One of the first things a Digital Photographer discovers is that the proliferation of files created becomes megabytes, then gigabytes and finally terabytes. As we buy new cameras with ever larger megapixels, shoot RAW, and do things like Panoramas and HDR which require multiple exposures, we find our hard drives filling up rather rapidly.
Part of image management for me was the realization early on that external hard drives make good sense. They compartmentalize my data and segregate it from the system drives. I can add to them, store them, back them up and manage my images much as if it were a box of negatives.
Now the backing up portion has always been a bit of a chore. With 250 GB of digital images, it is not always easy to find only those files which need to be backed up. Without mirroring or RAID software, expensive utilities are the usual alternative. Not anymore.
Microsoft has a solution in the guise of their SyncToy.
For someone like me whose work flow is:
1. Copy Image from Card to Onboard Drive: E
2. Import Image via Lightroom to External Drive G:
3. Erase Card
4. Monthly Backup Drive G to Drive K
5. Store Drive K in Fireproof Safe
6. Alternate Drive K every other month.
Copying those files from G to K was always a chore. I had to sort repeatedly through folders for those files which had changed in the last thirty days and duplicate the file structure onto the new drive. Or, if I was really not anxious to use my computer, duplicate the entire drive over 14 hours.
SyncToy allows you to manage entire folders and choose how files are copied. You can also save the recipe for use later. It only took me two minutes to set up a synchronization of my web site to a USB Drive. Formerly the 45,000 plus files had to be deleted and then copied onto the 4GB drive at a 25 minute premium. Now it takes one button click and two minutes to do the operation.
I can tell you now that using SyncToy will make my backing up a breeze and that I will be backing up much, much more often. Give it a spin.
Rikk Flohr © 2008