Don’t let your memories R.I.P.

With the holidays coming up I feel compelled to do my PSA spot on backing up your memories. If you’re like me, the most important files on your computer are your digital images and videos. The photos of my babies, that vacation I took with my dad last year, my wedding – all of these are many magnitudes more important to me than any email or spreadsheet on my PC.

IMG_9190 (300x300)Given the importance of these file to each of us, you would think we would back them up daily. But most folks don’t. In fact many people just have them sitting on a den PC, on that hard drive that has an unknown expiration date – yes they all do expire. If you haven’t experienced a hard drive failure, then you are very lucky. It’s one of the darkest moments in computing.

I’d like to try to make your holiday season a happy one so here are three ways Microsoft can help you preserve your precious content.

First up, Windows Home Server. This product launched a few weeks back and it’s a great approach for multiple machines households. It’s a version of Server 2003 built for the house. It does lots of great stuff, including automated backup of up to 10 PC’s. I’d say this is a bit of a high end approach for most folks because you have to buy a dedicated machine to run it, but if you’re willing to do that, it works really well. You can even have your photos automatically uploaded to an online service like Flickr.

If you’re not ready to shell out the $$ for a Home Server but you have multiple machines in your life another great solution is FolderShare. With FolderShare you can mirror a folder across multiple machines. I use this to keep all my photos and video synchronized across all the machines I interact with. FolderShare can take any folder and synchronize it across multiple machines. It’s a great way to make sure all your machines have copies of your memories. For instance, my wife often imports pictures of the kids while I am at work. With FolderShare the full fidelity images just show up on my work machine, in my gallery and in my screen saver. If I tag a photo from a machine, it’s now tagged on all machines. Best of all, if one machine’s hard drive goes down I won’t lose my photos because they are redundantly stored on my other machines.

Another way to go is to use an online photo backup service like the new OneCare. This is a great approach if you only have one computer. OneCare will copy your photos to its server and keep them safe for you. In addition to the backup service OneCare gives you lots of other benefits like anti-virus and spyware protection.

Whatever you do, do something. Unlike a spreadsheet, it’s hard to recreate a photo.

– John Thornton (Program Manager)

Comments (1)

  1. dlock says:

    What really is the ‘best’way to secure your photos. Traditional backup software is fine in that if the file is touched you can append it to an incremental backup. You have the orginal plus also the histroy of changes. Folder sync is ok but if someone damages/edits the picture this error gets replicated. The problem with the former approach is that the image is backed up even when the metadata is changed (we are going through and doing a lot of tagging updates at present).  This results in massive disk space duplication on the backup drive/machine. What I really need is a solution that incrementaly backups up images when the image is changed and only backups meta data if the metadata changes (loads smaller!). Does such a solution exist?