Too Many Eggs in One Basket

I just got back from 3 week vacation and… it is a second time I lost all vacation photos.

First time I lost vacation photos was due to hard drive failure in my laptop close to the end of the vacation. The problem was mechanical, thus recovering disk content was just too expensive ($2000). I had an external drive with me to make backups but never got around to actually do them. From that case I told myself I’m going to do backups every night on my trips.

A few years forward. This time I have done backups to two external hard drives. Both laptop and hard drives as well as some other valuables were in one very important bag – the most important bag, the only bag not to lose. And I lost it in an airport. Later I was contacted by airport authorities that the bag was found and everything but laptop was in it. I have not got the bag back yet and I can only hope that I eventually get it back with hard drives undamaged. But I was not very persistent about backing up to external hard drives every night and thus a lot of photos are lost for sure.

What I have learnt from this? First, backup should be simple and done consistently during a trip. Second, those backups should be placed to different bags to decrease probability of losing all photos as a result of loosing one bag.

4 thoughts on “Too Many Eggs in One Basket”

  1. Maybe…so, I just had some friends who lost almost every family photo they ever had due to hard drive failure. They were all on a backup drive, but they didn’t copy them *back* to the main computer after upgrading the operating system.

    I am starting to find more and more value in online services, like dropbox, where automatic sync to online storage seems to solve problems like this.

    Only thing is, I start to get a little nervous when considering things like to track finances…yes, it would make my life easier by far, but what is the cost if that information is stolen?

    This balance between preservation, value of time, cost, and security is a four-way fulcrum of sorts…

  2. Thanks, Michael. That’s a great advice. My current backup strategy at home is all photos are on Windows Home Server with full duplication. Once a month I copy all of them to external hard drive that I keep offsite. I’ve been looking to switching from using external drive to using online for a while. The main issue has been that online services don’t support backup from WHS.

    This specific post is about backing up during travel. I don’t want to make this process too complicated because while traveling I want to focus on creative process not on backup process. Current idea is to have enough flash cards that Idon’t need to delete images from them and copy every night to hard drive. This way there is only one copy that needs to be made (the other one would be on the card itself). Also both copies would end up in different locations. Cards would be in the camera bag and hard drive would be either in laptop bag or in luggage.

  3. There’s something between you and vacation photos ))) Did you get the photos back??

    Anyway, better idea would be to install an additional hard drive into your work computer and set up peer-sharing via something like CrashPlan — it does backing up between peers for free. I’ll do that now!

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