You read horror stories online but always think they can never happen to you. You are more careful and surely the victims must have made some silly mistake you never make.
More specifically, there is no way you can lose gigabytes of photos all of a sudden.
This actually happened to me, and I thought it could never happen.
I’m always on the safe side, backing up all my photos at any given time, even more than once. I even bring a photo backup drive from London to my house in Florence every time I travel back. And when I go on holiday, I always save my photos to a wireless external drive and to my laptop.
I’m sure some photographers take even more precautions, but I thought this was fairly reasonable and better than most.
And so one day I opened Lightroom to review a bunch of photos (I do that before backing up to avoid wasting space with rejected shots) and it was taking quite a while to start. Eventually I couldn’t keep waiting any longer so I forcefully quit it. But when I reopened it, all the photos were gone. I mean: they were not physically in my hard drive anymore. And I had successfully transferred them to my computer 2-3 days before so they were not in the SD card either.
I was frankly in disbelief, because all that happened was a software crash, which I suppose is quite common. And yet an entire folder of photos had vanished, just like that.
There are ways to try to recover deleted files, like a command line tool I used in the past called PhotoRec. But the problems I have with it are that it hasn’t been updated since 2015 and also the files are renamed and mixed in different folders (if more than 10Gb recovered – consider it recovers ALL files ever deleted from the drive).
So I would keep PhotoRec as a desperate last resort.
Luckily, I do have another backup solution in place: Backblaze.
Now, I don’t work for Backblaze and this post is not sponsored in any way. The software just happened to have saved me, recovering my photos from this disaster, and I’m genuinely thankful.
I’m using the software, and I’ll have an affiliate link to an offer later, but all this post serves is to say thanks to the developers.
What is it?
Backblaze is a cloud-based backup solution that works continuously in the background to save your files. I use it mainly as a photo backup system, but it can handle any file. It is a subscription service, and the Personal Unlimited plan I have costs only $6/month. Which I think is nothing, compared to losing all your files.
It’s a bit like an insurance: you don’t believe it’s worth the expense until you really need it. And I needed it (same as my camera insurance, but that’s another story).
Like any modern application, it supports 2-Factor Authentication, so nobody else can access your files in the cloud.
And if you’re unable to download the files you want to recover, they offer to send you a hard drive (which is a free service if you return the drive within 30 days).
And you might have months for free thanks to affiliate links, like the one I’ll post below.
Again, it’s not just a photo backup system.
So, as I was saying, luckily I had the Backblaze subscription in place. All I had to do was log in to my account and navigate to a previous state of my drive. One created before the crash.
All my photos were there, saved in the Backblaze cloud. I clicked the button to download them, and they all returned to my hard drive 🙂 The speed varies according to bandwidth and preferences, but in the end all files were restored. Phew!
Now, Backblaze doesn’t do miracles: if you lose your photos while transferring from your card to a folder monitored by the app, Backblaze would not have yet had time to upload your photos in the cloud. So those will be lost. Hence, copy the photos first, don’t move them straight away.
The time it takes for a full backup depends on your upload bandwidth. But once your files are uploaded, you are completely safe.
Do you think this might be helpful to you as it was to me? Keep reading…
Here’s my affiliate link: https://secure.backblaze.com/r/013ktp
With this link, you can register and try the software for free for a month. If you don’t like it or doesn’t help you, you uninstall it and that’s it. But if you like it and decide to subscribe, then I get a month free too.
There’s no catch and I don’t get rich only by having you click a link 🙂 But if you appreciate this, you can thank me with a free month of usage. Cheers.
And have a photo backup plan. Of any kind.