For the last six months I’ve been trying to come up with a scenario to backup or Synchronizing my photos in Adobe Lightroom to keep them safe from disaster or hard drive failure. This scenario will also work for all of your other data on your computer as well. Most people don’t back up their photos or data. But, consider this – hard drives have a useful life of about 3 to 5 years or less. So, it is important to backup your precious photos. I like to have my photos in three separate places; one on my hard drive in my computer; a synchronized backup on a external hard drive; and one more that is backed up periodically and off-site in case of fire or disaster. Let’s face it – your photos are not just a bunch of data. It’s years and years of photographs that need to be protected. This scenario will also work for all your other data on your hard drive.
A Word About Adobe Lightroom Backup
When you backup a catalog in Lightroom it only backs up the catalog. It does not back up your photos in this catalog. Your catalog only contains information about your photos. It’s location, keywords, ratings, collections, developed settings and so on. Your original photo data files are never changed in Lightroom. All of the changes made in Lightroom are stored in the catalog and the XMP sidecar file. The XMP sidecar file contains all of your Lightroom settings for a particular photograph. So, you want to also make sure you backup the XMP sidecar files. The XMP sidecar files are created when you make changes in Lightroom to a photo and are located in the same directory as the photo. The XMP file naming are the same as the photos except the extension is .xmp. To completely backup Lightroom make sure the following files are backed up:
- Your Lightroom catalog file
- Your photo files
- Your XMP sidecar files
Software – Backup and Synchronization
I have tried several backup software packages like Windows 7 Backup that comes with the operating system, Acronos TrueImage 12, 2BrightSparks SyncBack and the one that I useSyber Systems Goodsync 9. It’s simple to use and the most stable, at least on my system, and does exactly what I need it to do. I backup my photos in several places. GoodSync 9 will backup to internal and external hard drives and will even backup or synchronize your files between two computers locally or over the Internet. I can highly recommend GoodSync 9 for all of your backup needs. You can download a full version and try it for 30 days to see if GoodSync 9 is right for you before you buy it. After the 30 day trial period you can still use GoodSync, but at a limited capacity. GoodSync 9 works on Windows and Apple systems, as well. If you are only backing up to an internal or external hard drive you will only need one license. However, if you are going to sync between multiple computers you will need a license for each computer. Each additional license is at a reduced rate.
Use GoodSync 9 for File Backup
GoodSync 9 backs up files by copying from a source folder to a destination folder. Files are changed by the user only on the source folder, with changes sent to the destination folder for backup.
Backing up your data is a necessity, so when important images, spreadsheets, MP3s, financial documents, and emails are lost, you’re able to easily restore them with your backup copy on the destination folder. With file backup, your data is sent in one direction, to a destination folder on a location where it can be safely stored.
Backing up your files is important whether you want to completely restore a computer following a crash, or to restore small numbers of files after they have been accidentally deleted or corrupted. Backups are typically the last line of defense against data loss. With GoodSync you can back up files to a different location or device, including but not limited toflash drives, servers, laptops, desktops, or other external drives. GoodSync also supports FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, and Amazon S3. All GoodSync file backups are fast and secure, and can be completed locally, over a network, or over the internet.
Why is GoodSync file backup superior to traditional backup?
- GoodSync is faster and more efficient. GoodSync file backup employs a sophisticated synchronization algorithm to detect which files on the source folder have been changed, and only backs up the files that have been changed by the user. This is much more efficient than backing up the entire source folder every time files are backed up like traditional backup services.
- GoodSync provides easy access to your files. Unlike traditional file backup services, GoodSync directly backs up and updates the actual data files themselves. Instead of creating an image of the source data that has to go through a cumbersome restoration process, GoodSync makes an identical replication of the files in the source folder when transferring to the destination folder. In the event of data loss in the source folder, this means that files in the destination folder can be launched immediately, thereby reducing any unnecessary downtime.
