Options to Storing your Files & Images

By: Mike Sexton

Have you ever stored files on a CD so you have a back up in case something goes haywire with your computer? If you have, have you ever gone back to that CD to get something off of it only to find out that the disc is no longer good and the files you had on it are no longer readable or visible? If so, then join the club that has millions of members my friend because it sure has happened to me several times over the years. I event went to the lengths of having a copy of the CD in case the original corrupts only to find out that the copy is also corrupt! Talk about wanting to scream! Times like that really make you curse technology doesn't it?Well have no fear because I'm going to give you a few different storage methods you can use for your important files and pictures. Now none of these are foolproof but in my eyes the more of these you use together, the better your chances of at least ONE working when you need it. There are many different methods of course such as using an external hard drive, a backup program, DVD's, online storage websites, etc. I'm going to talk about the ones I've tried which includes the external hard drive, DVD & online storage solutions & give you a few pointers on each. Now, as I stated, none of these will guarantee your files are totally safe & retrievable but at least they're options to consider.Let's start with the external hard drive. There are many different brands on the market, different storage sizes to solve many different computer users' needs. You can get them from as small as 20 GB all the way to 300GB and I'm sure there are even larger ones out there but you get the idea; if you have a lot of files you need to store or just a few, there's an external hard drive to fit your needs and that are reasonably priced as well; many sell for under $60 for the smaller sizes; I think I paid around $90 for an 80 GB external drive. Most are extremely simple to connect using a USB port and you're ready to go. They really do a beautiful job for storing your important files & pictures. For example, since I'm a digital artist & graphic designer, naturally I have a lot of images I need to safely store and I always transfer my work to my external hard drive after I stop working; even if I know I'll work on it again later the same day. Naturally you don't have to go this far but I've had my share of bad experiences with losing work over the years and I like to play it cautious.Next are recordable DVD's which also come in many different brands as well as "R" & "RW" which just means that the DVD-R you can only record on once; whereas, the DVD-RW disc you can rewrite over it several hundred times in many cases.

Ok, now for the obvious bit of information: to record onto a DVD of ANY kind you have to have a DVD recorder drive; if you have one that records onto CD's it doesn't mean you can also record onto a DVD using the same drive so please, before you buy a pack of blank DVD's make sure your computer can write files to them. The beauty of using a blank DVD is the size of information they can store; you can fit roughly 4-5 CD's worth of files onto 1 DVD! I'm not kidding you; it's a beautiful thing; as I said, I'm a graphic designer and artist & I have a LOT of images to save which naturally take up quite a bit of space so it's wonderful to record onto a disc that stores up to 4 GB of information/images because it definitely lightens up the amount of space I need to have to store the discs; and trust me, having one stack of DVD's beats ten stacks of CD's any day of the week.What happens if you don't have the cash for an external hard drive and your computer can't write to DVD discs? You can always go another route and choose an online storage website to store your important files & images. There really are a ton of them out there, some are expensive, some are cheap and some are even free. Each one has their own level of how safe they keep your files & account so be sure to check such things BEFORE you get an account with them. Also, check how long they've been in business; you generally don't want to go with a new start-up business because who knows, they could go out of business tomorrow and then where would you be? The best thing to do is to check on several different companies & check their reputation for safety, length of time in business, customer service, etc. The beauty of using an online storage website is you don't have to worry about recording onto a disc every few days or weeks as the case may be or paying for an external drive. Say for instance your PC crashes- I know-major panic mode isn't it? I know I always go a bit off the end when my PC takes a powder & I have to spend all day re-installing the entire system and programs. Well if this happens and you have your files saved online, once you get the PC reformatted and are able to get back online you just go to the website where you stored your files and you're back in business again!For all of you out there who are like me, a digital artist and create your masterpieces on the computer I have an additional tip to give you that I've been using for the past year or so now. I created a special email account that I use strictly for images that I'm in the process of creating; in other words, unfinished masterpieces. Here's how I use it, say I'm working on a painting and have just begun the outline sketch of it but I need to leave for an appointment or just want to take a break. I save the file and then I email myself a copy of it to that email account; this way if something happens in the meantime I could download the file from the email and start right back where I left off. I do this every time I stop painting. Naturally you'll need a rather large email account but that's alright; there are many out there today that are free and give you a ton of storage space. Then once you're done with your painting or whatever it is you're working on, go into your email account and delete the oldest copies & maybe keep the last 2 or 3 files just in case you wish to make some changes later on but don't want to touch the already finished image.I personally and professionally use all of these methods I've described-the external hard drive, the DVD, the online storage site as well as the email idea. Does that mean you have to use all of them too? Of course not! But I will give you one final piece of advice and that is, whatever method you choose, the more options you use, the better chance you have of having at least one of the storage sources be there for you when you need them. THERE'S NO FOOLPROOF STORAGE METHOD, no matter which you choose it can go crazy on you and not work but that doesn't mean you shouldn't seriously consider storing your important data; everyone's going to have a PC go bonkers on them, unfortunately that's just how life is; technology is only as infallible as the humans who create it and let's face it, I have yet to meet a PERFECT human, have you?***I wrote this article to give readers an idea of what's available out there in storage solutions. I in NO MANNER RECOMMEND ANY PARTICULAR STORAGE METHOD. Whichever method you choose be sure to weigh the pros and cons & I take ZERO RESPONSIBILITY in case something happens to your stored material. Just like anything else out there, the storage method you use you are using at your OWN RISK!***

Author : Mike"Birdman"Sexton
Copyright -2007
All Rights Reserved
Please do NOT reprint this article unless you have my permission, thank you.

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