My Method for Naming and Tagging Photos and Videos

I have previously written about my method for organizing digital photos and videos. Within the many folders are thousands of files, most of which have been manually renamed. This naming and tagging of photos is a process that I started when my son was born in 2002 and has continued ever since.

Each file is individually named to tell either who is in the photo or briefly where or what the photos is about

How to label photos and videos

After I have taken pictures at an event or at the end of a month, I copy all of the photos and videos from my phone or camera to a folder on my computer, let’s call it “incoming photos and videos”. From this folder, I then copy groups of photos and videos to folders based on the date and event. For example, in the view above, there are numerous events in June 2004 that are each in individual folders.

Within each folder, I then rename each file. I use a thumbnail preview in Windows Explorer or I use another program for managing photos. For years I used Google’s Picasa, which has now been discontinued. Even though Google no longer supports it, I often still use it for my viewing and renaming process.

A similar view from above but with Google’s Picasa software

Picasa, or most other photo management programs allows you to view a folder of pictures and easily make changes such as adjust brightness or rename. In Picasa, I can make the thumbnail views larger or smaller as needed.

Another convenient feature of Picasa is that I can filter what pictures I want to see. For example, I take a lot of photos with an iPhone. These photos and videos are always named in the form of IMG_. By typing “IMG_” into the search bar, I can see all the photos and videos that I have not yet renamed. Other cameras have their own naming format so this is a way to find non-renamed files.

By searching for a specific set of characters, you can find files not yet renamed

For years I have gone about the process of renaming files. Sometimes it’s a bit more complicated when there is a group of 20 people. For these photos I usually simplify the name to something like “group at lunch”. The numerous photos of about 1 to 5 people are very easy to handle, just name the file with their names.

The Power and Benefits of Renaming Photos

Earlier I showed how I could narrow down photos that haven’t been renamed by searching for them in Picasa. I could do the same in Windows Explorer or in any photo management software. The real power is in finding what I have renamed. A few examples.

For my kids’ birthdays, I often make my own birthday cards. I can search across years of photos to find old pictures of them. I can search for pictures of the kids with specific people. Of course, if you have several people with the same name, you will have to go through a bunch of pictures to find the right one but even this can be handled by naming the files with first and last names. The main benefit of this system is that it’s independent of any computer or software. I can start this process on a Mac and then move all my files to Windows. In 10 years I can move these photos to some new computer and it should be able to handle the thousands of folders and files.

What about just using the cloud?

Yes, I can put all the above mentioned photos into Google Photos and let it sort it out for me. Google will let me view photos in chronological order and put together albums. It’s even gotten smart enough to detect who people are and once I tag them it will find them in future photos. Isn’t that more efficient than my system?

Yes, it is more efficient on the surface but what happens if Google goes away in 20 years or starts charging huge amounts for the service? I can get all my photos and videos out of Google but in what format? I’ll have just a massive folder, or maybe set of folders with files. I don’t think that in 20 years I’ll want to start labelling 100,000 photos and videos!

To me, the eventual solution may not yet exist. I would like to see the best of both. A program that runs on my computer and lets me manage my photos in simple folders and files. Add into this a plug-in to something like Google that analyzes photos and automatically renames them based on who is in them or some other criteria. That would make the process more efficient and have long lasting value as there still would not be a tie in to proprietary software.

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We rely on the cloud to get things done

On a cold afternoon in January, my daughter Emma attempted to log into Google Classroom to work on an assignment. Google Classroom is like a document management system. The primary purpose of classroom is to streamline the process of sharing files between teachers and students. The only problem was the system was down and she couldn’t access her files. As we put more of our data into the cloud, we rely more on having access to get our critical work done.

what my daughter saw when attempting to do her homework

How did we get here?

When I first starting using computers in the late 1980’s, everything I worked on was on my computer. There were some online services such as CompuServe but this was mostly for viewing online content like news or discussion forums. As time went on, people started getting onto the Internet in the early 1990s and the first cloud based services that became popular were e-mail, such as Hotmail and Yahoo Mail. This has continually expanded over time and now with our files stored in Dropbox and Google Drive plus school based systems like the previously mentioned Google Classroom, we rely on these services to be up and running.

