Dec 13, 07:25 PM

Don’t let data loss ruin your holidays.

Forty years ago, beaming mothers queued up at local drug or department stores to have their children, dressed in their finest clothing, photographed on Santa Claus’ knee, a memory forever captured on glossy paper and displayed once a year on the coffee table or mantle. Sons in black bow ties and daughters in red velvet dresses were often the norm. Today, while these precious moments may still be captured at local shopping malls, these same children are now choosing the e-photograph option or taking photographs of their children or grandchildren with their own digital cameras.

The family time capsule is no longer a cedar chest filled with family photographs of holidays past and letters from deceased relatives buried in the backyard and forgotten. Today,, the family time capsule might be a folder on a PC in your den with fragile electronic images saved on a hard drive and labeled Thanksgiving_2004, Hannukah_2005, or Christmas_2006.

The popularity of the digital camera has provided gift givers new ideas for the amateur photographer in the family to capture and share precious moments in the lives of family, friends or their own. However, coupled with the software tools available on the market today used to manipulate these virtual memories, the digital camera can present pitfalls to which film could never fall prey.

In today’s data-dependent society, more and more individuals now opt to email an annual holiday greeting which includes a digital photograph or collection of photographs of the kids or the vacation taken in Disney World during the Spring break rather than the more expensive option of mailing a holiday greeting card with photos that end up on a refrigerator door, in a shoebox or tossed out with the cards on New Year’s Day when the holiday decorations are packed away for yet another year. Photographs may have been saved to the computer or uploaded to a portal for others to view. But sometimes the unthinkable occurs: You cannot access either the photographs on your camera or the images downloaded to your personal or laptop computer. To make matters worse, the photos are already deleted from the flash card or memory stick!

And what about the photographs taken when the family is gathered for the holidays or you’re celebrating the baby’s first Hannukah or Christmas? When these precious photos or moments of a child’s life are lost, a thousand words can’t provide consolation or compensation for the sense of loss or urgency one experiences. To the proud parent or gloating grandparent, these photos are priceless. To a data recovery professional they are bits of data.

A digital photograph, like a spreadsheet, financial record, e-mail message, customer correspondence or other business document, is simply bits and bytes of data, ones and zeros organized on the memory card of your digital camera or your computer’s hard drive. When access to electronic images or data on a memory card is denied, this could be the result of an electronic or mechanical failure. Your flash card or memory stick could be faulty, the firmware has malfunctioned, or the configuration card adapter interface is corrupted. When the photographs are stored on your computer and have gone missing, your hard drive could be defective, the operating system infected or damaged by a virus, or your files deleted accidentally by human error.

Whether you are a professional photographer or a weekend hobbyist, no one is immune from data loss. There are several best practices that every professional or amateur digital camera user can follow to reduce the probability of losing your data and possibly your means of income:

  • Familiarize yourself with how your camera operates. Read the owner’s manual especially if you receive a new one this holiday season.
  • Do not change your viewing mode until your camera has processed and saved the image.
  • Do not eject your camera’s memory card while downloading photographs. Wait until your computer has successfully saved the images before you eject the card.
  • Once the memory card is no longer processing the images, properly eject the memory card from the card reader and safely disconnect the reader from your computer.
  • Do not store all images on one memory card. If you’re traveling across the country this holiday season, pack extra memory cards in your accessory bag.
  • Download your photographs as soon as possible.

If you have already downloaded your photographs or those of your clients on to your personal computer or laptop,

  • Regularly backup your data and test the backup.
  • Update frequently the back-up media which stores your precious photographs and memories and, if possible, store your backups offsite.
  • Stay current with the latest developments in storage media so you’re not caught with obsolete media.
  • Maintain your computer in a dry, controlled environment free from dust and smoke.
  • Use anti-virus software and update it frequently to scan and screen all incoming data.
  • Turn off your computer if it or the hard drive makes any unusual noise.
  • Use power surge protectors in the event you experience a power outage.
  • If you’re traveling during the holiday season and have loaded photographs to your laptop, make sure you protect your laptop in a secure, padded bag. Better yet, put them on a USB drive or CD that you can pack in your luggage or carry-on.

Deal with a data recovery organization where employees are empathetic to your needs. The emotions captured and conveyed in your photographs cannot be replicated. However, digital memories can be recovered and the emotions you feel when you receive the telephone call advising your photographs have been recovered are priceless.

Yes, Virginia, the trusted professional data recovery specialists at CBL can rescue your photos, so don’t fear the worst! Call CBL.

Category: helpful hints, data loss prevention

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