A few months ago I was lamenting and thinking of an easy-to-use, online storage in the cloud service: "Give me a file share in the cloud where I can regularly back up critical files (photos, email and contacts) off-site... and make the files (or at least the recoverable image) accessible over the Internet as well should the whole PC disappear."

Now, there's more talk, as reported by ZDNet news in Oz, about LiveDrive:

"Speaking at a blogger's breakfast before the opening of Microsoft's Tech Ed conference in Sydney on Tuesday, technical specialist John Hodgson said that the basic Live Drive was likely to include around 2 gigabytes of storage for free. Additional storage capacity will be available for purchase, he said, though pricing and final release dates haven't been announced."

For our use, 2 GB is just about enough to back up my current non media documents for each of our home PCs... but not our archive of photos, scans, audio and video. That's OK, as with OneCare and our broadband connection, I imagine that I will be able to schedule an automated back-up directly to the cloud, selecting Live Drive as one of the available storage devices in the set-up.

Great if this could be one of several options, rather than the only "save to" option: that would let me still back up regularly to our home server as well as a redundant back-up to the cloud.

As for my solution with larger files (especially those I want to keep "forever") is to make a couple of redundant archives. This includes...

  • regularly scheduled back-ups with OneCare to my shared, networked Buffalo hard drive, which includes a complete back up of all machines with all files,
  • important family files - photos and videos of the kids, art and music, and
  • a small portable drive as well as DVDs for long-term storage in our off-site storage in an inexpensive safe deposit box (so that's what you use them for...).

I also rely on PhotoWorks (originally known as Seattle Film Works) which originally scanned and archived all of our developed film images. Now, as long as I place an order a couple of times a year (cards, prints of digital images), they maintain the archive on their system. That's not hard to do as I find that for larger than 4x6" prints (or lots of 'em), I regularly upload my favourite digital images for printing... and then those images are also archived for safe keeping. 

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