What do I do when my cloud service is down?

Ironically, one of the benefits of cloud based services is that they are generally more robust and reliable than relying on your computer. The good news generally about these outages is that these systems don’t stay down for long because of the high availability built into them. Unlike your computer that has one hard drive and one power supply, these systems are built so that the failure of one component doesn’t take down the whole system. Still, outages do happen.

One of the ways to deal with outages is a form of prevention. Let’s take Dropbox as an example. You can access Dropbox files through other web based services. One of the key features of Dropbox is that you can install it on your computer so that the files sync there. Even if the online service is down, your files are still there and available to be edited. They changes will be synced when the service comes back online.

In that case of Google Classroom, it’s a bit more complicated. Much of this service has an online-only capability. Still, there are ways to work within this system. If you’re working on a document that is within Google classroom, export a copy to Word and send it to yourself. If this is something of a time sensitive matter, then having another copy means you can work on it and then merge the changes back to the main system before handing it in.

In the case of Emma finding that Google Classroom was down, she was lucky. It came back up later on Sunday and she was able to finish her work. Back when I was younger, a common excuse was “my dog ate my homework” which would now be replaced with “Google was down”. Still, with some advanced preparation, you can be ready for those times when the cloud isn’t up and running.

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Google Photos, great in the cloud, not so good from your computer

I recently read an article about Google Photos in the New York Times. There are numerous places online to store your photos and while I had tested out Google Photos a few years ago, I hadn’t continued to use it as an every day photo system. In this article, the author talked about the advancement of artificial intelligence and how accurately it was able to determine pictures of the same person. One of the main problems we face with taking so many digital pictures is that we can’t find them and end up not looking at them. Google has been working to solve this problem and their solution is to have you upload all your pictures and let Google figure out what is related, be it people, places or things.

This got me thinking about how I could use Google Photos along with the method I already use for storing and organizing my photos. I still prefer to have my master copy of photos and videos on my computer, stored by year, month and events. It’s backed up in numerous places, including offsite. What if I could have the best of both my system and Google? It was worth a try.

Syncing up to Google

I already have a Gmail account and I have uploaded numerous photos over the years, but more as standalone albums to share with people online.The first decision to make when putting your photos and videos in Google is cost. You can let Google compress your videos and photos and then there is unlimited storage, but if you keep them at their original size then you’ll have to buy space at whatever the current rates are.

I looked up the compressed rates and they’re pretty reasonable – 16 megapixel for photos and 1080p for videos. If you use this as secondary storage, then it’s not an issue, and for most cases, these are good enough quality unless you are doing professional photo or videos work.

Setting up the sync

First, before doing anything I made sure that my master copy of photos was backed up. I have a regular process where the external hard drive of my photos is backed up to network hard drives in my house. Once this was done, I continued.

I installed Backup and Sync from Google. It walks you through the steps for installation including deciding what you want to sync and what not to sync.

A few items to note in the screenshot above:

  • I clicked on Choose Folder and picked my external drive where I keep photos. That is the box that is checked on the list of folders
  • I chose the High quality, free unlimited storage option
  • I set it to don’t remove items, so that it would upload only and not affect files on my computer

I then started watching as photos and videos started getting uploaded.

Note that you can click on the Google Sync icon in the taskbar, shown above with a red circle.

Something isn’t right

As I watched the screen scroll with photos and videos being uploaded, I occasionally saw the word ‘deleted’ or ‘failed’. After awhile, it stopped and couldn’t sync a whole bunch of files. I knew it couldn’t be close to done as I have over 50,000 photos and videos! I use a program called FreeFileSync to back up my photos and videos to another hard drive so I used it in reverse to show me what files were on the backed up hard drive and not on my primary one. It showed about 60 pictures that somehow got deleted. That concerns me as I specifically chose the option to NOT delete files. I was able to put everything back because of the backup.

