Here’s a valuable lesson I have learn’t the hard way, fortunatley though I got a warning, I think.
Back up your image library, no matter how big or small it is, even if you think those photos aren’t worth it. Having that library sitting on your laptop or desktop’s hard drive is not a safe spot for it because once that laptop or desktop dies, you have lost the lot and in the majority of cases its not retrievable.
Here’s what happened to me….
I was away during the Christmas break visiting friends and family, the area where they live is pretty humid during this time of year, but whilst there my trusty faithful laptop died, I couldn’t turn it on or do anything else with it, except look at it longingly. I was stressing too because I still had a project that needed to be delivered to the client in early January. Its not like I could go back to the client and say “hey look, my lapotop died and we need to do the shoot again”. How would that look, not good at all and they would never come back to you, probably ask for a refund and to add insult to injury the word of mouth thing can be a serious killer these days with things like Facebook and Twitter.
So I made an appointment at the Genius Bar at my local Apple Store, they checked it and reported that everything was fine, it wasn’t the graphics card like I suspected. They got it working and I left a happy man. Even though it was working I still took my laptop dying as a warning and that things were about to get worse. If you know me and know what I am like with anything technical or electrical, it could only get worse. I also know computers do strange things, regardless of brand and I wasn’t taking any chances loosing all my hard work.
So I decided to back up my whole image library, all 100 Gig of it and I also decided that I wasn’t going to back it up to an external hard drive. I have a teenage son and nothing electrical is safe, and since then, the external hard drive has died. It wasn’t my teenage son that I thought would kill it but rather it was me and now it won’t turn on. I know it wasn’t him as he was at his friends place so how on earth can I blame him?
So for nearly a week, I got out of bed, put the kettle on and I slowly burnt all the master images (RAW) and Hi Res PNG formatted images to DVD for each and every project that I had on my laptop. It was a slow and a laborious project but I just knew that it had to be done. Once I had confirmed that each burn was successful, I then deleted the project to free up space on my hard drive to start fresh for 2011. I then marked every DVD with the project name, date taken, location taken, date burnt and also put www.thiefimages.com on each and every DVD as well. I figured that if I was ever robbed and they took the extremely large stack of DVDs thinking they were movies and my stolen property was ever recovered by the police, I would know the DVDs were mine, and so would the Police. I know its highly unlikely but I was thinking worst case.
Two days ago, I tried to turn my laptop on, and from what I can figure is that the graphics card has finally failed, I checked the Apple Support website and did my own fault finding so I am pretty sure that it is the graphics card. Fortunately for me, I took the warning that my laptop gave me and burnt my image library to DVD, and I still managed to deliver the project to the client on time.
So now, not only do I look at my laptop longingly, but now I have to fight my son for the desktop while I wait for my Genius bar appointment, much to my son’s dismay and disgust I have no idea how long it will take for my laptop to be fixed. He keeps claiming the desktop computer is his! Not likely.
Even if you are really good with computers and if nothing ever goes wrong with anything electrical or technical that you own, I highly recommend backing that library and your computers hard drive up to either an external hard drive, or to an external website that specialises in keeping your data safe or simply to a DVD.
It will save you all that emotional stress in the future. In this case, it saved me.