Storage of old images


TPF Noob!
Sep 11, 2007
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Can others edit my Photos
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i had a good clear out of images we dont need anymore ie jobs weve done. as a policy i try and keep work photos for around 12 to 18 months just incase.

i did a back up and i am now using up 12 dvd and my image total is around 22,000. can anyone suggest a quicker and easier way of backing up besides onto DVD. i was thinking external HDD but have never owned one so not sure how efficient they are.

External HD. Get a good 500 GB one, maybe even two to make sure.

I have 3.... 2 at my house, and 1 at my grandmas house.:er:
external HDD when you plug it just like another hd in your computer. either drag and drop or export straight to the drive.

Then detach it. and put it somewhere safe. Don't leave it attached.

Also, having 2 would be smart as well...1 on site and 1 offsite. update the offsite one twice a month maybe...but make sure you have more than just copies in your one location.
Simply plug and play. I'm using a 320G Buffalo and 500G WB now. WB is even more versatile with both firewire and USB connection. The helps me to share photos between OS and Windows as well.

Efficiency of HDD is always much better than DVD, but it seems you're talking about archive instead of backup. If they're critical to you, maybe you need to consider redundancy in dual media.
A HDD not running can't die. Plug the external HDD in turn it on, copy to it, turn it off and throw it back in the cupboard.
A HDD not running can't die.

I had a bad experience that my HDD died from accumulated dog's hair. Possibly wrong place outside a dust proof cupboard, but who knows?:grumpy:
just like any other piece of computer equipment an external HD doesn't like dust and junk getting into it...

if these shots are of any value you should always keep a double backup...

HDD and media (such as DVD's) are the way to go

you could also invest in a dual layer burner which holds 2x the capacity of a standard DVD
Depending on how valuable and important the images are, most people who I know that are professional photogs back their stuff up at least twice. They burn the raw files to a dvd and have a copy on at least 2 external hard drives. And keep one drive offsite. It can get a little pricey but it is one of those things that must be done to ensure the safety of your photos.
If you do decide to use CD-Rs and DVD-Rs, plan on a re-burn after several years. The media has a shelf life. Higher quality media is available with longer life spans.
Take that external HDD, drop it from the height of your desk by accident... no backups.

My method:


Holds 600 DVDs, and if I drop that on the floor from 3-4 feet, none of my DVDs are damaged. I know this from personal experience. Worst thing that happened was that about 15 DVDs slipped off their "rack" and had to be reseated. No damage was found.

Total cost: $30 + the price of the DVDs. If one used 9GB DVDs there is enough capacity here to keep the average enthusiastic photographer like me safely backed up for 30 or more years. As far as shelf life, its about 50-150 years for this media, as long as you don't use the ultra cheap and low quality ones that peel after 1-2 months. I don't use anything special, but I have DVDs that are over 10 years old and CDs that are 14 years old and all are readable on my current "el cheapo" DVD reader/burner.
ehh the above statement isn't 100%

most external enclosures have good dampening in them...naturally if the drive is ON and spinning there is greater risk but my external has fallen from desk height before, kicked around in my back pack, luggage e/t/c and its held up fine

reading reviews is important especially with regards to durability
ehh the above statement isn't 100%

I would not want to take that chance with gigs of treasured pictures taken over the years.

Anything that is mechanical will fail in time, that is a given. Hard drives have MTBFs measured in hours. DVDs have it measured in decades.

To each their own, of course. We're here just to share ideas.
As noted by others, CDs & DVDs will degrade over time. Not only does the quality affect the life, but storage and how you label the disc will also affect the life of the disc.

FYI on the external HDD. If you have multiple computers, you may want to consider a NAS (Network Attached Storage) or a networkable hard drive. This allows the drive to attach to the network as another device and allow access from all other devices on the network.

Depending on importance of the material will also want to consider making at least two copies and store each backup at different locations. This will ensure a copy will survive should a disaster occur at one location.
cool thanks for all the tips guys. ill definately get me an external HDD and just carry on backing up on my dvd's aswell i think.
Common sense applies here too. I mean if I stamp on a DVD or run over it with an orbial sander it dies too.

An external HDD doesn't need to be on your desk or dropped or moved. Many cases have a power switch. Why not stack it next to your computer case on the floor where the worst that could happen is a pet pees on it. To rephase my earlier statement "A well looked after HDD, not running, can't die."

Rchang how does a sealed hard drive die from hair? Heat buildup? I won't argue against it being dead but I find it unlikely that dog hair can be the cause, and this coming from someone with a cat who is part Persian.

That said if you need to keep the images for only a year or so DVD is the perfect solution, although long term storage is another issue recently discussed in another thread.

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