Backing up your work
Hey guys, I wanted to post this here so everyone would see it. There is a thread on the forums about someone losing some digital work. I wanted to chime in because backing up your work in an organized way is extremely important. The first step to being a pro is thinking like one and there are strategies you can implement so you don't lose precious work and time.
There are two things you want in a digital backup strategy. The first is it needs to be automatic. No having to manually copy between drives, etc. It needs to work without you!
The second step is that it needs to be redundant and partially off site. That means that if one messes up, you need to have another set so you can recover. It needs to be off site because a theft or fire could ruin you. I've had students lose everything before because it was all in one spot.
The first thing I would implement if you don't have a system is an on site backup system that saves versions of your images. For that I use time machine on my mac and an external harddrive which saves everything hourly and saves different versions of it. I can go back in time and grab old versions quite easily.
For the off site backup, I use dropbox pro. It saves my work in versions and saves it off site so if there is a fire or theft, I can recover easily.
I always give this lecture to my students and then tell them that any lost file due to bad backups (or no backups) will count as an F. No excuses. If you don't have these in place, make it a priority before doing anything else. I always say that the day you buy your computer is 1 day closer to it failing. It will fail. You can count on that. All of them fail at some point.
When building my backup strategy, I asked myself "How much work and time am I comfortable losing in the event of a disaster?"It's a great question and that's how I built my current set up. I am comfortable losing up to an hour of work and that is the max I could lose. I've had to completely restore my work from backup (all of it!) four times with hard drive failures. The downtime I had was a couple of hours setting up a new system. No work lost, no custom brushes lost, no settings lost.
Let me know if you have any questions about this stuff. : )
Charlie Eve Ryan
This is really good information, @Lee-White. Thanks for taking the time to explain your process for backing up, it is so important.
Do you by chance know of a software for PC that is similar to Time Machine for Mac. I think being able to automatically save every hours is awesome.
I have had my cold sweat moments and would love to avoid that again.
Charlie Eve Ryan
Also when you save to Dropbox Pro does that also allow you to pick every hour as an option for saving automatically?
We save to an external server that my husband manages but I am pretty sure it is not set to save my stuff hourly automatically, just nightly.
Dropbox doesn't save hourly, but it does save different versions. Here's what they say:
"Even if your computer has a meltdown, your stuff is safe in Dropbox and can be restored in a snap. In fact, if you're using the Dropbox desktop application, your files are backed up several times. The primary copy on your computer's hard drive is synced to your Dropbox account online, and that copy is backed up again for safety. If you're using Dropbox to sync files between multiple computers, your files are backed up on those computers as well.
By default, Dropbox saves a history of all deleted and earlier versions of files for 30 days for all Dropbox accounts. If you purchase the Extended Version History add-on feature, you can revert to a previous file version or recover a deleted file at any time within a year of an edit or deletion made after your purchase.
All files stored online by Dropbox are encrypted and are kept in secure storage servers across several data centers."
My hard drive failed suddenly and completely before Christmas. I had to restore the whole lot from time machine, and at that point my most important files were on DropBox too (but not all of them). It took a long time to rebuild it from time machine, which meant I couldn't access the files I wanted for a while, so now ALL of my files are on DropBox too, no exceptions. I do have an external hard drive to use as a third backup if I want to, but I don't update that as often as I should.
Charlie Eve Ryan
@Dulcie Are you using regular Dropbox or Dropbox Pro?
@Charlie-Eve-Ryan My husband and I use DropBox Business which has pretty much the same features as DropBox Pro.
I also make it a habit to save between layers as I work on Photoshop.
I have lost things from a power surge, which I fixed with a proper surge protector. And I now mostly store things on an SSD drive, as spinning components off old drives are sometimes the cause of their failure, well more so than an SSD.
The new hybrid drives are much better made. And of course you should always buy what you can afford but for the best you can afford in quality. Thankfully I have a parts guru I turn to, who accepts art in lieu of services, as he builds custom systems for a living. But not all hard drives are made equal... Here is some bad acting to explain that.
Anyway just something to think about. I also have an external drive I use for important folders, and a pocket 1 TB drive, that saves my whole computer, when I remember to back it up. Both are USB attached, and so easy to use... but then I have a lot of desk space to remind me to use them...
Good luck everyone!
Thanks @Lee White for the tip, I just subscribed to Dropbox pro!
Thank you @LeeWhite for the great information. I've an external drive I save too but now think Dropbox could be well worth the cost to have piece of mind.
Yep! a view years ago our back up system crashed, It costed 1200 us dollars to restore it. We work on Dropbox now, I use an extra hard drive to work on and we also have a time machine. Dropbox works really well, the only problem that can occur is that your computer stores the files so the files that you store also use space on your computer. If the files that you make are really large (photoshop files are always
large!!!) it can happen that there's not enough space on your computer. I haven't found oud how to archive work on Dropbox. It really worth wile to find a good system that works for you.
I 100% thought this was going to be a cautionary tale about how Lee just lost a bunch of work--glad that wasn't the case!
Lisa M Griffin
Great post Lee! I learned this the had way when my system crashed a few years ago... thankfully I had an amazing tech who was able to recover some of my files (ie work, photos etc) - now I use time machine and an external drive as well. It is easy, automatic and peace of mind!
I use Dropbox as well, but not for storage as much as transferring files to clients.
I seriously need to consider this...
Is your external hardrive constantly connected to your pc and plugged in?
Is the Windows Backup enough, comparing to Time Machine ( no idea how this works...)?
Thanks Lee for the great advice I just bought myself an external HD for that XD. Feel much safer now. My laptop is over 5 years old and ya know the system when you see the rainbow spinning wheel.