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Securely archiving documents to SkyDrive

20th Jan 2013

I currently have 12 years worth of digital photographs, >50Gb in total . Currently, all these images are stored on my Windows Home Server(WHS), the files are duplicated across 2 hard drives (one of the useful features of WHS). Although I’m very happy with my WHS, I am concerned that although duplicated, all my images are stored on a local server. This weekend I’ve spent a little time solving this issue. I’ve turned off duplication for my images, and instead created a 2nd backup in the Cloud, SkyDrive to be precise. (it’s always best to have 2 backup’s, one on-site and one off-site). Here’s what I did:

  1. Paid for 100Gb of extra SkyDrive space. You get 7Gb of free drive space when you sign up to SkyDrive, but for £32 per year you can add 100Gb to the free space.
  2. Installed the 7-zip file compression tool. The 7-Zip format supports AES 256 bit encryption.
  3. Grouped my digital photographs into folders by year (some folders were as large as 8Gb)
  4. Selected the contents of an image folder, right-clicked, and selected “7-Zip”, and then “add to archive”. 
  5. Split the archive into 299Mb chunks, and included a password (when uploading to SkyDrive via the website the max upload size is 300Mb)
  6. Opened the SkyDrive website, and selected to upload the 7-zip files.



My solution won’t suit everyone, my aim was to have a 2nd backup (which hopefully I will never need to access), so zipping the files was ok for me, but of course it would make sharing individual files difficult.

For many people, simply uploading individual images to SkyDrive, installing the SkyDrive client on their local PC, and syncing the files would be sufficient (satisfies the on-site, off-site requirement). There are also other Cloud storage tools to consider, including the newly launched Mega, which comes with 50Gb of free space, and encrypts all uploaded files.

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