As a computer engineer, I have been sat in peoples living rooms for more than 30 years repairing, rebooting, and reinstalling their personal computers. Each time with an ever-increasing amount of personal data – obviously photos, documents, illegal songs, etc., and every client instructs me to take care of their photos. I have tried to educate user’s on how to take ownership of their data – categorize images and rename them appropriately. Actually, that’s not true because I’ve only really said it in my head, but from an engineer’s perspective I can tell you that a computer stores data like a teenager… it’s everywhere! It’s in various orders, a catalog of file extensions and also, some selfish applications like to keep images and documents within their own program directories or local user folders.
So whilst moving someones data from one harddrive to another, you realise how much data really is unneccessary – especially on a clean, fresh o/s install.
Reduce Cloud Data
Photos and Home videos are very private and I have always advised people to take ownership of their private data and keep these on local storage – backup onto USB, print as photo albums, or burn onto DVD.
Cloud backup is obviously safe, encrypted, and very easy to use – it’s just the same as a USB drive – you can copy files on and off very quickly but anything stored there is obviously not completely under your control. Common sense will tell you that accounts can get hacked, wars break out, communication lines get cut and Privacy Laws are passed, all whilst your data sits in a folder on someone else’s hard drive, in a different country.
Backups to the Cloud sometimes involve just grabbing folders and uploading them to the cloud.. so there’s a good chance that most of those Gb’s of data could be fairly unnecessary. Imagine a server farm, humming and buzzing away, and suppose that 70% of that data is either old college work, half typed documents, redundant cookies, several versions of the same photo, and ‘run once’ downloaded zips.
When considering your own personal ‘environmental footprint’, take a look at how much data you store online and how much of that do you actually need. Please do not make the common mistake of using your favorite social media platform as your only storage for old family photos and videos.
We need to take ownership of our data. Use the file explorer, create folders and rename your files. Sorting old documents into appropriate folders is great housekeeping and very therapeutic. I find nearly everyone is actually causing themselves unnecessary stress because they really don’t know what is in their own data – so have a look, go through it, and sort it into some order – and then back it up externally ( or cloud, whatever ). This relieves any worry and more importantly, strengthens your confidence in your own computer skills.
In conclusion, this article is not intended to stop anyone from using cloud storage, just to be mindful about how much data you really need to store onto someone else’s hard drive., and please consider keeping all your old family videos and photos at home – use an encrypted external USB hard drive, DVD or print them into albums.