Are Your Photos in Danger of Being Lost?

Part 2 of the “Backup Your Life Series.”

If you are like most people, your photos are digital these days.

They are probably stored on your computer or laptop somewhere.

What many of us overlook, or choose to forget, is that you are only one incident away from losing them.

A computer failure or theft could rob you of all of your valuable digital memories.

If your computer or photo library was suddenly gone, what would you lose?

Pictures of your kids? Of your travels? Or your memories?

Are you prepared if you lost all of them?

How I Lost All My Photos

Yesterday, I wrote about my experience losing my entire photo library. (Read about it here.)

I had over 65GB of pictures spread out over 8 years of digital memories.

Ironically, my loss wasn’t due to something catastrophic, like a computer hardware failure or my laptop being stolen.

It was caused my a simple software upgrade that corrupted my photo library.

In a blink of an eye, all of my photos were inaccessible and gone.

Would happen if your photos were suddenly gone?

“Ironically, our digital memories are easier to backup than physical ones.

Yet, most people do not take the time or minimal effort to protect their virtual valuables.”

Our world has rapidly converted from a physical one to a digital one, however we haven’t made the shift to new habits needed to safeguard those new digital assets.

Ironically, many of these valuables were not at risk when they were physical, tangible items.

It was not likely that someone would break into your home and steal your paper journal, picture albums, or documents from your file cabinets.

But, our virtual valuables are at risk from theft or the simple computer problem. A stolen laptop can contain years of personal valuables and documents.

Just some of the things that your virtual valuables are at risk from:

Hard Drive Failure – Hopefully rare, but it happens.

Software Problem – This is what happened to me.

User Error – Have you (or your kids) ever erased something important?

Theft – Computers and laptops make easy targets for would-be thieves.

What about you? Are you prepared?

How I Got My Memories Back

After I did the iPhoto upgrade, I quickly regretted the update to my library.

The software crashed and corrupted my photo library. I had a 65GB worthless file of my photos.

My memories and photos were gone.

“If only I had a time machine to go back and do it over.”

Luckily, I did. Have a time machine, that is.

I run Apple’s Time Capsule as my home router and backup drive. It uses Apple’s Time Machine software to backup your important files. In fact, mine does incremental updates every hour. (I just looked and it did its last update less than 45 minutes ago.)

With just a few clicks, I was able to bring back photo library from the day before the upgrade.


It had been sometime since I had to utilize my backup system. It worked like a charm. Ironically, I had installed this Time Capsule less than 6 months prior.

“Are you backing up your photos?”

If you are not backing your pictures up on a regular basis, you are leaving them at risk.

Here are the Top Three Ways to Backup Your Photos:

  1. Time Machine/Time Capsule – Apple’s Time Capsule is the best example of “set it and forget it.” If you are running Macs in your home, there is no excuse not to invest in a Time Capsule. Apple’s Time Capsule combines the functionality of their Airport Extreme router and a network backup drive in one device. Get one today.
  2. Online Backup – There are many cloud-based backup services.From Carbonite to Crashplan to Mozy. In addition, to my Time Capsule, I also use Mozy’s online backup. Each of these services are quick to set up, cost a minimal monthly fee, and once running are self-sufficient.
  3. Manually – Once upon a time, the only way to backup your files was manually, using an external hard drive. This is a cost-effective method. You can get a huge external hard drive for $100-200. However, most people do not have the discipline to do their manual backup regularly enough. Unless you have a military-grade schedule, I do not recommend this method. An added note: Do not store your backup drive near your computer. A thief will grab your laptop and anything else electronic nearby…like your backup drive.

Don’t Risk Your Photos

In my situation, I was prepared for the loss of my photo library.

I had a local backup on my Time Capsule drive, and I also had an online backup via Mozy.

With a few clicks, I was able to restore my family’s photo library.

As I mentioned, I had installed it only a few months before the incident. It was worth every penny of reassurance and backup.

Otherwise, my story might not have had a happy ending.

Is your photo library ready in case of disaster?

Would your story have a happy ending?

Has your backup system saved your photos or other important files?

Invest just 10 minutes a day toward the right ideas, behaviors and strategies to finally be more productive at work…so you can spend less time there! 31 Days, 31 Ways: Daily Tips for Time Management Mastery is my time management course, containing 31 powerful daily lessons and 31 actionable exercises designed to help you take action, reduce stress, and reclaim your time. Click here to learn more.

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5 thoughts on “Are Your Photos in Danger of Being Lost?

  1. I had a similar experience, only instead of losing my photos, I lost EVERYTHING. My nearly new Macbook Pro’s Hitachi hard drive crashed four months after I bought it. By a stroke of sheer luck, I had done my first Carbonite back up THE DAY BEFORE. Literally. It was truly unbelievable timing. So although the machine was gone thanks to a hard drive failure, Carbonite saved my bacon and I was able to restore everything easily.

    • @MonicaRicci Whew… glad you were backed up. 🙂

      My Apple Time Capsule saved me. I haven’t had to put Mozy through a true emergency yet. Which is good… 🙂