the time sorting through it.

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