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Backup & Archiving

How? 
Which software is used only matters in that you don't really want to compress the data when backing up - JPeG compression already loses a lot of photographic information.

Use a script or other plain copying routines just to duplicate what is on the primary hard drive. In a script I use Windows Resource Kit "Robocopy" which easily updates a target folder with files that are new or have changed. It can also remove files in a target directory that have been deleted in the source directory, so if you delete between backs-up this can be reflected by the next backup

I use a different mechanism to archive to DVD - Archive Creator also stores an HTML index.

Why bother?

It is absolutely necessary to backup all photographs and images that you want to keep. You must keep them in a current, standard format.

What does that mean?

Ok, how did we backup before digital? Well, we didnít have to. Those photos we liked, we put into an album, those we liked less, we chucked into a shoebox. As long as you knew where the box was, all was ok.

When I first started using computers, it was with the Commodore PET and the slightly inferior Tandy TRS 80. If I were backing up images from these, it would be to tape cartridge. Today, I cannot read any tapes that were created in 1982.

Later, with an IBM PC XT, backup was to 5Ē diskette (canít read many of those from 1990) and later 2.5Ē diskette (canít read a whole shed-load of those either, from 1995).

When will those I have copied to a FAT hard drive be unreadable, or my CD collection; DVD (+/-RW)?

Ok, hope you catch my drift.

I currently backup to external hard drive via USB using 2 generations. Then I archive (same as backup but different software) to DVD. So at any one time, I have 3 copies of ALL my photos.

When the external disk drive is 5 years old, I will ditch it (or recycle for some lesser application) and replace it with a new one. When the current CD/DVD standards get superseded (and they will), then I will copy my archives from DVD to New Device Standard.

Proprietary formats & protocols

Ok, so ALL formats are originally proprietary. Some become a de facto standard and so are seen as not proprietary, but they still are.

PET format: I canít remember - not sure if I new of such a thing then

PC format: FAT or FAT32


Windows NT/2000/XP format: NTFS


CD\DVD format: at least 4, +R, +RW, -R, -RW


RAW file format: 1 per manufacturer, sometimes 2 (Canon has CRW & CR2).

Ok, Iíll tell you what Ė lets try to minimise the number of storage formats. I think we can get it down to 3:-

bulletComputer (NTFS or MacOS)
bulletDVD +R
bulletJPG or DNG


†If you take RAW, convert immediately to Adobe DNG. Keep both if you must, but at least keep the DNG.

This way, when Cannon change to CR5 format with my new camera and my old software gets lost, or quits working, then I can still access my original RAW files, that I kept in a common standard format.

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