Suggestions to solve storage problems please.

  grumpy-git 13:47 28 Oct 04

Old AMD 1200 processor machine is struggling, like me, to cope with my collection of photos held as digital images. It has 2 hard drives of 60gb & 80gb, with about 6gb free spare at the moment. I have a pair of Maxtor external drives of 40gb & 250gb. These are both full, with backups etc. I also have a Belkin enclosure which has a 20gb disc which was originally in this pc, its "raid" partner failed over 2 years ago, and as a safety measure both were replaced and raid disabled, so I am making use of the "spare"

I would like suggestions regarding storage. Simply are selling Iomega 160gb ext drives for around £95 which seems reasonable, but something like an IcyBox enclosure from Savastore along with a 250gb hard drive may prove cheaper per gb and I notice they are also available with a firewire connection as well, handy if I do ever replace the pc I could put a larger drive in the Belkin enclosure, but they seem to be limited to 120gb which doesn't help much.

Not sure what the max size a Windows ME machine can handle with its onboard ide drives, but I am not too happy messing around replacing drive 2 with a larger one. Replacing drive 1 is not an option for me at the moment as I need a pc on a daily basis & don't think I am up to re-installing everything at this moment in time.

The photos total around 160gb in size. I do have backups on dvd's but the whole thing is becoming "a mess" and needs to be sorted.

My hobby is photography, not computers, a cheap & easy solution is better than a flashy expensive one. If anybody suggests a new computer - I doubt if my response would be allowed by the FE.


  recap 14:43 28 Oct 04

CD-R would be an option to store all your images on.

  pj123 14:46 28 Oct 04

This is a difficult one, and I doubt very much whether you will ever "solve" it. The more you take the more storage you will require. Fill up one hard drive and you will need another, and another and so on. I am a professional photographer, mostly film but quite a few digital. I have boxes and boxes of negatives and prints filling up space. My digital photo's are now all indexed and saved to CD (and shortly to DVD as I have now bought a DVD burner). I buy bulk CDRs and burn all my files twice to two different CDs.

Bit of drag I know but at least it's cheaper than keep buying hard disk drives. You also need to discipline yourself to do it on a regular basis, and always check the CD/DVDs to make sure the files are there before deleting them from the hard drive.

  grumpy-git 15:51 28 Oct 04


I used cd-rw's as backups originally, not too bad to begin with when each photo wasn't much more than 1gb, but with a better camera the size now averages out at about 4gb per photo, so you don't get many on a cd. DVD's are better, but before now I have taken enough in one day to fill a DVD.

Having to keep changing cd's as it was, and now dvd's, as you search for specific photos - especially when they are all (wishful thinking) indexed on a database, meaning you can find any photo of any subject within seconds, well, half a minute, but this really only works when they are all "online" so to speak & a thumbnail of each photo is displayed.


As hard drives continue to grow, almost in a similar ratio to my photos, I am keeping pace at present. 30,000 photos this past year, say about 120gb, would leave plenty of space on a 200gb hard-drive. It is great being organised, I think I can just about remember that far back, but having had to give up work, plus other problems, means a tidy computer & desk are a thing of the past.

At least if they are on a big disk or two then I can get at them easily & quickly. Also, do we "really" know the life & reliability of cd's & dvd's? Playing safe, I think all of my photos are on 2 hard drives, plus either a dvd or cd.
Paranoid maybe, but really annoyed if I were to lose them. I did actually lose a few dozen, thanks to my new pc, that was in the days when I was still attempting to set it up in between the initial minor crashes, and I had not got into any regular backup routine with it.

Still looks like hard drives of some description are needed.


  roy 18:46 28 Oct 04

'the size now averages out at about 4gb per photo'

I think that figure must be a mistake! I was looking wistfully at better digital slr's but do I need that sized file. Should it be 4MB?

As regards your problem I think pj123 has said it all except that I wonder if there is software that would help by providing thumbnails and database of pictures that have been archived to cd or dvd.

  grumpy-git 20:48 28 Oct 04

Yes roy, you spotted my deliberate mistake (I wish) it should have been mb's not gb's

ACDSee is the software I use. It does show thumbnails and you can add text that refers to individual photos, but, the pc always searches the data on the pc, not cd's or dvd's which are perhaps filed away in their cases. This is why hard drives are more useful. If I plug in both of my big USB drives & search under the heading of "my computer" ACDSee will look through all the hard drives to match the search test, that is well over 400gb of data.

Certainly dvd's etc. are a good backup if a hard drive fails

  roy 13:35 29 Oct 04

Hi grumpy-git

Just one more thought on your problem. Is it worth looking out for an old, cheap pc which you could network to your current one and which could be used solely for storage. I am not sure that there would be any advantages over your methods and your thoughts about the Iomega drive but it would open up the opportunity increase the available harddrive space. I have an old pc that my wife now uses and have a partition on it that I can use as extra storage. I, too am frightened of losing my pics and after saving them to cd keep a copy of each cd within an overall folder on the second (backup) harddrive in my pc. That way, I hope to have the safety of the cd and the accessibility of the hd. At present I have nothing like your collection, though.

  Stonechatz 13:44 29 Oct 04

Like you, I am overburdened by too many storage devices holding an ever-burgeoning jpeg and avi collection. I have decided to bite the bullet and get the integrated LaCie 1Tb (1024 Gb) Big Disc. It is essentially 4 x 250Gb external discs but in striped array i.e. acting as if it was one, large disc. Saves on having 3 extra power supplies/external enclosures etc. but it is major-league at £691.00p!!! Oh well, but as its Christmas, it appeals to the "self-Santa" in me :))

  pj123 14:34 29 Oct 04

I use Epson's Photoquicker 3.4 to print an Index page (20 to an A4 Sheet) and all numbered, of my CDs. Easy to find any photo I want to print.

To get Photoquicker (which works with any printer, not just Epson) go to click here

in the Driver and Manual Downloads, leave the language as English, select inkjet printer in the Product Range, in the Product field scroll right down and select Stylus Photo 895 as the product and then click on search. Scroll down the search results and click the download for Epson Photoquicker for windows 2000, 98 and ME.

  grumpy-git 08:03 30 Oct 04


Thanks, I had started another topic "largest hard drive" should find it, if you do a search. The idea of a 2nd pc in a network had crossed my mind, and I was trying to establish what it was possible to install in an old Windows 98 machine, such as max. size of hard drive etc. Still working on that one.....


  grumpy-git 08:19 30 Oct 04


Thanks, I've seen plenty of adverts from La Cie and their large capacities do sound very appealing. I am sure that having several disks combined in an array would worry me that if one failed then all the data would be lost. A similar thing happened with a pc I had - just out of the 12 month warranty & a drive failed. It was a raid system with a pair of 20 gb drives, one failed & I lost all my data on the drives. To me it was a big disaster, most of my data was backed up, it was just the fact of "getting it repaired" as it was out of warranty. Eventually fixed by a friend of a friend, so to speak, but I was without a pc for about 3 weeks. Problems like that follow me around, so I always go for safest & simplest option. In other words, my choice would be 4 seperate drives if I wanted the 1000gb option.

Still working on my own "plan of action" at the moment.


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