Backup is probably the #1 highest priority I have when it comes to my photos.
As I mentioned in my post earlier this week, having good backups (that’s plural for a reason), is imperative. No computer hard drive lasts forever, and no operating system is infallible.
For years, I’ve suggested to anyone using Historian (or Memory Manager) that using the Shadow Copy feature makes the software worth it if you use nothing else. I’ve helped more people restore vaults (easily) from a shadow copy than I could count. I could probably come up with a good guess, but I really couldn’t count them accurately. I love the Shadow Copy feature.
But even a good, up-to-date Shadow Copy is not enough. That’s just one extra copy, and it lives on an external hard drive that’s most likely located in your home, the same place as your PC. In the event of a catastrophe like a fire or flood, you could easily lose them both at once, and that’s it.
That’s why I was mentioning keeping my vault in the cloud in my last post.
Here’s what I do to keep my photos safe
If you aren’t familiar with OneDrive, it’s a simple cloud storage app much like Dropbox or Google Drive. It’s linked to your Microsoft account, and is installed as part of Windows 10 now.
Just like Google Drive and Dropbox, you can sign up to OneDrive for free with a limited amount of storage space. That’s not going to get you very far with a your vault, because unless you only have a few hundred photos, you’ll need more space than that.
A couple of years ago, I purchased a Microsoft Office 365 Home subscription. I have a 5 user subscription that gives me access to the entire Office suite (Word, Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint, Publisher and more) that can be shared with up to 5 computers (PC or Mac!) and 5 mobile devices. In addition to all of that, though, it offers 1 Tb of OneDrive storage space per user, and 60 minutes per month of Skype calling for $99.99 per year. You can also get a 1 user Personal subscription with the same features for 1 computer for $69.99 per year. (There are monthly subscription options as well, but you get a bit of a price break for the annual subscription.)
I mainly purchased this subscription because of the OneDrive space. I’ve priced other cloud storage space before, and $69 or even $99 a year for 1 Tb is a pretty good deal. When you look at the fact that you can have 1 Tb x 5 (if you have 5 different PCs using it), that’s a fabulous deal. Even with two computers sharing the subscription and using 1 Tb x 2, that beats many other cloud storage subscriptions that will charge $49 or more for only 100 Gb per year. In my case, I have 5 people under my roof with PCs, so this is a smoking deal. (As long as I can teach them all to use OneDrive.)
Here’s the thing to remember about OneDrive (or any other storage app like Google Drive or Dropbox): the files you place in OneDrive still live on your hard drive in the OneDrive folder. The special thing about this location is that any files in the OneDrive folder or subfolders are synced with the cloud, so if something happens to your computer, it’s as simple as reinstalling the app when you switch computer, and everything will re-sync. Trust me, I’ve done this more than a few times.
So, now my vaults are no longer in my Pictures library on my C: drive, they’re in the Pictures folder in my OneDrive folder. Pretty much the same, but easily retrieved when catastrophe strikes. You can choose any cloud storage you want to. I just chose OneDrive because I can take advantage of so many other things with this Office 365 subscription.
By the way, this does not mean I’m not using my Forever permanent storage. But it works differently. Because of the price, I am storing my best, most precious photos with Forever so I really don’t have to worry about them. But to keep away the everyday headaches of losing progress or even my vault entirely, this is my plan.
Do you have another plan? I’d love to hear about it.