How To Move Your Memory Vault To A New Computer

How To Move Your Memory Vault To A New Computer

I am embarrassed that I have not posted this information before now.  Besides creating a Shadow Copy, which is a post I plan to update later today, this is one of the most needed How-to's I can think of.  I honestly thought I had posted this previously, but a search through the site tells me I hadn't.

Here's what you'll need to get this process accomplished:

  • The old computer that has your original Memory Vault on it (either in Memory Manager or Historian). This computer still needs to be able to run to make this work.
  • OR, if you already have an up-to-date Shadow Copy on an external drive, you don't need to worry about the old computer.
  • An external hard drive for the transfer with enough free space to hold your Vault.
  • The new computer running an activated version of Historian with enough room to hold your Memory Vault when it's transferred.

Step One: Create/Update Shadow Copy on the Old Computer

To make certain that you are transferring the most recent version of your Memory Vault to the new computer, you need an up-to-date Shadow Copy.  If you have never set one up before, start now by plugging the external drive into the old computer and starting Historian. (If you are using Memory Manager 4 on the old computer, it will look very similar to the following screenshots.  If you are using Memory Manager 3.0, use the instructions in this post:

Once Historian is open, click on the Vault tab on the top menu ribbon and select Shadow Copy.

Shadow Copy

If you already have a Shadow Copy set up to work with your external drive, you should see something like this:

Shadow Copy

If  you don't have a Shadow Copy set up yet, instead of an Update Now button, you will see a Start Protection button.  Click on that, and then follow the steps in my previous post on Setting Up A Shadow Copy.

As you can see, I had 128 photos that needed to be updated on my Shadow Copy. All that means is that I made changes to some photos and/or added some photos and my external drive wasn't plugged in at the time that I did that, so I need to update. My favorite thing about the Shadow Copy feature is that if I do have the external drive plugged in when I close Historian, it will automatically check to see if the Shadow Copy needs to update and perform that update before it fully closes. That's a super easy way to make sure things are backed up.

So, while the Shadow Copy is working, I see a progress bar like this:

Shadow Copy

and when it's finished, I'll see this box.  Note down below the location that it verifies that No items require updating.  That means we're good to move on.

Shadow Copy

So go ahead and click Close, and then close Historian/Memory Manager on the old computer. To disconnect the external drive, please, pretty please don't just unplug it from your computer. This abruptly shuts down the spinning disc in there, and that could cause damage to your files.

Instead, please Safely Remove your external drive.  That's actually a thing.  Go down to little carat/arrow in the System Tray (bottom right) of your computer screen and click on that arrow.  You'll get all sorts of fun icons that pop up, probably at least something like this:

Safely Remove

Find that little white USB drive-like icon that the arrow points to in my picture above and right click on it.  That will open a box that lists any removable drives you have connected to your computer.  In my case here, I only have one.  If you have more than one, make sure you pick the right one, or you'll have to reconnect whatever you select.

Safely Remove

Go ahead and click on that drive and then wait for a notification that it's safe to remove the drive.

Safely Remove

If you get a different message that says that the drive is still in use, try the process of safely removing the drive one more time.  If it still persists, either try shutting down your old computer (if you don't need it anymore at the moment) and then unplug your external drive.  Or, it won't be the end of the world if you go ahead and unplug after a few tries.  At least, so I've been told by IT guys before.

Step Two: Restoring Your Memory Vault on the New Computer

We're almost done, I promise!  This is the good part.

On your new computer, open Historian.  If it's the first time you've opened Historian, it is probably asking you where you want to set up your new Memory Vault.  Just cancel out of that because we're going to designate a location for your Vault when we start this process.

Plug in the external drive that holds your Shadow Copy, and then from the Welcome screen in Historian, go to the icon that says Recover a vault.

Recover a Vault

This next box is important.  You first want to click on the three little dots “…” on the right side of the box that says “New location for the recovered media vault”.

Recover a vault

Clicking the … will open a box to let you choose where on your new computer you want to keep your Memory Vault.  I highly recommend creating a folder in your Pictures library to house your vault.  If for some reason down the road your hard drive fails and you don't have a Shadow Copy (please, please have a Shadow Copy) and you take your computer to the tech guys at the store, they will try to recover files from Pictures and Documents by default, so you're more likely to get your photos back.

