Preserve Digital Images

Author : Michelle Albright

Welcome back and Happy New Year.  I’d love to see a post about the importance of printing and backing up digital images.  So many people think their images are perfectly safe on their computers until a crash or virus occurs.  Also, the importance and difference between a silver and gold cd.  I explain to my customers it’s like the difference between silver and gold jewelry; but I’d love to direct them to your more technical explanation.  Love your blog … thanks for sharing.  Michelle (CMC in MD)

Storing images on a single computer is essentially the same as not preserving them at all, and yet a surprising number of people do exactly that. Hard disks contain moving parts, which will fail over time. In fact, the the average lifetime of a hard disk is about five years. If a hard disk fails, the cost of recovering files is significant (hundreds to thousands of dollars), if in fact they can be recovered.

Backups, either to a second computer or to an external hard disk, are a better option. The problem here is the same factors, such as power spikes or viruses,  that cause the first drive to fail, may also cause problems with the second drive. In addition, the backup drive may simply replicate problems before you realize that the files on the first drive have problems.  

The best backups are to optical discs, which cannot be changed after they are written. I recommend gold discs because these discs resist oxidation that may affect other discs on the market. The difference is similar to the difference between gold jewelry, which remains brilliant, and sterling silver, which tarnishes over time. More information of these discs is available at


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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