RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Now that hurricane season has begun, consumer advocates are warning you to back up your digital files so that priceless memories aren't swept away with the storm.
Paul Reynolds at Consumer Reports says there are just too many options these days and few excuses for not backing up your digital data.
"Well, I think the first thing to do is make sure it's on something else other than the primary device it's on, mostly your computer," Reynolds said.
Keepsake photos and videos should be transferred to a CD, DVD, or external hard drive. Then, Reynolds says, remove it from the premises.
An external drive can't help you if it's destroyed alongside your computer, so take the backup to your office or a relative's house.
Reynolds says another option is to back up your data online.
"Think about an online backup. Taking your information up to ‘the cloud,' up to a server of a service that will store it for you," Reynolds said.
Cloud servers are gaining in popularity because data can be accessed through a variety of devices and not just a home computer. And, backing up your files online doesn't have to cost you a penny.
Microsoft's "Windows Live Skydrive" is a free service for PC and Macintosh users. You can store up to 25 gigabytes of data, but the catch is – every file must be less than 50 megabytes in size.
Another free option is Amazon.com's "Cloud Drive." You get five gigabytes of storage, which is enough to store at least 1,000 high-resolution photos. For an additional fee, you can also upgrade your storage to as much as 1,000 gigabytes.
Whichever method you choose, Reynolds says back up your data now.
"You don't have a backup of that data, of those memories, of those photos, you're going to lose a lot," Reynolds said. "You're going to lose a big chunk of your life now."
For more on the Windows Live Skydrive, visit: http://explore.live.com/windows-live-skydrive
For more on the Amazon.com Cloud Drive, visit: https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/learnmore
Copyright 2011 WWBT nbc12. All rights reserved.