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Flash Memory Safety Tips for Digital Photographers

Digital photography offers a fast and convenient way for photographers to accomplish their work. However, with convenience comes the extra task of managing camera cards and unlimited numbers of digital images. Add to the list, the very real possibility of a hard drive crash or physically damaged camera card and data recovery becomes a priority.

We’ve assembled the following list of tips to help prevent potential data loss and handle flash memory cards properly:

  • The first rule of thumb for protecting your digital photos (or any important data) is to back it up! That may seem obvious, but here at DriveSavers, we see hundreds of drives, flash memory cards and other storage media every month that have failed mechanically or been physically damaged.
  • Always transfer photos from your camera’s memory card to your computer’s hard drive as soon as you can. Note that some image management programs installed on your computer allow you to delete photos from the memory card as soon as transfer is complete. We do not recommend deleting images or reformatting memory cards, until all files on the computer’s hard drive are opened and tested.
  • Backup your new photos immediately! This will guard against data loss when your hard drive crashes unexpectedly. Backup your data using CDs, DVDs, an external hard drive or online backup service.
  • It best to make more than one copy of your backup media and keep a duplicate offsite in a secure location, perhaps in a fire safe or bank safety deposit box.
  • When traveling, always carry a spare external hard drive, blank CDs, DVDs, or other media to use for backup. Most importantly, when you return home from your trip, don’t forget to back up your laptop. You can’t back up too often!
  • It is a good idea to replace your flash memory cards occasionally. In most cases, typical flash memory cards can endure about 10,000 to 1,000,000 erase cycles.
  • Never carry unprotected flash memory cards in your pocket! Simple static buildup in your clothing can zap the card and make it unreadable. There are other dangers as well such as breaking a card in your pants pocket as you sit down, or putting the card along with your clothing through the wash—literally.

If you have any other helpful tips, we’d love to hear them in the comments!

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