Storing your media archive and keeping it safe

Last modified 29.01.2022 | Published 09.10.2012Media articles

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Storage of a media archive is a critical issue and I would like to emphasize to all the importance of having backups.


The alternatives

For some a cloud/sky solution using a service provider like Google Disk, MS Skydrive, iCloud or DropBox would be fine. My media archive is too large and I have found a different solution.

Storing on DVDs or BlueRay discs is not an option for an archive of a certain size, like the several hundred gigabytes I have. It is possible to use a multitude of memory sticks, memory cards, SSD disks or other disks stored away in every possible location at home or in your bank deposit box.

When you do secure your archive like this, ask yourself these questions:

  • Where is the original?
  • How do I secure updates with new photographic material on my backups?
  • How do I make sure that the change I did to that old picture from 2007 is backuped?
  • And how do I avoid that changes I inadvertantly did to that 1999 photo is not replacing the correct file?


My solution


Maxtor External Hard Drive

One of my discs looked like this

Currently (October, 2012) having 387 gigabytes of media files in a well organised archive, my digital media is vulnerable. Due to the sheer size, all of it is stored on external disks. I’ve had to change disks over the years as the volume grows. Moreover I have several disks stored in different locations. Some of them are quite old (like the one pictured here) and contain my media library as it was a few years ago.

Two of the disks have identical content.

The two identical disks are synchronized on a weekly or more often basis. I use SyncBack, a freeware working just fine. Many back-up and synchronisation programs have a tendency to do their job by compressing data into a format unreadable by other programs. That does not suit me.

I use one of my disks as the working “original”. The risk is that mistakes I unknowingly do to that disk are being copied to the other. The consequences could be high but the probability is low. The risk is higher for a disk to break.

I’ve had problems.

  • One disk crashed, but I had a backup copy.
  • I once cancelled a SyncBack synchronization job with the result that the entire folder was deleted. That folder contained my 100+ original YouTube videos. I was able to restore all but one from other disks.


The future

Years ago I stored my videos on tapes, and my photos in negative and positive film albums. The technology to access these storages became obsolete or at least cumbersome. The only thing that is certain is that change will happen.

What will happen to my hard disk connected to my computer with a USB cable and plug?


Further reading

I am discussing the tremendous task of creating a digital collection of media in a series of articles.