I am still experimenting with the software but at this time I cannot recommend Google Backup and Sync for anyone to use with their main copy of photos and videos. If you want to get your photos and videos into Google Photos, I would suggest something along the following lines:

  • Copy all of your photos to a temporary location
  • Install Google Backup and Sync
  • Point Google Backup and Sync to the temporary location
  • In future, install the app for your phone and let it sync from the phone directly

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When the cloud goes down

Last week my mom got a new iPhone so this was a perfect test for her to see how well iCloud backs up all her data and can easily restore it a new phone. When we went to restore her iCloud backup to the new phone, it showed that there wasn’t one. I checked closer and discovered that she had run out of space in her iCloud account, even though she had upgraded it from the free 5 GB to 50 GB of storage space. This ended up as a positive, as I saw that my dad also had upgraded to 50 GB and if they pooled their resources, they could share a 200 GB storage plan for about the same cost. They made the switch and then I kicked off a backup from her old phone.

The first lesson – check your backups

Once you have a backup system in place, make sure to check it regularly to ensure that your precious data is actually getting backed up. There’s no point in paying for something that isn’t working properly.

Waiting for the backup to continue

So before she could use her new phone, the backup had to complete on the old phone. I suspected it would take into the night so I suggested she let it run and then try the restore in the morning. Later in the evening the backup wouldn’t run at all and it showed that she had 0 GB available in her plan. Something had gone very strange in her account. At this point I decided to check my iCloud account and sure enough, it wasn’t working either. It was then that I discovered this very helpful status site that Apple  runs that lets you know about problems within iCloud:

https://www.apple.com/ca/support/systemstatus/

By the morning iCloud was up and running and the backup finished. My mom was able to successfully restore her phone and everything worked as expected.

The second lesson – it may not only be you having a problem

Sites like iCloud provide helpful status information so that you can determine if the problem is on your side or Apple. By knowing there is an issue with Apple, you can stop troubleshooting and wait for the problem to be resolved.

The downside of the cloud

This was a short outage of iCloud so it didn’t really affect my mom’s ability to use her phone. What if she needed some data that was in iCloud for a meeting? Several hours of outage might just be too much. We have to strike a balance when using cloud services. The are very convenient to be able to access from anywhere and are likely more stable than hardware we have in our house. Still, if you need a file and it’s on your computer, it’s likely you’ll be able to access it.

The compromise

Evaluate your files and data to determine how critical each is and what are the implications of losing access temporarily. If you have an important presentation, put that PowerPoint file in the cloud and also on a USB stick. If you can’t access some family pictures for a few hours, that may not have much impact. The cloud has become an invaluable tool for data access everywhere, but some advance planning will ensure that you’re covered when the cloud is taking a break.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Instant Recovery from a Hard Drive Crash

Imagine this nightmare… you’re working on a large business report and with just a few more finishing touches to go, and you suffer a hard drive crash. Everything is gone and you have to explain to your client why you won’t have the report ready. Wouldn’t it be great to have near instantaneous recovery from this sort of disaster?

explosion over beach

With sufficient preparation you can recover and get back to work with either minimal or no loss of data. We need to change our view of our computers as a single point of failure / critical device to that of a simple appliance. If your coffee maker breaks, you might not be happy to have to replace it, but you can go out and buy a cup of coffee, get a new coffee maker and be back up and running very soon. By treating your computer as a replaceable and disposable device, it changes the way that you are able to work.

Separate your data from your computer

Right now you may have a bunch of documents and spreadsheets in a folder. Another folder has pictures and videos while your email has been downloading and getting stored on your computer for years. In previous posts I talked about moving your email to the cloud and I talked about the topic of cloud based files too.

Using Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive allows all of your critical files to be kept both on your computer and in the cloud. Going back to the earlier example, if your report is stored in Dropbox then every time you save the file it gets uploaded to Dropbox. With Google Docs, it is automatically saved every few minutes. If you are on a plane or somewhere that you don’t have internet access, sync services like Dropbox let you keep working normally and then will sync up once it has an internet connection.