Now, once you choose your new vault location, you'll notice that the OK button is still grayed out. That's because we have to choose one of those buttons in the bottom section of the box to tell it what source to use to bring in the old vault.  Here, you want to chose Use a Shadow Copy.  That will open another box that asks you to find your Shadow Copy.

Recover a Vault

Navigate to the external drive (in the list on the left-hand side of the screen) to open the files on that drive, and then navigate to the folder that holds the Shadow Copy you just created.  Mine was in a folder called Main Vault Shadow Copy, and inside it you see a file with my vault name and (Shadow copy) in parenthesis.  This part is important: make sureto just click that file folder one time to select it and then click the Select Folder button below. If you double-click the Shadow copy folder above, it takes you into the structure of the Shadow Copy, and that won't work.

Now you'll notice that the OK button is highlighted and you can click it.  Go ahead and do that now.

Depending on how big your vault is, this could be quick, or it could take quite a while.  Just relax, go read a book or do something else and let it do it's thing.  You really don't want to interrupt this part of the process.  That Shadow Copy is carefully reconstructing your whole Memory Vault just the way you left it, but on your new computer.  Which is why this Shadow Copy thing is so awesome.  I just love it!

I really hope this has helped!  Don't forget to restart that Shadow Copy once you get your vault fully recovered.  Let me know if you need help.



How to Combine Historian and Forever Storage for a Secure Photo Backup Strategy

How to Combine Historian and Forever Storage for a Secure Photo Backup Strategy

This is a post I've been trying to figure out for a long time.  I'm the person who wants the best of both worlds: secure, local photo back up and a secure offsite backup.  And I don't want them to be widely different.

If you've been with me for a few years, you probably remember that I tried keeping my memory vaults for Historian synced with OneDrive so that my vaults were easy to restore if I had a hard drive failure.  (Of course, I had a working shadow copy on an external drive as well.)

Let me tell you something: Keeping your vaults synced with OneDrive is NOT a great strategy.  Besides some of the questionable permissions that Microsoft may or may not have to data mine my photos if I have them stored in their cloud, the bigger issue was that it took forever (no pun intended, seriously) to open my vault in Historian when it was in OneDrive.  Now, I don't know how much you use OneDrive, but it's somewhat similar to DropBox or Box or even Google Drive, in that you can choose to have the folders and files actually existing on your hard drive and also syncing any changes to the cloud.  So, if you have OneDrive syncing to two or more computers, it will continually try to check both systems and the cloud to make sure everything is in sync.  I don't know how that works in detail in the background, but I can say that when my memory vaults were in OneDrive, sometimes it took up to 20 minutes to open a vault.  And I only had it syncing to one computer.

That said, I did have multiple hard drive failures that year, so the good news was, I didn't lose any photos that I'm aware of.  But OneDrive would have to download the 100+ Gb of photos each time I had to reinstall Windows and that took time and bandwidth.  That's where the Shadow Copy for Historian definitely works better for me.  I have never been let down when restoring from a Shadow Copy in the over ten years that I have used Historian (or its predecessor).

After a few hard drive failures, I decided tho nix the vault in OneDrive and I moved it back into my Pictures folder on my C: drive.  And of course, I continued the Shadow Copies.

Fast forward another year, and I've worked pretty hard over the past year to get my photos into my Forever Storage account.  When there were good sales, I bought a little more space, just bit by bit.  I did this because I had seen how unreliable my hard drives can be (not that I didn't know that part before).  Not just my C: drive, but also the external hard drive I relied on for Shadow Copies.  What happens if my Shadow Copy isn't readable?  Yes, the photos are still there, but I lose the hard work put into organizing them, and individual files could be compromised.

So, I started using my Forever Storage account more and more to organize and access my photos.  As I used it more, I realized two things:

  • It's a lot faster and easier to access the photos that I'm looking for in my Storage account.  Whatever device I'm on, be it my phone, my iPad or one of my computers, I can login and search for my pictures.
  • It's a secure feeling for me knowing that Forever has my photos secured at a technical level that is beyond my ability.  They have guaranteed to me that they will safeguard my photos for my lifetime plus 100 years.  I have family members designated as beneficiaries of my photo account and another account manager who can access if needed.  This hit home for me when family members went through Hurricane Harvey earlier this year who had no back up for photos other than their phones.  One had already lost physical photos years before in a fire.  I didn't not want that gut-sinking feeling of losing photos that I couldn't recover.

Do I Still Need To Use Historian?

Since I came to the realization that I enjoyed working in my Forever Storage that much, I started asking myself: Do I really need Historian anymore?

