On occasion I receive an email filled with tears and desperation that reads like this:
HELP! my hard drive crashed and I lost all my files.
HELP! I got a new computer and I don’t have my files.
HELP! I accidentally deleted the folder with all of my files.
HELP! HELP! HELP!
Breaks my heart!
I do my best to help those in need by digging through my records and trying to figure out which files they purchased from our site.
(If you make your purchase as a guest without logging in…. ummmm…. I don’t have a record of your stuff. That makes things a little difficult when it comes to figuring out what you have purchased. Not impossible, but time consuming.)
The best thing for all of us – and yes, I am guilty of not backing up as often as I should – is to back up your files on a regular basis.
There are several options for backing things up and in case you don’t know what to do… I’m going to tell you some of the tools I use.
My number one most favorite off-site storage is Dropbox. It’s free for up to 2gb of space, which isn’t nearly enough but better than nothing.
I like Dropbox because it is easy. You can drag and drop your files to your Dropbox folder and if you have a smart phone, a tablet or more than one computer you can install the app and have access to your files on all of your devices.
You can download DropBox right here if you want to give it a spin. If you click on that link to sign up, I’ll get a little more space for my own use and you will have my eternal gratitude. Then you can share a link and talk your friends into signing up and you’ll get more space too. Yay! again.
For backing up your precious vector files, after you’ve downloaded the files and extracted what you need from the zipped folder, move the zipped folder to your DropBox folder and tada! you’ve got a backup.
If you have a ginormous number of files like I do, you may find it’s worth the expense to purchase more space.
If you have a Gmail account, you have access to Google Drive. That means about 15GB of free storage for your photos and files and all manner of stuff.
It’s accessible between devices much like DropBox, though I don’t find it to be quite as convenient. I use Google Drive to store old client files and layouts that I don’t use anymore but I don’t want to delete them. (You know as soon as you delete a file somebody is going to want it again.)
FLASH DRIVES or THUMB DRIVES
A cheap and mostly dependable method that’s better than nothing. I used to carry any number of thumb drives with me all the time. With all the cloud storage that’s available now, I don’t use them as much but they are still a cheap and convenient way to back stuff up.
Flickr is primarily a photo storage site, but you can also upload graphic images – jpg and png as well as videos. Sorry, vector images won’t upload.
It’s free and you get a whole bunch of storage space – a terabyte – and that’s a whole bunch. It’s also accessible on any device that can access the internet.
If privacy is an issue you can select NOT to make your images public.
External Hard Drive
These suckers used to be really expensive. Now they are very reasonably priced. You can purchase an external hard drive with up to a terabyte of space for less that $100. It plugs into your USB outlet and you can copy your files over while you’re drinking your coffee and stalking your friends on Facebook.
I use one of these devices to back up all of my sign making files and all of the graphics that I have purchased over the years, fonts and anything else that would make me sad if I were to suddenly lose them.
There are dozens of other options for making sure that you don’t lose your valuable and non-replaceable files. Some will automatically backup your entire hard drive for you. These that I’ve listed here are a just few that are quick, inexpensive or free and easy to use.
Happy backing up!