Posts tagged ‘Backup’

June 10, 2011

Saved by Memory Manager…

The headline might be a little dramatic, but I’m so happy that I use  Creative Memories Memory Manager for my photos. Last Saturday while I was working on a project, my external hard drive crashed. And while it was a trifle annoying, I was up and running with all my photos intact in about 20 minutes.

Now, I was actually away from my home computer, so I had to wait until I got home, but once there, I simply rebuilt my photo vault from the shadow copy that Memory Manager creates every time I exit my software. Nothing was lost! No edits, no tags, no folders, everything good as new!

That is my kind of back up!

What is a Shadow Copy? It’s magic! Well, not really, but it felt like magic on Saturday. In researching the term Shadow Copy, I found a long and boring article explaining the technology which I’m pretty sure you don’t care about. So here are the basics.

As you set up Memory Manager you are prompted to create a Shadow Copy. Normally, your photos reside in a folder called a vault on your C: drive and you use an external drive for the Shadow Copy.  Alternatively, you could keep your photo vault on an external drive and the shadow on your c: drive. This is my preference so that I have the vault available to me when I switch to using my laptop at scrapbook events.

When you exit Memory Manager, as long as your shadow copy is configured properly (don’t worry, it’s easy!), Memory Manager AUTOMATICALLY updates the shadow. The Shadow Copy contains a copy of all the photos and all edits, tags, folders… All Everything. When the vault drive crashes (they all crash eventually) nothing is lost!

If you currently use Memory Manager and if your shadow is set up properly, you should see this screen as you exit Memory Manager letting you know that it is backing up any changes you made while the program was open.

If you don’t see the screen, check to make sure the Shadow Copy path is pointing to the correct drive.

On the home screen (welcome page), make sure that there is a green check mark next to the words “Shadow Copy”. In the screen capture below, Shadow Copy is circled in red. I know it’s kind of small, but I wanted you to see the whole screen so you could place where it is. If the check mark isn’t there, there will be an exclamation point. Click on it, and make sure that Memory Manager knows where your shadow copy should be. That’s all!

I can no longer answer questions about Memory Manager. My suggestion is to upgrade to Panstoria’s Historian where support will be provided. Panstoria is the company that developed MM and your vault should transfer into Historian with little or no difficulty.

October 28, 2010

Boring Topic Alert! But so important… can you guess?

It’s everybody’s favorite chore – Backing up digital photographs!

When did you last back up your photos? I’m going to tell my story here. This is not an exhaustive look at all the different back-up programs you can use, this is simply how I came to REALLY learn the importance of backing up and what I use to accomplish it.

If you have ever lost photos to a bad hard drive, memory disk crash or other minor disaster, you know exactly what I’m talking about. In 2005, I had a new computer and even though my photo organization software kept asking me “Do you want to back up your photos?, I thought “I’ll do it later”. Well, this four-month-old computer was in an office near my bedroom. At about two in the morning, the computer made a noise that woke me from a sound sleep. I got up to see what had happened and saw the blue screen of death; I decided to go back to sleep, feeling very certain that I and my photos were in big trouble.

The next morning I discovered that, in fact even though I’d been groggy the night before, I was completely correct. My hard drive was unrecoverable. The tech guy who looked at it said, “I can’t even get it to spin up.” He assured me that I could probably spend hundreds of dollars trying to recover my files, but I didn’t have hundreds of dollars available for that purpose. Luckily, I only lost about 4 months of photos and because it was summer, it meant that other people had taken photos that I could have. And even more luckily, I’d printed some of my favorites from that time and made a couple of scrapbook pages. So, for me, my lesson was learned. You can’t trust your photos to one hard drive. Ever.

As soon as I got my hard drive replaced, I purchased an external hard drive. This was five years ago and hard drives weren’t as cheap as they are now. I’m happy to say, that little (80 gig) hard drive is still plugging along. It now has a friend sitting next to it that is much bigger (500 gigs). When I was in the computer training business, we were fond of saying, ” A hard drive crash is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when.” It was true then and it’s true now.

And, it’s not just hard drive crashes that should concern you. There is robbery, yes, a friend lost her computer and back up devices to thieves. Then of course, there is fire, flooding and other natural disasters. Oh my!

With all the potential threats, you need on site and offsite backup.

It also helps if the backing up is automated. Mine is, and I love that I don’t have to remember.

On site backup is the easiest to set up. My biggest concerns are my photos and my financial data. My financial software asks me about a backup regularly, and I always say yes.  My photos are in Creative Memories Memory Manager software (which I sell) and whenever I make changes to my photo vault,  it backs up the changes to a “shadow copy” on my external drive. At any time if I need to rebuild my vault, the shadow copy keeps all the tags and folder structure I’ve arranged within Memory Manager.

Offsite backup is a bit trickier, but very important. Offsite is for all those disaster type scenarios and there are all types of services. I use Mozy. It is simple enough to set up, but if you have a lot of data to back-up, it isn’t fast. And that is an understatement. It can take months to get everything backed up, but once it’s done, it just does an incremental backup whenever changes are made. It’s pretty reasonably priced too.  Some people just upload all their photos to places like Flickr, or Shutterfly or Creative Memories Photo Center. Personally, I need something automatic. If I have to put it on a to do list, there’s a chance it isn’t going to happen. And we know what happens then…

What is your back-up plan? How is it working for you? I’d love to hear about it.

If you don’t have a plan and you need help; contact me. I’ll be happy to get you started with a plan.