Let me explain something about this question.  This is like a confession … it almost hurts.  I've been teaching Memory Manager and Historian for over ten years, and I have never found something that I thought worked better for photo organization.  It's one weakness is that it is so cumbersome when the vault is big, and it requires a good computer with enough hard drive space to handle it.

I have a really busy life, as you probably do, too.  So I really labored with this question because if it's just easier to keep everything up-to-date in the Forever Storage account, do I even want to keep working with Historian anymore?

The realization I came to is that I don't want to rely on only one system.  If I only have the Forever Storage, I'll feel pretty safe, but if I have a disruption in my internet connection, I'm cut off from my photos.  They may be safe on someone else's server, but I have no access that way.  My thought is, it's best to have the local copy (my memory vault) on my hard drive and then have all of the organized, tagged photos in my Storage account so that I know they are secure and I can access them from my phone or anywhere else.

The box with a bunch of old photos

My System Now

So this is how I manage things now.

  1. I import all photos from my camera into Historian.  I star rate them and add facial tags from Historian.  The tags are written into the metadata on the photos and that imports into the Forever Storage account when they are uploaded.
  2. Then, I can upload the photos that are worth saving to my Storage account.  That way, I don't worry about filling the Storage that I paid for with photos that are just clutter.  If I go through them in Historian first and do the legwork there, then it easy to just upload the good ones when I'm done.
  3. When I upload, I tag the ones I uploaded with a special tag “Uploaded to Forever” so that I'll know which photos I've already uploaded.
  4. If I want more organization (beyond the tags) when they are in my Forever Storage, I can create albums in my Storage account to further group the photos.  But there's no Shadow Copy to set up there … it's already set.

This is really all there is to it.  If I operate this way, I have an organized copy of my photos on my hard drive (and in my Shadow Copy), and I also have an organized set in my cloud storage with Forever.  Double back up.  Secure at home, and secure in the cloud.  I can work with my local drive photos through Historian when I'm creating projects, and it's all good.

Can This Be Done With a Different Program?

Probably.  There are certainly other photo organization programs out there, and I'm not an expert in those ones.  Historian is the software that I know, and I can really only help you with this one at the moment.

But I can tell you that if I didn't have Historian to rely on, I would use whatever I had to at least have a backup copy of my photos on an external drive, and then I would make sure to organize and work from my Forever Storage account.  That's at least the one place that I know I wouldn't have to do the organizational work all over again.  If I used a subscription service, I would worry that eventually, either it would go away or if I couldn't pay, I'd lose access.  But I've purchased the Forever Storage space and I don't have to worry about not making the payments in the future.  And the endowment fund they set up means they are in a better position to keep my photos safe than other cloud-based photo services that operate on a month-to-month basis.


Saved By The Permanent Storage Account

Saved By The Permanent Storage Account

I sometimes feel like a broken record when it comes to my Permanent Storage account, but there's good reason for that.

Today, my husband asked for a photo of a project he built for my kids back in 2009.

“Oh, yeah.  I can get that for you.”  And off I went to my laptop to open Historian …

and then I realized that I split my vault in half last year and my current vault on my laptop starts at 2011.

So, I went to my backup drive to open the everything-up-to-2010 vault.

And it told me that it wasn't a valid memory vault.


Hmmm.  Well, ok … time to restore it from the shadow copy then.

Ok, Not my favorite message.  I'm not in panic mode at this point, because I know a way to recover that shadow copy, but I have to move it to a different drive.  (Long story.)  And unfortunately, one of my two other externals recently died (the one that has my regular backup for my laptop) and the other is currently almost full because I've been backing up all of the computers for my family members to it.

So, what did I do?

Ok, I know … dumb question, right?

Of course, I logged into my Forever Permanent Storage account, looked up 2009, scrolled down and found that photo in no time.

And since Forever has things triple backed up for me, I'm not that worried about it.  (I am not going to quit using Historian because I still want local copies of my photos … for those times when I have no internet access or just don't want to be connected to the internet.)

Speaking of Forever, if you have an account, you may have noticed a little down time this past week.  They have worked hard recently to upgrade a lot of things, and if you haven't been back in the past few days, it's worth a look.  If you don't have an account, signing up for a free 1 Gb storage account is a great way to give it a try.  All of my phone photos (and my husband's) upload to mine automatically with the free app from Forever, and I love having access to those photos without having to do any more work than that.

