Among the biggest angst many users experience when a drive fails is the loss of photos. It’s like having part of your personal and family history torn away.
The cloud is an excellent place to archive images, but it, too, has its hazards. A synching mistake can cause photos to vanish permanently. Or as one Windows Secrets reader reported, your precious image files are suddenly be compressed to a lower resolution.
With those hazards in mind, I archive my thousands of digital photos to the cloud, to a local NAS device, and to a second PC with a big, dedicated internal drive.
Archiving photos in the cloud is somewhat more complicated than simply storing common document files. There are dozens of Web-based services that focus on photos, and there are general services such as Dropbox, Google, and Microsoft (OneDrive) that offer special handling of images.
Given a focus on preserving original images, I prefer using a general service for simplicity. Here’s what Dropbox, Google Drive, and MS OneDrive offer. All three allow synching and sharing, but they also have some important differences.
Dropbox: Comprehensive archiving and synching
I’ll note at the top that I use Dropbox for storing over 600GB of images. I’ve used it for years, and I like the way it handles synching across devices. That’s important, because I edit my images on a notebook that has limited drive space. Using selective synching, I can edit recent files on the portable and archive the rest — nearly automatically — to the cloud, NAS, and desktop hard drive.
“Nearly” is the operative word; as with its main competitors, Dropbox still doesn’t support virtual folders, which lets you move files from place to place, even if the actual file isn’t stored locally. Dropbox says it’s working on this capability, but it won’t say when we’ll see it. (OneDrive had this capability, but Microsoft removed it a year or so ago.)