So, following #2, the plan is to get a dedicated processing/editing machine and build it to the right spec and operating system for your work.

Now comes a crucial part, one which could be a lifesaver (figuratively speaking).
This post is the genesis for these series of posts and I hope if read only one of them, then this is it.

A friend of mine once said, “There are 2 types of people. People who back up and people who’ve lost everything”
How to stay safe starts with how you set up your PC

A bugbear of mine is that you buy a PC/Laptop and the manufacturer has a pre-installed copy of Windows/Linux/Mac on there that uses the entire disk.
Good right?
Wrong. It’s a bad way to work and I’ll give you an example of how it should be set up and why.

If you go out and buy a massive harddrive (500Gb+) and install your system and off you go then you’re in for a potential fall.
If you only have 1 hard drive (as in a laptop) then you need to partition it into at least 2 sections.

C drive – Operating System (OS) and program partition
D drive – Important/Work Data

Depending on the OS you use determines the size of the C partition you need. For example:
Windows 2000 – 10Gb max,
XP – 20Gb max,
Vista – 40Gb max,
Windows 7 – 40Gb max

The above will be more than enough to hold your OS and editing programs and that’s all it should have.
If you have 2 discs in your machine, then Keep the C partition the same sizes as above and use the remaining space as scratch space for programs or a temporary area for unimportant things that don’t matter if they’re lost.
Use the entire 2nd disk for your important data only.

Now you have your system installed on the C drive, install all patches and updates as required and install programs so it’s ready for use.
But before you start you should use a tool to ‘snapshot’ your system. Norton have a program called Ghost which works extremely well at this and only costs approx £40. I only use the ‘recovery disk’ which provides the snapshot of the C partition and don’t bother with the rest of the Ghost application.

So why do this?
Imagine you get a hard drive failure or a virus or some corruption that trashes your system.
What are you going to do?
If the system is lost or corrupt then you need to re-install the whole thing which can take a day+ depending how many applications you have and then to reset it to the way you like as well as recovering files for applications etc.
With Ghost, you can have your system back up and running within 15 minutes.

The one proviso is that you do a Ghost of the C partition regularly (I do mine on the 1st of the month) and you only need keep the last 3 months available.
Now you know why it’s pointless having your system as 1 big drive as you’d end up having to ghost everything every time, not just the core of your system.

The D data partition should have it’s own backup schedule which will be more frequent and should be replicated at least weekly to an external source. I replicate my data every time I add images to my library and for ‘critical’ work or finalised images I also store it externally (webspace, DVD storage etc.) to ensure recoverability.

I’ve had to do recover my system a few times and files a couple of times and this simple practise has saved me a huuuuge amounts of time and stress by just having a snapshot of the system to hand and recent copies of my important data.

Ironically I attended a workshop recently and the photographer was waxing lyrical about how film was for forever and digital images can be lost with a hard drive crash.
I didn’t interrupt him but inside all I could think was that if he had a fire in his studio then he’d lose all his transparencies forever.
Now you’re armed with the information above, your know that your system is much more safe and your critical files are recoverable.
With film there’s only 1 transparency, but digital can easily be replicated (thankfully) and this should be part of our workflow.

One more tk…..

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