General Question

melanie81's avatar

Besides buying an external hard drive, what's the best way to back up my photos and documents?

Asked by melanie81 (794points) February 25th, 2009

I’d like to back up 15GB of photos and 5GB of documents. I have about 10 blank DVD’s…would this be a possibility?

I’d rather not shell out the $100+ for an external hard drive, but I’m wondering if it’s my only option. If so, what type/size do you recommend? Thanks for your answers!

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17 Answers

fireinthepriory's avatar

DVDs are an option, but they’re not as infallible as we like to think they are. They tend to corrode after a period of time (maybe someone else knows how long – I think it’s a few years.)

I own two external hard drives myself, and I love them. You can buy ones that are very small (meaning maybe 30GB) for a lot cheaper than $100. Try for some good deals.

Not that hard drives are infallible either! Better than DVDs if you’re nice to them, but I always try to back up REALLY important things in two places. Maybe one DVD of the really important things as well as a small external?

seekingwolf's avatar

fire is right. I’d get an external hard drive.

It’s always a good idea to back up your important data in two places. I’m so glad that we’re beyond floppies….

DVDs don’t last as long and you may need many of them for all of your data. as long as you’re careful with your HD and don’t expose it to liquids/extreme temp/shock, then you should be fine.

Jeruba's avatar

If they matter to you, by all means back them up, even if it costs you. You’d spend more than that trying to recover them from a crashed drive, and if it’s a bad crash, they’re simply gone. I was prepared to pay the experts $2500 to recover my son’s 4000 photos from a totally crashed hard drive, but it couldn’t be done. All were lost. Now he backs up all the time.

seekingwolf's avatar


Omg that’s awful!! 4,000?!

Yeah I’d go ballistic if that happened to me. I have 3 hard drives (2 external) and a couple of SD cards and thumb drives. You can never go wrong with backing up everything!

Jeruba's avatar

Three years’ worth of beautiful photos, including those from many special photography expeditions and entries in weekly DPC competitions. It’s a hard way to learn a lesson, but it does get learned.

Milladyret's avatar

Zip, mark them well, and mail the to yourself.
Free, easy, takes no space, and I DON’T think the gmail servers will burn and die in the next couple of years… ;)

jrpowell's avatar

I am a firm believer in external drives. If you can afford It I would get one. I actually use two. One to back-up my computer. And a back-up of my back-up that I keep off-site. The house can burn down and I will still have my data.

And mine are bootable. I can plug in the Firewire drive and boot from it.

It really is a cheap way to feel secure in this post 9/11 world.

funkdaddy's avatar

I haven’t used it yet, but Mozy is an online backup service that’s available for $5/mo… they don’t put size restrictions on your account (that I know of) and it has the added benefit of being offsite in case of theft or fire.

Just another option.

answerjill's avatar

@funkdaddy – I’ve been using Mozy. So far, it works great. I started using it after a friend’s computer was stolen and she told me that she had everything backed up on Mozy.

TheDeadWake's avatar

I back up stuff to my iPod since I don’t have near 80GB of music. I also recently decided to do DVD backups of my downloads so that I don’t have to buy them again in case my iPod dies too.

artificialard's avatar

Yesh, use Mozy as I think the first 2GB is even free. I actually like DropBox which is a little different as it mirrors a special folder on your computer with an online repository, so you just drag/save stuff there as normal and can access it from any other computer.

melanie81's avatar

@Milladyret GREAT idea…here’s a dumb question: how do I turn my files into zip files?

Thanks everyone for all the great advice!! I am convinced to buy an external drive now. Not worth it to use the flimsy DVDs, especially when I’d have to use at least a handfull.

seekingwolf's avatar

I like the idea of Mozy, but it’s only free to 2 GB? That’s not enough for lots of folks. Photos are very valuable and they can take up a lot of space, and if you have a lot of other documents…well…

Is there another online service that offers truly UNLIMITED storage/back up space?

Jack79's avatar

15GB can easily fit in 4 DVDs. And it’s a good idea. Especially if you store them somewhere else (in case of fire or theft).

Milladyret's avatar

You’re welcome! I’ve done that with all of my important stuff, but again it’s really important to name the files GOOD before you mail them, or you’ll ever find them again ;)

Good luck!

Jeruba's avatar

Good decision, @melanie81. You won’t be sorry.

ShanEnri's avatar

You can use DVD’s and even CD-R’s. They build up though! You can also use online sites for photos like I use them sometimes too.

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