Protect your memories and files!
Having a plan to protect your photos, family videos, documents and digital files is now more important than ever!
We have all been watching or experienced the impact of major weather disasters–fires, hurricanes, floods–across the US, Canada, Mexico and more. When a natural disaster threatens, it’s impossible to gather all the photos and files and quilts and fabrics in case of an emergency–the best we can do is grab our meds and maybe the baby photo album.
If it isn’t the weather, then many of us have had a computer crash–taking some or all of our files with it can make life difficult.
But we CAN take preventive action to preserve our digital life. Here’s how I’ve organized it. (Please note there are NO referral fees involved here.)
Backup Digital Files the Cheap, Fast & Easy Way
Forget copying files to external drives or USB sticks. That is useless in a natural disaster and none of us will copy those files every time we create one on our computers.
Online back up with ‘cloud’ services is absolutely, totally the way to go. It’s simple, easy & cheap! It works best & fastest with WiFi so that it isn’t using your data.
I use two different cloud services because I want to be triple safe. I have loads of irreplaceable family photos, business records, quilt photos, my pattern design files, emails and book files. Even with all that, and using 2 services, my cost is pennies a day to keep it all safe.
Best of all….if you buy a new computer, you can easily download everything you backed up from the old computer in minutes. No more tedious files transfers from USB sticks or whatever.
Tip: Always choose the least expensive plan for 1 computer. These companies are always offering specials if you want to add a 2nd computer. You don’t need a plan for your tablet because you can just go online, sign in and access your files.
- DROPBOX: Very easy to set up and use–no tricky directions. It works silently and invisibly in the background. Once you download it to your computer, you select which files and folders/areas of your PC to upload. Takes minutes to set up and you never have to think about it again. I don’t save programs files (like EQ8 or Photoshop, etc.) because you can always reload those from a disk or download. It has a FREE membership level or if you need more storage, it costs $10 a month (or 32 Cents a day).
- CARBONITE: Works just like Dropbox. You sign up, download the small app and select which files and folders you want to back up. Currently, it’s $59.99 a year for 1 computer.
With these services working silently all the time, I can sleep well knowing that even if disaster strikes, that part of my life can be easily retrieved. Since they are password protected, I think they are secure enough for my purposes.
Scanning family photos, movies, slides and documents
When I see people who talk about losing a lifetime or more of family photos, my heart breaks. But there is a simple and inexpensive fix for this that doesn’t mean spending hours in front of a scanner at home.
If you have LOTS of photos, negatives, slides, DVDs, family movies on film reels and paper documents, here are some options. Some of these companies can even restore old photos when they process them.
- LOCAL OPTIONS: Many local photo shops will scan your materials onsite. (A shop near me in Bradenton FL is called Johnson Photo Imaging.) Search for photography shops in your neighborhood and ask them if they scan onsite so there’s no risk of sending irreplaceable items in the mail. No point in using a shop that is going to mail them somewhere else.)
- ONLINE: If you can’t find a local photo shop to scan your photos, there are several online companies like FotoBridge, Costco, DigitalMemories and many more. Be sure to search for customer reviews to make sure it’s a reliable service. Of course, sending photos by UPS, FedEx or the U.S. Mail can be scary. All carriers have some possibility that a package might be lost. Full disclosure, I used an online service once but will try local services from now on–I was nervous the whole time! These companies also offer an online account–I didn’t take this option because I already have backup. I just downloaded all of the digital files to my computer and I was set.
If you only have a few photos or documents, here is what you can do:
- Use the Scanner function on your printer at home and hope that it has good resolution. Not the best option, in my opinion because you usually get a low quality scan.
- Download an app on your phone called TurboScan. It uses the camera on your phone and can save your document or photo as jpegs or pdf files.