Why Where You Store Your Photos Is So Important

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Before you purchase your next computer, consider this:

If you've followed me for a while, you know that I have been a huge proponent of Historian (originally Memory Manager) for photo management since it's inception.

Way back in the day, I did group events with other (then) Creative Memories Consultants.  I loved getting the opportunity to train on Memory Manager.  My biggest mantra then was that Memory Manager with the shadow copy feature and a handy, dandy external drive were the best combination for keeping photos safely backed up.

And I've been using that system for almost fifteen years now.

Fast forward to 2021 

I'm still using the shadow copy feature in Historian 4 to back up most of my photos on my computer.  But what I've found in the past few years is this:  I always needed more hard drive space, so I would purchase a bigger external drive.  With this system, it's up to me to maintain a separate drive or drives to store my photos and maintain an adequate backup.  To manage things I've split up my vaults to make them smaller.  But I always run into the problem of having to remember to plug the backup drive into my laptop periodically so my shadow copy is up to date.

And then there are the hard drive crashes.  Not one.  Not even just one per year.  In 2016, I had to reinstall Windows 4 times.  In 2017, I've reinstalled again four more times on two different laptops.  Just a few months ago in late 2020, I upgraded my laptop again.

Can you see where this is going?

A few years ago I wrote a post about Forever's guaranteed storage called More Thoughts On Forever Permanent Storage.  It detailed what it would cost to keep up with the hardware and software needed to keep all of those digital photos safe, and then compared it to the price of purchasing Guaranteed Storage from Forever.

Since then, Forever has worked to make it easier to get started with Forever's Permanent Storage.  Plus, they frequently offer special deals to give you a “break” on the regular price.  (ALWAYS check the Deals tab on Forever's website.)

If you haven't read my train of thought from More Thoughts on Forever Permanent Storage, it's still a worthwhile argument.  In a nutshell with today's pricing (which can change, especially with Deals), here's what it comes down to:

Costs to PURCHASE Forever Permanent Storage*

10 Gb of Storage – $19 per month for 12 months (no payments after those 12 payments), OR, $199

25 Gb of Storage – $39 per month for 12 months, OR $399

50 Gb of Storage – $59 per month for 12 months, OR $599

100 Gb of Storage – $99 per month for 12 months, OR $999

For the full pricing chart, visit Forever's Storage page here: https://www.forever.com/ambassador/debrodriguez/forever_storage

* The great thing about this page is that it is always updated to show the current specials with a quick link to copy the applicable coupon code.  And very frequently, there is a discount available.

I “collected” my current total of 471 Gb of Storage over time by taking advantage of these specials.  To purchase that much Storage today, it would cost me $3,999 if I paid full price.  But I know that I have paid much less than that by purchasing smaller amounts on special over time.  As a member of the Forever Club, I am also awarded extra Storage at no charge for every 3 months I stay a member, plus I get an additional discount of 5-10% on almost all of my purchases.

I am currently using 141 Gb of my Storage.  Hypothetically, let's say that I purchased 100 Gb and 50 Gb of Storage at regular price (no discount). That would allow me to store approximately 38,000 to 75,000 photos (depending on file size) and would cost me $1,598.  (That figure is at full price.  With discounts applied, this would easily cost me quite a bit less than that.  You don't have to purchase all of your Storage at one time.  “Collecting” it in smaller increments over time, like I did, can save you a lot of money.)

For this price, I would own my 150 Gb of Permanent Storage and have the ability to pass it down to my children.  Forever puts most of the money from your purchase into an endowment fund so that they can guarantee they will maintain your photos for generations to come.  Your files are not compressed or data-mined, and they will never charge you again.  Plus, as photo file types change over time, Forever guarantees they will migrate your photo files to the newer formats so they are still accessible and enjoyable by future generations.

The Alternative Method – Maintain My Own Backups

Obviously, I can still opt to back up my own photo files.  To do that, I would need:

A computer – average cost, $750 (but my last one cost nearly $1,400)

An external hard drive (affiliate link) – average cost approximately $100

An offsite backup option (because what happens to my photos if both the laptop and the external drive are destroyed?) – We'll estimate this cost at $60 for a service like Backblaze.  Other services like Amazon let you upload your photos as part of your Prime membership ($12.99 a month or $119 per year), at least for now.  Amazon's rules change from time to time, just like most other providers.  (Google announced they will stop offering free photo storage in June of this year.)

All of the major photo storage providers, iPhotos, Amazon, etc. will save your photos for a monthly fee.  If you miss a payment or stop payments, that storage goes away and so do the files if you haven't backed them up elsewhere.

So, at this point, we have paid $750 for the computer, plus $100 for the external drive, plus $60 for the cloud backup.  That's $910.

Then next year, you'll need to pay the $60 again.

And you'll have to remember to plug in that external drive periodically to make sure you have a current backup.

And then, in a couple of years, one day you plug in the external drive and nothing happens.  Your computer doesn't recognize it.  Or it pops up a notification that there's an error on the drive.  Suddenly, that backup is in jeopardy.

So, you go out and purchase a new external drive for another $100 and make a brand new backup.  Whew!  Problem solved.

Then, about twelve months later, that laptop starts acting funny.  Pretty soon, there it is … the blue screen of death.  (They've tried to make it look friendlier now, but it's still the same terrible omen.)

Turns out, that hard drive is failing.  If you're a crazy laptop mechanic or you harbor a computer geek in your basement, you can replace that hard drive for, say, $200.  (I've done that one, too.)  But, more than likely, there's a new laptop coming in your future.  Let's call that another $750.

You can restore your photos from that handy dandy external drive onto the new computer and they are still safe.  Whew!

But can you see where this is heading?  After just 4-5 years, you've hypothetically paid $1,940 to maintain the hardware and cloud services necessary to keep those photos safe.  And it doesn't end there.  Year after year, you have to keep maintaining those systems which will mean further investment in the hardware over time.  And once you are gone, it's up to your family to keep maintaining the same processes.

As you can see, I'm pretty passionate about using Forever Storage.  Forever has my photos triple backed up using different systems in different locations around the world, so they are essentially already doing a better job than I could do with my double back up.  Plus, I access those organized photos from any device (phone, tablet, computer) any time of the day and anywhere.  When I want to pull up a photo of my daughter's 8th birthday, I don't have to go to my computer, boot it up, open a program and then search.  I can grab my phone, open the app and find it quickly, even when I'm not home.

So please, if you have any questions about Forever Storage, ask them!  I would gift photo storage to everyone I know if I had the financial wherewithal.  If this is something that interests you, I suggest you take a look at the Deals page and find out how you can get started.  (And definitely take a look at Forever Club before you jump in … it makes it even more worthwhile and affordable.)  I'll quit now, but I'm happy to help any way I can!



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