Showing posts with label protection. Show all posts
Showing posts with label protection. Show all posts

Friday, December 15, 2017

Moving Your Family Tree to a New Computer

The last time, I wrote about how important it is to be ready for the sudden loss of your computer. You must be prepared to move your genealogy files if your computer is about to die. And sure, you'll have to move non-genealogy files, too.

I'm lucky that my 4-year-and-8-month-old computer gave me warning that it was on its last legs. Every program I tried to run was unresponsive. I had to move on to new technology.

My new laptop arrived two days ago, and I began installing my most important software:
  • Microsoft Office
  • Adobe's Photoshop, DreamWeaver, and Acrobat
  • Quickbooks
  • Some specialty software I need for work
  • Family Tree Maker
Family Tree Maker can fix this problem for me.
A tool to fix the problem.
When I launched Family Tree Maker on my new machine for the first time, I was surprised that it displayed my media files. I have 2,634 images attached to people in my tree. They are mainly census forms, ship manifests, and photos.

I was surprised to see them because the file structure on my new computer is different. I'm storing all my genealogy images on the "E" drive, which is enormous.

It turns out I made a bad choice when I first began using FTM in 2003 or so. The program asked me if I wanted to save media files in the family tree file, or link to their location on the computer.

I figured that saving the media in the file would make the file way too big. So I linked to them instead.

I knew I couldn't move files around or rename the files or folders. They would become unlinked if I did. I accepted that, and I never changed anything.

Imagine my face two days ago when I realized all my media was now unlinked!

Thankfully, Family Tree Maker has a fix for this. I hope your family tree software does, too. If you're not sure, check your software's website or click the Help menu to see what it says about media files.

In Family Tree Maker, I clicked the Media menu and chose Find Missing Media. This brought up a window showing the long, long list of my 2,634 missing media items.

FTM is getting me out of a jam.
"Click to search manually"? No thanks.
In the right column, labelled Attach, there's a choice between Attach a Copy and Attach a Link. I'd always chosen to attach a link before. Here was my chance to bring a copy of every single media item into my Family Tree Maker file.

Sure, my family tree file is going to be much fatter than it used to be. But I've got a 1 terabyte hard drive now, so who cares?

The process is very simple, but as I write this, it's still running.

All I had to do was click to Select All, make sure the Attach column was set to Copy, and click Search. Immediately, I saw that the program found my files on my new E drive. So it's working! It's more than halfway done, and progressing nicely.

Better graphic cards make working on your family tree easier.
I would have been pretty upset if I had to locate the 2,634 images one at a time! But let this be a lesson to you. If you plan to move your family tree to a new computer, and your file doesn't contain all the images, pull them in now.

And here's a nice benefit to upgrading that computer. Aside from it being faster, I've got a really high-resolution screen. So I'm able to see so much more of my family tree at a glance than before.

At this point, my house contains more obsolete computer equipment than it should. But genealogy is a high-tech hobby. It pays to have good tools for the job.


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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Prepare Your Family Tree for Your Computer's Demise

The computer graveyard
Two of our dust-collectors we keep to run one program.
Planned obsolescence. That's why your appliances don't last forever. If they made a computer that ran forever, they'd have no repeat customers!

When the day comes that your computer will not start—and that day is coming—what will worry you the most? Is it the loss of your family tree files?

Don't put yourself in that position!

Disaster Strikes

On Saturday I spent a few hours working in Family Tree Maker. I was beginning to add detailed notes to each of the 363 ship manifest images I've collected. I'd already done this for my 637 census sheet images. (See Add Proof and a Breadcrumb to Family Tree Documents.)

On Sunday I turned on my computer to continue to fortify my family tree.

But my computer did not start. Instead, a message said it was repairing my hard drive! I left it alone for hours, but it never got further than 38% through the repair process.

Was this the end of my beloved Toshiba laptop? As recently as two weeks ago I said, "I don't care if this computer is almost four years old. I absolutely love it, and I have no complaints at all." But last week it was refusing to multi-task. Sometimes I had to force it to reboot.

Will You Be Ready?

With the help of the Emergency Recovery Disk I'd created last January, I was able to access my hard drive.

Immediately I began copying files to a 1 terabyte external hard drive. I last updated that backup drive in March (bad girl!), so I had lots of newer files to add.

Now my backup drive has every one of my collected genealogy documents and a few backups of my trees.

Next, I took a look at the tons of programs installed on my computer. I was most concerned with the programs I paid for and that I rely on so heavily for work and play.

I sent an email to the Family Tree Maker people. I asked how to move the program—which I had downloaded rather than buying a CD-ROM—to my future computer. They were very quick to respond with the simple steps.

I continued sifting through my computer files. I copied my most recent collection of bookmarks and passwords. I copied my Microsoft Outlook file. It contains genealogy correspondence going back more than 10 years! I checked out how to move my Office programs, Adobe programs, and QuickBooks onto my new computer. I'm all set.

Better Times Ahead

My new computer arrives tomorrow. Since Sunday I've kept my Toshiba awake (the poor thing) so I can continue using it and accessing my files.

This is a wake-up call we all need to hear. Do you have your disaster plan in place for your family tree?


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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

4 Ways to Protect Your Genealogy Research from Disaster

Don't wait! You must protect your family tree research.
The epic hurricane season and earthquakes of 2017 have everyone thinking about natural disasters. Our hearts truly break for those who've lost loved ones and all their possessions.

We hope it'll never happen to us, but we know it can. Disasters don't give us much warning. It's time to plan ahead and protect your prized genealogy research.

Here are 4 types of storage. A combination of these suggestions can give your family tree research the best possible chance to survive a disaster.

1. Online Storage

Take advantage of free online storage services available to you. These include:
  • Dropbox—create a free account and use up to 2 GB of storage. Paid plans can give you more storage.
  • Google Drive—create a free account (if you don't have a Google account) and use up to 15 GB of storage. You can pay to increase your storage amount.
  • iCloud—if you have an iPhone or iPad, you probably have 5 GB of storage available. You can pay to increase your storage amount.
  • OneDrive—create a free account (if you don't have a Microsoft account) to use up to 5 GB of storage. You can pay to increase your storage amount. If you subscribe to Office 365 as I do, you get a free terabyte of storage!
  • Your Internet provider—find out if your Internet provider gives you access to free storage space.

2. Digital Storage

Of course you will keep your files on your computer hard drive, but we all know computers can go bad. To protect your digital files, you should also make a copy of the files on other media, including:
  • CD-ROMS or DVDs
  • external hard drives
  • another computer, ideally at another location, such as a relative's house
  • paid online backup services such as Carbonite
  • Upload your family tree, complete with all digital files, to the family tree website of your choice. These include Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, etc.

3. Physical Storage

Your paper files need special protection. First, scan your documents and store these files with your other digital files. You can also make paper copies so they can exist in two different places.

To protect your most important original paper documents from fire and flood, consider buying a fireproof safe. These safes are like a small heavy suitcase and can withstand a fire. They are reported to remain intact after a disaster. They're available to buy online or at stores like Walmart. Brand names include:
  • Sentry Safe
  • Mesa Safe
  • First Alert

4. Offsite Storage

If the unthinkable happens to your home, having two destroyed copies of your files will do you no good. You can protect against this by arranging to store one copy at another location.
  • If you are storing your digital files in the cloud, that is your second location.
  • If you are storing your files on an external hard drive, CDs or DVDs, see if a friend or relative will keep them at their house.

We know we need to protect our work. Can you imagine losing your hard work?

Make the time now—this weekend at the very latest!—and protect your genealogy and family tree research for the future.


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