Hope you aren't melting this weekend, and have had a chance to Enjoy!

Why Historian Is Still The Best Photo Management Software

Why Historian Is Still the Best Photo Management Software

(This post was originally published on 6/8/2016.  Updated 9/20/2020.)

A few days ago, I was wavering in my loyalty to Historian.  I have used this software (in its varying versions and names) since it was first released, which I believe was around 2007.  I have taught it to others for that long.

And since that very first version, I have begged and pleaded with everyone to use Historian, if for nothing more than the easy timeline and the shadow copy feature.
The shadow copy saved me again today, and it's for that reason that I still believe in Historian and use it as my tool of choice for my library of photos almost a decade later.

Yes, I've been a consultant or affiliate or now an ambassador for whichever company has owned this software since that start date, which means I received a commission for teaching about it.  And I can tell you that this software is so stable, built so well, and does it's job to the point that it hasn't even needed an upgrade for years.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

I've seen other software come and go over the years, but Historian has held strong.  It allows me to find the photos I want, when I want them, and then gives me the peace of mind knowing that when my computer fails, I don't have to worry about a single picture.  The only photo solution I trust this much is Forever's Permanent Storage, which is a subject for another day.  There are great reasons to use both.

Get Your Shadow Copy Set Up Today

While the shadow copy feature is an absolute life saver, I know that less than half of the people I work with understand it or have it set up.  Let me see if I can try to simplify it, because really, it's that important.

To set up a shadow copy, you need an external drive of some sort.  It can be one that you plug in directly to your computer through a USB cable, or it can be a personal cloud drive (not to be confused with cloud storage services), which is an external drive that plugs into your modem or router instead of your computer and can be accessed remotely via wifi.  (I have been using this set up for a while because it allows me to be lazy … it will shadow without me having to plug a cord into my computer to get the job done.)

Let's say that you're planning to use an external drive that you plug into a USB port on your computer.  You'll want to make sure that's plugged in.

Now, open up Historian and click on My Media Library.  Along the menu ribbon on the top, you'll see a tab marked Vault.  Click on that tab to open it.


In the Vault ribbon, click on the icon that says Shadow Copy.


Next, you'll see a box that pops up.  If this is the first time you have set up a shadow copy, it will look something like this.


Click on Start protection.

Next, you'll get another box that will let you browse to where you want to save your shadow copy.  As I mentioned before, picking a location on a separate drive like an external drive is best.


Once your location is selected, the hard part is over.  You'll see this box:


You can either choose to Update now if you want to start the shadow copy immediately, or go ahead and hit Close if you have other things you want to do in Historian.  Once you start the process, you'll have to let it finish before you can do anything else in Historian.

But the cool thing is, once you have the shadow copy in place, it's a set-it-and-forget-it system.  As long as your external drive is plugged in, Historian will automatically update the shadow copy when you close the program.  If your external drive isn't plugged in, Historian will keep a list of the items that have changed and update them all the next time your drive is plugged in.

It's really not that hard.  Please give yourself (and me) some peace of mind, and make sure you have your shadow copy set up right now!

Until the next time, Enjoy!  (And rest easy …)



Is It Forever? Or Panstoria? I’m Confused.

The answer is yes, and yes, and so am I.  Although it is starting to get more clear.

Before I go any further, I want to try to clarify something, if I can.  Forever purchased Panstoria about a year ago. The two companies have been operating distinctly for the past year, but that's really beginning to change, as you may have noticed.  Currently, there are actually three different entities all operating under the Forever umbrella – Panstoria (the digital store with Artisan, Historian and the digital content), the Panstoria Print Shop (where the Artisan projects are printed), and Forever, which up until now has offered mostly permanent, guaranteed digital photo storage and conversion services.

There's a plan in the works at Forever to meld the three entities into one unified site at Forever, eventually.  But it will take some time.  Right now, you can rest assured that whatever the name that shows up, the same people at Panstoria are still servicing our Artisan and Historian software. Some of the new features to Artisan 5 are awesome, and if you haven't noticed, even Historian now has some capability to make page prints that you can print directly at the Print Shop.

So, What Does Forever Offer?

When the announcement was first made that Forever had purchased Panstoria, I looked into it a bit, and then set it aside.  I didn't see the connection yet.

