Friday, October 19, 2007

Back It Up, Baby!

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I'm starting my own little crusade, and I hope you'll join me.

Months ago, the hard drive of my old computer crashed. I was happy to have my shiny new replacement laptop, and the two of us have logged countless blissful blogging hours together since that day. She's a sweet ride, this fancy little coupe of mine!

But something else, something AWFUL and painful and very sad happened that day too. And there's no perky, quippy, Southern, FriedOkra-style punchline to come, either. This is SEEEEEEEEEERIOUS. I lost nearly all of the data on that old, worn out hard drive, and it hadn't been backed up in over two years.

Y'all. I lost the original files of almost every single picture I'd taken in 30-something months.

Are you soaking that up? Pictures. Of Bean's first three years. Gone. Poof. Her birth, her Christmases, birthdays, baptism, first teeth, first steps, smiles, giggles, everything. Just vanished.

Our dear friend and neighbor, Adem, has worked for nearly two months to retrieve some of the lost files and he's done a fabulous job, but of the nearly 5000 pictures on the drive, even his considerable expertise could only salvage about 500. When Mama crashes a drive, she crashes it hard, people.

The good news in our case is that I've had an online diary since before Bean was born, and have stored most of the very very best pictures at an online photo and video storage site for easy uploading to the diary. Our pictorial history hasn't been entirely destroyed, thanks to that. BUT. I know others who've not been nearly as lucky. In the few conversations I've had with friends since The Big Crash, more people than not have lost some of their own precious memories through computer problems and, more importantly, their own failure to set-aside the short minutes it takes to back up their hard drives regularly.

Hence my crusade.

Go, people. Now. Skip my next several posts (I'll endeavor to avoid writing anything particularly useful or riveting. Just for you! Ahem.) and use that time to take a look at's offering of file storage options starting at only $25 clams. Skip another post or two each month and use those minutes to grab the digital pictures, videos and other important data off that hard drive and slip it onto a little thumbdrive, burn it to a CD, or at least upload them to an on-line storage site. It's so little to ask, but will save you so much sadness.

I'm going to remind you once a month from now on, by posting the button above. If you'd like to help spread the word, grab the button yourself and post it on your blog to remind your friends, relatives and readers to protect their cherished photos and other memories. I'd really appreciate it, and they will too. You can count on it.


  1. Maaan, not to decrease the weight of your very important exhortations, but I though this was going to be a picture of THE jeans!

  2. A similar thing happened to us last Christmas. Thankfully, we were able to retrieve our pictures. My FIL bought us a "My Book" external hard drive.DH has it set to back up every night.

    Thanks for sharing and reminding!

  3. I'm so paranoid about losing my photos--we did crash our hard drive once, but it was thankfully before we had a digital camera! I burn a CD every time I dump the photos onto the computer to be safe. I hope your friend finds more photos--that's quite a loss; I really feel for you.

  4. oh girl...
    AMEN to that. i keep all my important songs/docs on a separate hard drive.
    those things are nifty!

  5. An excellent public service announcement: we had a virus on our computer that erased TONS of word documents which could VERY easily have bene the four years of non-backed up photos on our computer. Eep.

  6. Ha ha - I thought this post was going to be about the jeans too! I thank you for your PSA, though. We just bought an external hard drive for this very reason. It cost about $150 but worth every penny if the big guy crashes at some point.

    Now, where are those jeans!!? The suspense is killing me!

  7. Oh, man! I have a half written post on this exact topic. You're absolutely right on this!!! I'm developing a system for backing up our documents and pictures at home.

    A quick and fairly inexpensive solution is to use a combination of a USB Flash drive for temporary or rapidly changing data and burning to CD or DVD for long term storage of things like pictures is a great way to prevent some serious heartache and frustration.

  8. And don't forget to back up your blog, just in case something happens at your hosting site. I realize that blogger, wordpress and typepad should all have backup and redundancy built into their systems but you never know for sure unless you work there!

  9. Amen, sister. As a compter guy, my husband has seen it happen all too many times. Totally avoidable.

  10. I've been working on this for awhile too. I've worried about it with my business (all of those proofs) so I got me a "stick card" that I can even wear as a loverly necklace!!


  11. Heeeee - I thought this was going to be a pic of the jeans, too!

    This is a great reminder, girl. I haven't backed up pictures in almost a year. EEEEK! I would just die if I lost all of those. Haven't backed up a single AJ picture, so I need to get started NOW.

  12. I've worried about this, but my techno savvy isn't so savvy! I will check this out - Thanks for the info!

  13. Oh my! Thanks for the warning! We actually just started storing our pics on our hard drive. We had an old computer that couldn't handle all that memory! WE now use both, online and hard drive. So kind of you to warn others.

  14. so important! thanks for the reminder, for both home and work. my office just got vandelized with all computers stolen!

  15. OK, I'm convicted.

    I have a back up hard drive that I do not know how to use... and I have a blue gazillion pics on my computer that are no where else...all the pictures from our adotpion, of Russia...of my entire life for the past umpteen years.

    Thank you for this reminder. I will most certainly consider myself warned and will take heed.

    So sorry about your loss... :-(

  16. I use shutterfly and upload picture there every month so my family can see them. Its a free service but I would have to pay to get my pictures back.
    Knowing this I keep all my pictures on my computer. I bought a memory stick a few months ago because I realized it would cost a pretty penny to buy all my pics back.
    Having you remind me every now and then to back up my pics will be a great service.
    T with honey mentioned about backing up blogs. Can we do that? I want to have these stories so my kids can read them years from now.

  17. So sorry about your photos! I am glad you were able to retrieve some and hurray for diaries and the internet and uploading photographs to cyber space! (for the most part!)

  18. Instructions on how to "export" your blog on blogger to create a backup can be found here:

  19. Random thought: who made the blanket that Bean is laying on in the picture? Bravo to that person!

    I have thought about making a pillow with that design, but it is so complicated and difficult, that I have never actually embarked on that project. :-)

  20. Oh man! This is one of my biggest fears! I have to hand my laptop over to best buy to look at because my battery doesn't hold a charge for more than 7 minutes right now but I am procrastinating because my fear of "what if they crash it or erase all of my stuff" I have no back up of it all. I know what I will be looking into this week. Thanks for the push!

  21. oh my yes. Why is it sooooo easy to put off backing up...when we know deep in our heart we would be devestated if something happened to our pictures. ugh...I am several months behind in my backing up. YOu have inspired me.

  22. oh and I have most things on a external...but the other day, my computer acted like my eternal wasn't even there. FREAKED ME OUT. I thought the external had crashed. eeekkkkk