Backing Up Embroidery, Weaving and Other Craft Files!
Updated: Sep 3
Waaahhhh!!!! My files were (on my computer, external drive, thumb drive) and now they are GONE!!! What do I do???
Craft loving folks!, I want you to know that the we have been monitoring all sorts of social media and read about unfortunate data loss. We’re here to provide you some information about this topic Before we start, let’s outline the potential consequences of lost data:
Financial loss – yes, these things are $1-$20 and it sounds small. But add it all up and it’s quite a chunk of change.
Time lost – IF the files could be retrieved online, you wouldn’t believe the amount of work to redownload and re-sort them back the way they were.
Emotional Distress – What do you think would happen if you had to go frantically looking for files, realizing that some of the stores were GONE, off the face of the earth, then INSISTED on finding stuff that was “the same” as the stuff that was lost. Be real…even if it “looks the same” it may not be the right color, the right shape, the right size, the right “cuteness” (how do you measure “cuteness”?)
To avoid all of this agony, we decided that we will use a multiple storage method that will minimize the risk of massive data loss.
Let’s talk about storage methods/devices:
USB Drives/Thumb Drives – these are very convenient small devices that can hold an amazing amount of data in a small package. They seem perfect and they are – for TEMPORARY storage!!! These devices are not designed for long term storage. Due to their size and price, they are easy to lose, easy to damage devices. Plus, they can actually have a maximum number of read/write cycles, after which, it may not be reliable anymore. Some ladies say “Oh, I use mine for permanent storage and everything is JUST FINE!” – this is due to luck, not the design of the devices. Eventually, your luck may run out and if you don’t lose or damage the device, something else unpleasant may occur. Use these convenient devices for temporary storage.
External Hard Drives – These are portable but small devices, many not much larger than a large cell phone that can hold a WHOLE BUNCH of data. Think about it…that’s a WHOLE lot to lose! We’ve heard of ladies who take their external hard drives EVERYWHERE – in the car, to the library, to the baseball games etc. External hard drives really aren’t built for this, particularly if you’re USING the drive while you’re moving the drive (ie you’re carrying your laptop AND saving to the drive at the same time). External hard drives are delicate mechanical devices. If they are shaken at the wrong times…ouch! The difference between the Thumb Drive and External hard drive? The volume of data lost. You can lose a terabyte of data in one fall. (ok, there are other technical differences but the volume of loss is enough for this article)
Internal Hard Drives in a Laptop – These drives are actually not much safer than External hard drives. Now, if you’re using your laptop on a table and not trying to move the laptop while it’s reading/writing files, then it’s probably ok. But who doesn’t move a laptop? Who doesn’t carry an operating laptop? Laptop hard drives die. Never experienced it? That means you’re either VERY lucky or you don’t move your laptop much.
Internal Hard drives in a stationary computer – These drives are not infallible! Solid State drives would be the safest, but are very expensive and not infallible. Internal hard drives in a stationary computer tend to last longer because the computer isn’t moved as often and you really should be turning off the computer before you move it.
Cloud Backup – Cloud backup sounds perfect. It’s not that expensive and your data is “everywhere”. Plus, it’s replicated so a single hardware failure won’t cause loss of data. The issues with cloud backup are: if you don’t have a local copy, you can’t have your data if you lose your internet connection; if you lose your local copy, getting a significant amount of data from the cloud can take awhile or you may need to pay for an external hard drive to be sent to you; if you don’t have a strong internet connection, backing up data and retrieving data may be painful.
So, you may be asking “Bobbin, none of these options sound good…what should I do???” Be patient, grasshopper, I’m getting there!
To protect your data, you must have a multifaceted approach – in other words, multiple copies of your data! Now, we honestly tried to backup their stuff on CD-R and DVD-R. The issue was that they either forgot to do it, or thought “I’ll just wait one more week because I know I’m buying more stuff next week” or??? They just didn’t do it! So we had to come up with something they would actually do consistently!
Here’s Our Backup Plan:
Download the ZIP files to our “Purchased Item” folder. Within that folder, we have folders for Embroidery Designs and Scrapbooking stuff. Within those folders, we have a folder for each designer and there is where we save the zip files for each collection. Let’s say that this folder is on Drive 1
Unzip the zip files to our Embroidery folder or Scrapbooking folder on Drive 2. It is on Drive 2 where we delete any unwanted formats and things we know we will never use. If we need them later, we still have the original zip files.
Use cloud backup for Drive 1 and Drive 2. We had to use cloud backup – it’s the only backup that we do consistently because, well, we don’t “do” it! It’s automatic! And boy, I found a great bargain that allows all of their massive collection of files to be backed up. This is one of those moments when I say “go for it, backup whatever you want!” I love those kinds of deals.
Now if you think “man, that sounds like 4 copies”. Yup…you got it. Nothing but the best for our stuff. And I never have to suffer the wrath of lost data.