How to avoid losing digital photos

Move digital pictures to other software for preservation

We probably take more pictures now than we ever have before, thanks to a camera in every cellphone.

It’s made photography a new hobby for many, but danger lurks if you don’t take an extra step.

Kristi Rogers knows this all too well. She is a self-proclaimed shutterbug, and the walls of her home are covered with pictures. But the photos she wants to see the most, she can’t.

“This hard drive has my daughter’s make-a-wish trip on it,” says Rogers. “It has pictures of my mother-in-law and father-in-law that have passed.”

Fifty-four gigs of photos, five years of her life, are locked away in a crashed hard drive. It is frustrating, to say the least.

“I can’t get to them, and I can’t look at them,” she says.

Sadly, Rogers is not alone. A recent study by Harris Interactive found nearly 30 percent of computer users have never backed up their data.

“You just have to do it,” says IT specialist Don Benson.

He says photos need to be backed up on a regular basis daily, weekly, or monthly, and there is no substitution for what he calls cloud services or photo hosting sites. 

“Getting it up in the cloud, what you’re really doing is you’re giving the responsibility to a third party,” says Benson. “You’re saying OK Microsoft, Apple, or Google, you worry about doing all the backups because I’ve given you my data, and so they handle it.”

But maybe the best and safest option is to simply hit print.  You can print on your home computer, or go online to a retailer's site, upload the pictures, then pick them up in person or have them mailed to you.

Rogers has always known the value of a photo, but it took losing them to learn the value of backing them up.

“Life is valuable, and sometimes all you end up with is a picture,” she says.

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