- GoodSync has the most options for file storage. GoodSync backs up files that are in folders that are located on a hard drive, network, removable drive, FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, or Amazon S3. GoodSync can backup files locally, through a network, or through the internet. GoodSync is available for Windows and Mac and can be installed on a workstation, USB drive, or a server.
View the video below to learn more about Goodsync 9
Try or Buy Syber Systems GoodSync 9
Software – System Backup
System backup is a another animal. The scenario above will not back up your system files, however, there is a solution. What you will need to do is create a clone of your system hard drive or C: drive. There are two programs that I’ve used in the past to do this. One is Norton Ghost and the other is Acronos TrueImage 12. There are many other programs out there that I have not tried or used. These programs will make an identical copy of your entire hard drive. Once you have made clone of your drive to a second hard drive. All you have to do at that point is swap out the SATA cable from the old hard drive to the new hard drive and your computer will boot up the same as the old hard drive. It is a good practice to periodically backup your whole hard drive any time you add new software. Just remember, the new hard drive has to be the same size or larger then the old hard drive. In this scenario if your hard drive crashes all you have to do is install the cloned drive in your computer and your system will be restored to the time you created the cloned backup. After that all you have to do is resynchronize your data back to the new system hard drive.
Hardware – Hard Drives (Option 1)
The first scenario and probably the least expensive solution is called JBOD or (Just A Bunch Of Drives). What we’re talking about here are external hard drives that can be connected with USB 2 or USB 3 if available, eSATA or FireWire. I recommend you buy these in pairs. One drive for daily backup and the other for periodic backup to be kept in a fireproof and waterproof safe. It’s even better if you can keep it off site with a friend, family or at your office. This may sound a bit paranoid but my photos are very important to me and my business. This is what I use at this time. But in the future I will probably move in to the Drobo RAID unit.
Hardware – Drobo RAID System (Option 2)
RAID is an acronym for random array of inexpensive drives. You can find the Drobo system starting at around $350.00 not including the hard drives. The smallest Drobo unit holds up to 4 hard drives and some units hold 5 or more hard drives. I’m just going to talk about the 4 bay unit. This unit is compatible with USB 2 and FireWire 800. Other units have USB 3, Ethernet and iSCSI. All you have to do is install a minimum of two hard drives in the Drobo unit and what’s nice is that drives can be any 3.5″ SATA I/II/III and any capacity you may have and any manufacturer hard drive. You can mix and match say a 500 GB with the 1 TB to 2TB and even a 250 GB hard drives. The unit can handle drives up to 2 TB and 4 TB with the free software upgrade from Drobo. The Drobo is a redundant RAID system which means it creates one logical drive on your computer out of the 2 to 4 hard drives you have installed in the Drobo unit. Each file on the Drobo unit is written to two locations on separate hard drives to protect your data from hard drive failure. The status lights on the front of the Drobo will indicate if a drive has gone bad or is about to fill up. If you need to replace a drive that’s bad you can hot-swap that drive with the new one. If the lights indicate that a hard drive is almost filling up, all you have to do is replace the smallest drive with a larger one at any time and the Drobo unit will automatically copy the files from the other hard drive accordingly to achieve redundancy on the whole unit. There are other RAID systems out there that will achieve similar results but this one seems to be the simplest to use and set up. The Drobo comes with its own backup software. I have not personally used the Drobo system but have read many positive reviews on this product.
View the video below to learn more about Drobo
However you decide to back up your photos and data do your homework on the products out there. Create a plan to back up your precious photos and data. Now all you have to do is backup your photos and data. This will give you the peace of mind knowing all your photos and data are safe from a disaster or hard drive failure.
- Decide what backup software will work best for you.
- Decide what hardware will need.
- Keep a copy of your backed up files off-site.
- Implement your plan for backup.
- Periodically check your backed up files to make sure that your backup plan is working properly.
Finally, get out there with your camera and photograph our beautiful world knowing that your photographs are safe and backed up.