Fast forward a year, and the digital world has changed enough that I do SEE it now.  Forever's flagship service is permanent photo storage.  As they tell it, it's a bit like a storage unit.  But instead of renting your space on a month to month basis (which you could potentially lose if the rates go up or your can't pay one month), you buy your permanent photo storage.  Once it's paid for, the funds are kept in a trust to ensure that the storage not only stays available to you, but that the servers and even the digital format of your photos are updated for your lifetime plus 100 years so you will still be able to access your photos and use them “Forever.”

foreverI have purchased some Forever digital storage myself, and it has already given me some peace of mind.  I'm actually the keeper of all 454 photos from husband's parents and his growing up years.  Those were the first photos I uploaded to my account, because it would be nearly impossibly now to collect most of them again.

Once you have some photos uploaded to Forever, you can sort them into albums, tag them and search by date.  The price for lifetime safety may seem a little steep, but let's take a look at that.

  • For $349 you purchase 10Gb of permanent storage with the Saver package.
  • That guarantees your photo files are safe for your lifetime plus 100 years.
  • Let's just do the math with your lifetime.   I'm 42 currently, and if I live for 35 more years (I hope)

$349 divided by 35 = $9.97 per year

Hmmm … I'm pretty sure I have paid more than that for magazine subscriptions I never look at.

Ok, let's be realistic.  I do have more than 10Gb worth of photos.  However, not every photo on my hard drive needs to be kept Forever.  I'll probably upgrade to a larger service package in the future.  But to put it in perspective, I pay $99 a year for 100 Gb of online backup, and it won't even allow me to sync my memory vaults.  (I have an alternate way to do that, which I'll tell you about in another post.)

If I upgraded to 100 Gb of storage with Forever, that would be a $999 one-time payment.  Over the same 35 year period we used above, that would be:

$999 divided by 35 = $28.54 per year

For the 100 Gb of storage space I currently “rent” for backup, that would be:

$99 times 35 = $3,465.00

Yeah, I'm totally dropping the rented online storage.  :0)

What Else Can You Do With Forever?

In addition to permanent photo storage, Forever offers conversion packages and has also now added Forever Projects.  This is essentially like many of your other photo project sites where you have the ability to use your uploaded photos to create photo books, calendars and other photo gifts. They offer different template options, but the experience is not (yet) as robust as using something like Artisan. That's asking more than what most web-based software will manage.

You can view all of what Forever currently offers through my special link here:

So, the choice is really up to you.  I don't know what the entire transition plan will look like, but currently there is still a lot more creative control using Artisan and Historian for digital projects and organization.  But as our lives continue to shift towards the cloud and away from complex software applications, who knows?

One thing I do know: I'm here to help you with Artisan and Historian for the duration.  Please keep the questions coming!

Until the next time, Enjoy!

~ Deb

What Price Would You Pay To Save Your Photos?

Several Dollar Bills Tucked In A Wallet

Several Dollar Bills Tucked In A Wallet

Recently, a new friend of mine brought me her son's computer.  It had completely crashed.  It couldn't be booted at all. He had taken it to the techs at one of the big box stores to see if they could fix it, or at least retrieve the data on it.  They weren't able to make it work.

Most of the files on the laptop weren't that important to her son, but he really wanted the photos that were on there.  I recommended my own tech guys, who have saved my photos from a similar fate in the past.  I don't know the end of the story yet, but I'm hoping that they can retrieve those files for him.

But that situation got me to thinking.  How much would I be willing to pay for my tech guys to retrieve my photos from a dead hard drive?  And, what if they couldn't do it for any amount of money?  (I've seen that happen to another friend in the past.)

In addition to this, I learned today that Costco has temporarily suspended their Photo Center service because their third party vendor (who also services Sam's Club and CVS, among others) was hacked last week and they haven't yet determined what data may have been breached, or if it's safe to go back online.  So services have been suspended until at least early August.

What does this mean for you?  Well, if you use Costco or one of the other affected sites, you have no access right now to the photos you've previously uploaded.  Probably not a huge problem for most of you, but what if you don't get access back?  Did you print those photos?  Do you have another backup?

This is where I beat my drum about setting up your shadow copy in Historian (this is a bit of an old post, but the concept is still the same.  I'll work on updating that soon).  It's also where I remind you about the importance of backing up in general, and how that works.

If you're not comfortable with the different backup strategies available, I actually have a quick booklet on that subject on the site that's my OTHER home on the web, now called Simple Digital Life.  If you're interested in learning more about creating your backup plan, be sure to hop over there and check it out.

I hope your week is starting out well.  Until the next time, Enjoy!

~ Deb