Managing Your Media: Backup Your Files Fast with an SD Card

We all run into digital storage problems one way or another, so it’s important to be prepared. Here is a simple introduction to SD cards, some tips on how to choose the right one and what to do when things go wrong.

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Backing Up

There are many ways of backing up your files. You can set up a full system backup on your PC, an external backup on an SD card or hard drive, or backup on a cloud service like Carbonite or CrashPlan. While cloud services charge ongoing fees, external hard drives and SD cards are an inexpensive single purchase.

SD Cards

An SD (“Security Digital”) card is basically just a way of storing and transferring information in your mobile device (e.g. tablets, smart phones and cameras). While you can buy them separately (see this link here), most of the time an SD card will be included in a device when you buy it. They tend to be compatible with a wide range of devices, although many devices today use micro SD cards, which are physically smaller versions. The information stored on an SD card ranges from app data to documents, music and photos. Many sizes, speeds and types of SC card are available for different purposes and devices.

How to Use Them

SD cards are designed to be straightforward and easy to use: just pick it up and slot it into the SD slot in your device – similar to how you put in your SIM Card. Always make sure to check the instruction manual first. It will usually pick up and send the right signals automatically, leaving nothing more for you to do. There are, however, unexpected problems that can arise. It’s best to have a plan – a backup for your backup – for when this happens so you can recover damaged or lost information.

Recovery software can be freely downloaded over the internet (usually via the website of the company that produces the software) and typically include simple installation and east-to-use user interfaces. Once you have this software you connect your mobile device to your computer and perform the scan. Most recovery software will give you options between “quick” and “full” or “full system” scans. Quick scans will be much faster but cover less territory, full scans are important for assessing large amounts of data.

After your scan you’ll typically be presented with a list of your data (photos, music and so on) which you can recover. Some items may not be recoverable – even with the best software – due to data corruption, so it’s important to scan early if you think there’s a problem.

Some FAQs

Be sure that your SD card size is sufficient for your storage by checking with the device manufactures. Also check for special features: with some newer devices there is also an option of saving entire apps – with all their related data – to your phone’s SD card, rather than on your phone’s memory as it’s usually stored. Often, people accidentally delete things and want to recover them, and while this may be possible if you deleted them recently, most deleted things will be unsalvageable. If your SD card is stolen, your emails and texts will be safe (because they are stored internally in your phone’s memory) but photos, videos and app data will be vulnerable. So be careful!

The best defense is a good offense: stay informed and organized about your SD card. Make sure it’s the right size and you have backup and recovery plans ready if there is an error involving data corruption.

Isabel Ward knows her way around tech! She’s a photographer who also dabbles in graphic design so her computer is her lifeline, along with her camera.