Forum Question: Image Storage Strategy

I’m trying to put together a strategy for how I want to store my images, but I’m not sure how to do this. I have a MacBook Pro with a 500GB hard drive. I am going to purchase an external hard drive, probably also 500GB. I have about 200GB of images right now. So I’m thinking I just put everything on my Mac and have the external hard drive back everything up.
The confusion starts to kick in when I consider the time when I will surpass the 500GB limit. Should I just bye another external hard drive and then start storing images there? How do I backup these images that are no longer on my Mac?
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Tom Abbott

Comments: 5 Responses to “Image Storage Strategy”

    1/16/12 @ 10:14 pm

    First, why buy a 500GB drive when a 1TB one isn’t much more? Especially if you are worried about running out of space. Go for the 1TB.
    Now you have to consider two things:
    1. Where to store your images.
    2. Where to back up your images.
    I would consider having a backup to be the most important thing, no matter what you do.
    Are you using Time Machine? If not, then you should start right away, especially if you already have 200GB of photos. Be such a shame to lose those in the blink of an eye with a hard drive failure.
    How long did it take you to get 200GB of photos? If you are like me, and take a decent amount of photos, it would still take a while.
    For now, I would simply get a 1TB (or even 2TB) drive for backups. Start backing up using Time Machine. Then leave your 200GB of photos as they are on your Mac.
    Then a couple of years from now, when you are ready for you next Mac, get one with a larger drive. A lot of people buy Macs and don’t think about the hard drive space and that is OK — but they don’t have 200GB of photos. You are a good candidate for someone that should be buying a larger internal drive.
    If you max out your drive before you get to buy a new Mac, then maybe consider getting a new internal drive. And go to a shop that will install it for you, transferring all of your data to the new larger drive. It will cost a bit more, but better in the long run than dealing with three drives for a long period of time.

      Tom Abbott
      1/17/12 @ 6:43 am

      Thanks for the advice. I guess the way Time Machine handles the external drive has me a bit confused. I currently have a 500GB external drive that I use for my work laptop. I thought I would also use it for my Mac, but when I plugged it in Time Machine wanted to take over the whole drive so I abandoned that idea.

      If I buy a bigger external drive it makes sense that this can still work as long as later on I buy a Mac that has a bigger internal drive.

      I’m glad you understood my question. After I submitted it I thought that I didn’t quite explain things well enough, but you were able to pick up on what I was getting at. Thank you.

        1/17/12 @ 7:40 am

        So if you are not using Time Machine, and you plug in a new external drive for the first time, you do get asked “would you like to use this drive for backups?” or some such.
        But don’t read too much into that. It was just asking. If that isn’t to be your Time Machine backup drive, just say no and you’re fine.
        I don’t think it will ask again. In that case, you just need to get your larger drive, hook it to your Mac. Then go to System Preferences, Time Machine and you can start your backups from there.

          Tom Abbott
          1/17/12 @ 8:30 pm

          Update: the reason my Mac wants to take over the external hard drive is because the file system is NTFS which is not compatible with Mac.

            1/17/12 @ 9:13 pm

            Ah, so it looked at the drive as “unformatted” and that’s why it asked. OK. You can make a drive that works for both Mac and Windows if you format it FAT32.

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