Email if kept in Gmail or Outlook.com means that you don’t have a dependency on your computer. You can still have it download a copy that stays in sync with the online version.

With prices for online storage coming down, you can pay about $100 a year for 1 TB or more of storage. This can store most picture and document collections so that all of your precious memories are securely backed up online.

Making an Instant Recovery from a Crash

So now that you’ve got everything protected, what do you do when disaster strikes and your computer crash makes working impossible? The price of computers has come down substantially. Even a very basic laptop can be had for under $300. I have discovered an excellent source of high quality and powerful computers is the refurbished market. One example is Dell. Numerous companies lease computers for 3 or 4 years at a time. Once the lease is over, the computers go back to the manufacturer. In the case of Dell, they have an online store to sell these. Check with your country, in Canada it is dellrefurbished.ca. I have bought several laptops and desktops from Dell Refurbished and have been very pleased with the results. As an added bonus, they have sales several times a year so be sure to do an online search for “Dell Refurbished coupon code” to save up to 50%.

So where am I going with this? If you buy a refurbished computer, then you have a standby ready to go at a moment’s notice. If it’s a laptop, you can order it, set it up with what you need, such as Dropbox and your favourite software. Put it away and then you have it ready to go. As far as insurance goes, this is a good option, especially if your livelihood relies on having a working computer.

life insurance

With computers, it’s not a case of if it will fail but when. Having a strategy where you don’t have to think about protecting your files from a crash is the way to a fast recovery. We buy insurance for our lives, cars and our health, so with the same way of thinking, we can insure our data.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Microsoft OneDrive as your cloud based file storage

There are many choices when it comes to choosing a cloud based storage provider. A few of the commonly used ones include Dropbox, Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive. Until recently, I hesitated to recommend OneDrive as a place for storing your important documents and pictures. Some recently announced changes have caused me to re-evaluate my opinion.

Important to note – what I am talking about today is based on the paid version of Microsoft OneDrive. This is included as part of Office 365 so it can be a very good deal if you use all or even some of the included features. Today when I logged into OneDrive, I was given a few screens telling me about the new features. Let’s look at some of these screens to talk about what this really means for users.

Recover files from Malicious attacks

Ransomware is a particularly nasty type of computer virus. You can become infected if you go to an infected website or click on a link in an email that causes infected code to run on your computer. These ransomware viruses seek out your files such as documents, videos and pictures and replace them with encrypted copies. To recover these means paying huge amounts of ‘ransom’ money to the perpetrators. Now, if you store files in OneDrive, if you get infected, OneDrive will detect this massive amount of file change and will allow you to restore your files to the previous known good ones.

As a side benefit, if you make a change to a file and want to reverse it back, you can manually select one or more files and revert them back to a previous version.

Large amount of storage space in OneDrive

When you subscribe to Office 365, OneDrive is also upgraded from 5 GB in the free version to 1 TB (1000 GB). This is a lot of space to store many documents and even lots of media files like videos and pictures.  I keep a backup copy of all digitized photos and family videos in OneDrive.

Password protection

If you wanted to share a file with confidential financial information using OneDrive, it’s easy enough to share a link by email. This feature password protects the file so that even if someone else found out the link, unless they had the password, they could not see the file.

So why should I choose OneDrive over other cloud based storage?

There’s no ‘one size fits’ all when it comes to online storage. I started subscribing to Office 365 a few years ago in order to get Microsoft Office for myself and my family. A subscription for 5 users costs $110 CDN per year ($70 for one user). This gives you the following:

  • Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Outlook, Access
  • Ad-free Outlook.com email with 50 GB of storage space
  • The above mentioned items for OneDrive

Up until now, I’ve used OneDrive as a secondary storage / backup location for my pictures and videos. I’m now planning to move more of my important documents and other files from a limited sized Dropbox account. The feature that put it in contention is the ransomware recovery. Knowing that I can easily recover from the potentially huge loss of files is major peace of mind. I will add that I still use another online backup service that is strictly for backup of files.

