Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Digital Workflow (Part2) - Backup Those Files!

Ferris Wheel at Night - Image © David Toyne

To give an example hard drive problem think on this. A hard drive head hits a speck of dust on the disc. Scaled down it's like a jumbo jet flying down a runway at 650mph; six millimetres off the ground with it's undercarriage down. Imagine the chaos if at that moment it hits a family sized car. You'd be right in assuming both the jet and the runway are destroyed in the encounter. If it was your hard drive crashing then the disc and heads would be destroyed along with all your images. Image recovery costs, when recovery is posible, can run into huge sums of money.

Now backups are boring, time consuming and mistakes get made. So I run a very cheap and simple backup solution to avoid this problem. You could easily implement it yourself. All you need is one external hard drive and a small piece of software called AllwaySync. Looking online today a USB 2.0 external hard drive with 300GB of space can be obtained for around £65 ($140). AlwaySync Pro costs a paltry £10 ($19.99). So for a very small sum you're up and running.

What I have in mind is simple to set-up and simple to maintain. Afterwards your backups are automatic, rapid and only the files that have changed will be backed up. Just follow the easy steps below:

  1. Plug in your USB\Firewire hard drive. It will usually be detected automatically.Format the USB\Firewire hard drive with your chosen file system. Assign the drive a permanent drive letter that's not is use like X: or Z: for example.
  2. On the external drive create a folder called 'Picture Archive' or similar.
  3. Install AllwaySyc on the computer and run it (No explanation required it's a total cinch!).

  4. Allwaysync Pro - Screenshot
  5. Select the picture folder on your hard drive on the left and the picture folder you set-up for backups on your external drive on the righthand side (See above image).

  6. Click the 'Synchronise' button. The application will do the rest.
There are more advanced options you can use such as telling the software to look for changes and synchronise both folders when you plug in the drive, or to run on a backup schedule every week at a certain time.

AllwaySync Options Screen
You can tell the software to monitor your picture folder all the time and synchronise every time you save a change if you like. There are many self explanatory options available.

Loads of time saved!
There's nothing it doesn't do quickly and easily and without complication. It's what I like most about it. Most of all it saves time, doesn't rely on my memory and gives me piece of mind that my images are safe and sound. To me that's priceless.

***Note: I have no commercial affiliation with any product or service mentioned here. I don't get sponsored. I sing the praises of only what I have tried and what works for me. Even then only if I think it's a bit special and good value. I write these articles for personal satisfaction and to help you out, not for selfish capitalist reasons.


Anonymous said...

A wonderful piece of software and one thats resolved a shed load of problems

any recommendations for some photo "deduping" software while your at it ?


David Toyne said...

Yes indeed. The software if called 'No Clone' By reasonable software. I'll review it this week.

Anonymous said...

excellent I look forward to the review , I must say that allsynch is the find of the century as far as Im concerned