I’m sure you’re aware that fires and other disasters destroy numerous homes and businesses across the country every year.
The total amount of property damage caused by these catastrophes boggles the mind, but in most cases insurance coverage helps the people affected at least rebuild their homes and businesses so they can move on with their lives.
Unfortunately, many families lose things that are even more precious to them than the structures they live and work in: All of their precious family photos and other irreplaceable documents.
Even the largest insurance check cannot replace photos of loved ones who have passed on or sweet love-letters sent from a beloved grandfather to his young bride from some far-away battlefield.
Once those most treasured items are lost, they are gone forever.
That’s why a box in the attic or your computer’s hard drive should never be used as the only long-term storage vessel for photos and important documents that can never be replaced should something ever to happen to it.
I strongly recommend that you take measures right away to ensure the long-term survival of your family’s precious photos and important documents. Here’s how:
1 – Scan all of the physical printed photos and other irreplaceable documents in your home or office to your computer and then follow the steps listed below.
2 – Make a full backup of your computer’s hard drive. That way you’ll be able to quickly recover if your hard drive ever goes belly up on you. And be sure to make fresh backups at regular intervals.
This post explains how to create a System Image Backup in Windows 7.
If you have a Mac, click here.
Once you have a current backup on hand, store that external hard drive in a fireproof safe or bank safety deposit box.
3 – Copy all of the precious family photos and important documents that currently reside on your computer onto USB flash drives.
Distribute copies of that media to other family members, and if possible be sure to include folks who don’t live in the same house (or better yet, the same city and state).
That way if someone’s house were to burn down there will still be several copies of those files stored in various physical locations.
4 – Upload all of your irreplaceable files to a dependable cloud storage account such as Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud to ensure that an area-wide fire like the one’s that frequently hit California won’t take out all the duplicate backups in one fell swoop.
5 – Upload all the photos from your mobile devices to the cloud as well.
That’s all there is to it. I know it can be time consuming and even a bit costly to take the measures required to truly protect all of your precious photos and documents from permanent loss, but if you ever lose a hard drive (or even your entire home), you’ll be really glad that you did it.
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