Category Archives: Guest Posts 2013 – 2014

How to protect your prized photo files — GUEST POST FROM THE MANCAVE

****Today we have a visitor on the blog! D from The Mancave Files has dropped in to tell us about protecting our photos!!!
Awesome. I know we all have a ton of those so without further delay…..
Herrrrrre’ssssss D****

I remember when I was a younger man, taking a photography class.   I had used my dad’s Pentax 35 millimeter camera and trusty Kodak film.  I’d take pictures and send the film off to be developed.  Several days later I would go pick up my pictures.  In the envelope would be the 4×5 prints and the negatives for the picture.  It was then that I found out  if I “got” the shot.   The upside to this was I had the negatives for the pictures and could reprint the photos whenever I pleased.

Fast forward years (decades really) and the digital camera has all but replaced the film camera.   The upside to digital photography is the ability to see the photo you just took, immediately.  The bad side is the need to save and maintain the raw picture files.  These files are large and there are many of them.

My fascination with photography ebbed, but my wife is an avid photographer.  As it turns out, my career is in the computer field, so my wife’s computer and its files are my responsibility.  I continued to be concerned as initially, she was having to manually backup the files to an external device.   I much prefer to have the computer “remember” to backup the files.   This is what I setup for her.

First, it is critical to backup your precious files to an external device.  I prefer external hard drives.  With an external hard drive, you can connect it to another computer if needed and retrieve your files.  When shopping for external hard drives, there are a bunch of featured listed for one.  The most important to performance is the interface.  Choices are: Firewire, ESATA, USB2 and USB3.   Firewire ports on computers are not very common so I don’t even consider this interface.   Same goes for ESATA.   USB2 is like water, it’s everywhere but its slow.  USB3 is the ticket.  Most newer computer have a USB3.  If your computer doesn’t, you can buy an add-in card cheap.  Believe me, the difference in speed between USB2 and USB3 is amazing, and with hundreds of gigabytes of files to backup, you want that speed.

The next issue to address is one of which files to backup.  If you backup all the files every time, you will not ever be able to have a large enough external drive to hold them.  What you need is something that can run and backup only files that are new or have been changed.  It is way too easy to forget you changed a picture and it doesn’t get backed up.   I am cheap when it comes to computer software.  I like free.   Microsoft has some free software called SyncToy.  It can do lots of things, but what we are interested in is its ability to sync new or changed files from one drive to another.   This is what I setup on my wife’s computer to backup her files from the internal hard drives to the external hard drive.  A bonus with the SyncToy software is that it will allow you to schedule when it runs.

The last and most important issue is how to retrieve files from the backup.  Other backup software requires you to use special software to “retrieve” the file.  In SyncToy, you just use you windows explorer to navigate to the external hard drive and copy the file to the internal hard drive.  That’s it.  No magic required.

Next time I will walk you through (with screen shots) setting up the SyncToy software, until then keep snapping those


let each new year find you a better man

“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”
~ Benjamin Franklin

January Sunrise

January Sunrise