BLOG 06 - COMPUTERS AND THE DIGITAL AGE

BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP

My early computer set-up, I now have double screens

It is Sunday evening during the first weekend in October 2018 and I switch my PC on to do some more processing etc. What welcomes me is a blank screen with the spinning wheel but no Windows 10 login. Bugger! After a week of trials and trying various possible fixes it was confirmed that my hard drive had become corrupted. Fortunately, my latest back-up was in September, but I also have a very helpful friend who managed to recover all my data and setup the new SSD and HDD drives on the PC.

As you can image when the hard drive fails to boot you panic and think of the worst case scenario i.e. you have lost all your data. Data is ‘king’ and is so much more important than actual hardware and operating systems. Whilst I was lucky, my data was recovered and I did have a backup, this was still potentially a month old and wouldn’t have included all my files. With some of my images being on film, all I would have potentially lost would have been scans, which I could undertake again but this would be very time consuming. Some of the more recent digital RAW files were still on the SD cards so also wouldn't have been lost.

My lesson learnt is to back-up more frequently onto multiple drives.

So with my computer working again I then had to spend the next two evenings re-installing the many software packages. This takes time but I did manage to find nearly all of the license keys so was a success. However, the photo software and plug-ins I use was not as straight forward thanks to Adobe and Topaz. The latest Photoshop CC 2019 version seems to restrict the addition of plug-in software as it will only accept Topaz B&W and not clarity or detail. This is not the first time I have had issues with plug-in software following upgrades, is the motives of these companies to make life difficult for us users (when in actual fact we are customers).

The solution at the moment appears to be to use Topaz Studio (free download) where the plug-ins are integrated but I am now having to learn my way around Topaz Studio. TS appears to be an interesting package and will probably do what I need in conjunction with Lightroom.

On a positive, all my Lightroom catalogue reloaded and found all the files and editing history. Not bad considering all the files were moved to a new drive and there are 10 catalogues in total.

I also made the mistake of looking at comparisons of other software packages on the internet which has opened up possibilities of Capture One and ON1 Raw etc. There appears to be a lot more software options available now and more competition for Photoshop. I am sure there are goods/bads with all these software packages and there is no single perfect solution. For me, I try to do the minimum amount of processing especially for film scans.

Anyway, fingers crossed my computer behaves itself now and the SSD operating system is a lot quicker. Remember, back up your data frequently and in multiple locations. Sounds simple but do it.

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