Photos Gone in a Flash?

All this talk about backup strategies reminds me of a time last year when I woke up one night with a terrible thought: if a fire broke out and we had to evacuate our apartment, what would we choose to carry with us? It’s not such a crazy fear. My house did catch fire when I was in the sixth grade. And a lot of sentimental treasures were lost to smoke and water damage.

As it turns out, my biggest concern was saving my photo collection—the thousands of digital images that existed only in the realm of my computer. Sure I had CDs of some photos, but nothing comprehensive. I immediately woke up my boyfriend and explained the plan: “In case there’s a fire, be sure to grab the iMac. And your shoes.”

It’s not exactly the most foolproof backup strategy. But it was enough to get to me thinking about reliable ways to protect my most important files. I’ve since devised a routine to help ensure that I can’t lose everything is one fell swoop of disaster. At regular intervals, I burn new photos to DVDs. I then take one copy to work and send the other copy to my mother (who thinks I’m just being nice). By spreading the files around, I increase the chance that I’ll have a backup, should I lose the originals.

It’s still not a perfect plan. Even CDs and DVDs don’t last forever. But it’s enough to help me sleep at night.

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