Learn More – Backing up your valuable images to CD media

Historical Posting – Originally published in 2008 – Since this is an archived story – products mentioned may not be available or even made any more – Let us know if you have any questions. Backup is essential to keeping your images safe.

An updated post on our blog is here

Backing up your digital images is relatively inexpensive these days with the advent of high quality archival DVD’s and inexpensive DVD recorders often called burners. Even if your computer or laptop does not have a built in burner, there are many low cost external models that work with your computers USB ports. USB 2.0 devices are much faster than USB 1.0 devices – just make sure your computer supports the faster USB 2.0 standard before making your purchase.

Once you have your burner, you need to purchase a quality archival DVD media to make your backups on. The key word here is archival as many DVD’s are available for purchase with many levels of quality. Archival DVD’s are made to save files, and are of higher quality. Even though a DVD may say archival, you should make new backups of a DVD every five years to stay on the safe side.

In addition to DVD’s is the growing popularity of internet and cloud-based backup solutions. Comapnies such as Mozy let you back up your important data to the internet. Mozy saves your data locally to your own computer and to the internet. No matter what happens, your data will always be secure and safe from physical damage with Mozy.

Check out Mozy here

Media Buying Suggestions

Backup your data only with DVD-r not re-writable DVD-rw

When writing your disk – Close the session and prevent
additional writes. This protects data from erasure.

Do not use the maximum write speed for your DVD burner
A burn speed of 4x on quality media should last many years in dark storage.

Bergen County Camera sells quality archival DVD’s for all your photo backup needs.

Suggestions for keeping your data safe

Always hold the DVD up to the light before burning to check for any pinholes or other obvious damage to the media.

Even an archival DVD is only one good scratch away from becoming a coaster. For this reason I suggest making two copies of important once in a lifetime images.

If possible keep your backups in a location separate from your computer. Some of our pro’s go so far as to keep a second copy in a safe deposit box. If you are using a home fire safe be sure they are “fire rated” for DVD media not just paper documents.

Save your files in a common file format. Once saved you need to keep alert to changes in formats and computer technology. The day you hear talk about discontinuing DVD drives is the day you should start migrating your backups to a new platform. Just think how hard it would be to find a 5 1/2″ floppy disk today!

To be safe, plan on recopying your DVD backup every 5 years or so. Store your disks in the dark or at the very least out of direct light.

3 thoughts on “Learn More – Backing up your valuable images to CD media

  • Pingback: Photography Tips and Walkthroughs at Bergen County Camera Blog

  • February 24, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    I was under the impression CD’s have a shelf life and this practice was no longer suggested

    External hard drives are suggested

  • February 25, 2020 at 10:35 am


    You are replying to a post we put up in 2010 — sounds like it’s time for an update. Much has changed since then. The best suggestion we can give you for today is to backup to an external hard drive that is powered down and unplugged once the backup completes. This is done to protect the backup drive in the event of an electrical surge on your home power. Additionally we suggest using a cloud backup service to give you a backup that is independent from your home environment.

    So a simple deleted file or hard drive failure in your computer. Just attach your external drive and restore your file or the entire disk if that needed to be replace

    A major issue like fire, flood that destroys both your computer and backup drive — Purchase new equipment – connect to the internet and restore your files. Many backup companies will even send a hard drive for a fee to get you back running as soon as possible.

    We are happy to discuss your backup strategy and make suggestions.


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