Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Computer Maintenance

My plans for posting every day in September were sidetracked by the fact that my laptop needed some serious attention.  There are so many photos saved on my hard drive, my computer can barely function in any mode faster than "snail's pace".

As a result, I devoted several hours on Saturday to backing up my computer with an external hard drive. First, I spent an hour starting at 11 a.m. trying to make it work, then another 45 minutes on the phone with customer support when I couldn't.  Most of that call was spent waiting for my wayyyy too slow computer to catch up to the instructions he was giving me.  He was very kind and extremely patient but eventually, he told me the process would be continue to be slow as long as there was so much stuff saved in the computer's memory bogging everything down.

After a break for lunch, I got busy deleting photos.  Over a thousand of them, which took a while to find.  Finally, around 7 p.m., I started the backup program again and left it to run its course.  Which it did, slowly...slowly...slowly! Finally finished backing up my entire system just before 1 a.m.  (No, I'm not kidding!)  Luckily, Legally Blonde was on TV as of 11 p.m. so that helped to keep me awake since I didn't want to leave the program running overnight, in case something went wrong and it stopped!

On Sunday, I started again with a second external drive. This time, I set it up to only back up my photos (and not the system files that seem to comprise about 50% of my storage space) - because really, that's what I want to be sure to save.  Everything I've read online about backing up suggests you should have at least 2 external drives, in case one malfunctions.  The second backup process was quicker, only about five hours, although for the first half hour, I wasn't even sure the machine was working - the tracking bar seemed to have stalled at only 3% completed.  Eventually, it started to move (very slowly) and I knew we were on the right track!

I've also saved a number of photos online, using Google Photos (a free program).  Haven't had time to play with that program too much yet but I like knowing my photos are also safely stored there and that I can access them from all my devices at any time.  It also provides me with a "virtual assistant", who likes to play with my photos and suggest collages and filters, etc. (you can turn off this feature if you don't want it).  Today, my assistant (I'm calling her Madge) showed me this pretty edit of a picture I took in Mexico City last March:

The next step is to actually delete photos from my hard drive and rely on the external drives if I decide I want to see them again. Right now, my computer is definitely moving faster, which is a relief. Some day soon, when I have more time, I'll get back to the process of editing and deleting my vast photo library and possibly even print some. In the meantime, I'll let Madge do all the work! ;)

1 comment:

Frances said...

That's a lot of work. You certainly endured the process. Now that you have a second back up you need to keep one at another location just for safety reasons if the one in your home is destroyed. I have never done this but plan to. Thanks for the push. I bet it feels better to have that completed. I would assume that once you decide to up-date your back up you would want to have the second one with you too and then relocate it again. I know it sounds like a lot of unnecessary work but it probably would be worth it if your photos are important to you.