What I Learned from My Computer Crash

Computer CrashRight after Christmas, I was curled up in bed with my laptop fixing the Features page on my blog.  Then BAM!  My computer got smacked with a virus* and became immediately unusable.  It was very scary as I tried to figure out what I was going to lose and how to fix it.

What was surprising was that I hardly lost anything.  Some of my organizational quirks paid off and I am so very thankful.

Lessons Learned About Storing Photos

Aside from the general annoyance of spending half the day restoring my computer to its original factory settings and then reinstalling a bunch of software, it was actually pretty painless in the grand scheme of things.

Back. Up. Your. Photos.  I can’t stress this enough.  Around the middle of November, I had made a copy of my entire photo library and put it on my external hard drive.  That meant I only had to worry about photos I took from then through December.  They were still on my memory card.  No, I don’t let photos rot on my memory card.  I actually sort them into folders as soon as possible.  BUT (this is a big but), I leave the original photos on the memory card until I back up my photo library on my external hard drive.

It turns out the only photos I lost were from an event in November and a Christmas party in December where I swiped friends’ memory cards and copied some of their pictures to my computer.  I really liked those pictures and I’ll be able to get them again.  If I had tagged any December photos in my library, I lost those tags and will have to redo them.

Lessons?  I think I’m going to back up my photo collection at least once a month instead of once every quarter or so.  If I have a big event that has very important pictures, I’ll back it up as soon as possible.

What About Files and Documents?   I actually store quite a few documents in the cloud (like all of my recipe cards) and they were saved.  I’ll share my strategies about that in a few weeks.  I lost a couple wedding scrapbook sketches, but I had already finished those layouts.  I lost a few flourish designs I made for the Silhouette, but I can redo those.

Want more information?  Review my posts from last year about photo organization:

  1. Organizing Non-Digital Prints
  2. Organizing Photos as You Take Them
  3. Taking Control of Your Hard Drive
  4. Advanced Organization Techniques
  5. Organizing Cell Phone Pictures

I still get the shakes if I think about what would have happened if my photos weren’t backed up.

*Yup, I’m aware that a virus is not the same thing as my hard drive crashing.  I’m just being dramatic.

4 thoughts on “What I Learned from My Computer Crash

  1. Thank you for this reminder. I’m going to back up my computer again today!

    P.S. I also leave my photos on my memory card even after I’ve loaded them onto my computer. Usually I don’t delete them until the memory card fills up! As an extra layer of protection, I also upload important photos to albums in Shutterfly. It isn’t a great way to get the files back if I was to lose the originals, but at least I could still print them.

    • This is extra important for you now that you have a baby! Good point re Snapfish. I used to do that but got out of the habit. I’m exploring having Picasa sync my albums in the cloud as extra protection.

  2. Oh, what a nightmare! So glad it wasn’t worse but virus or crash, it’s still horrible. So glad that you didn’t lose much. This is always a good reminder. I don’t back up as much as I should. And my EHD started making a funny noise the other day so now I feel like I need a back up for my back up. Whatever it takes!

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