When you consider that 1 TB of storage of leading providers can cost over $100 per year, the package from Microsoft is very compelling. It’s important to evaluate your needs when it comes to online storage so make sure to read the comparison between the products that appear to fit your needs.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Moving Your Email to the Cloud – Part 3

Once you have moved your email to a cloud based service such as Gmail or Outlook.com, your next step is moving your existing emails that you want accessible from this service.

Moving Your Email Messages

If you use Microsoft Outlook or another email program that uses IMAP for accessing email then it’s a relatively straightforward process. For this post, I will use Outlook as an example, but this can be done with nearly any email program that you might be using.

First, add your account to Outlook. This varies depending on the Outlook version and is generally File->Add Account or Tools–>Accounts and Settings.

Enter your account information including incoming mail server (IMAP). If you don’t plan to send email from Outlook, then you can leave out the SMTP settings.

After the account is added, you will see your current local email folders along with the ones in your cloud based email account. It’s now just a matter of dragging over emails and/or folders to your new email account.

Before doing any of this email movement, it is of critical importance to back up your local email. In Outlook, this means finding the PST file and making a copy. If you use another program, find out how to back up the email data and back it up. There’s nothing worse that discovering that messages you thought you dragged over actually got lost and went missing. I’ve seen this happen, so don’t be disappointed – make a copy first!

Moving Your Contacts

If you have 1000 email contacts in Outlook then you will likely want to keep these in your move to a cloud based service. The first step is getting your contacts out of Outlook. Go to your contacts. Similar to adding an account, Go to File->Open and Export. Choose Import/Export and choose Export to a File. Then choose Comma Separated Values.

Confirm the contacts folder and then select the file name to save. You can choose Map Custom Fields to make some adjustments in the data that is exported if you want. Depending on the email service, you should be able to import this contacts file.

After Moving Your Email

Congratulations! You’ve now gotten all of your email and contacts moved to a safe and secure cloud based email service. No longer do you rely on one computer for checking on archived email messages or for sending email. If something happens to your computer, you will not lose any email as it’s not stored there anymore. In future posts, we will talk about how to protect this even further by backing up your online email to another source.  Which email service do you use? Are you satisfied with it or is there something you wish worked better? Let me know in the comments.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

My computer crashed and I lost no data

With the tools available today for backing up and syncing data, there is no reason for data to be lost when something bad happens to your computer. A recent story about a friend of mine illustrates this well.

This friend is a lawyer who works from a home office. While spending a few months in Florida, his laptop crashed and required a complete reinstall, wiping out all of his data.

A few years ago, I talked to him about setting up a system where all of his data is safely and securely protected. This involved a few things:

  • cloud based file storage system – in his case, Dropbox
  • migration of email to cloud based – in his case, Outlook.com

All of his current folders with important client data were moved into Dropbox. Dropbox offers a free 2 GB plan but his data was larger than that so he opted for the 1 TB plan at a cost of $129 Canadian ($100 US) per year. The added benefit of using Dropbox is that it syncs automatically between computers so he can seamlessly move between desktop and laptop as needed. Dropbox also has an app for the iPhone / iPad so he can view his documents on these devices when out or when visiting with a client.

Over the last year my lawyer friend also moved his email from one that downloads all email into Microsoft Outlook on his computer to Microsoft’s Outlook.com cloud based email service. Since he also subscribes to Office 365, which is Microsoft Office paid for yearly, he gets an enhanced Outlook.com experience with no ads and additional storage space. It also means that all messages are stored in the cloud, but can also be accessed through Microsoft Outlook on a computer (see previous series about moving email to the cloud)

If you are familiar with Office 365, you’ll know that one of the benefits is 1 TB of space in OneDrive, Microsoft’s answer to Dropbox. You then might ask, why would I tell me friend to pay for both Office 365 and Dropbox? At this time, there is one very important feature that is not available in OneDrive – easy restoration of folders. Let’s say that a ransomware virus goes through your computer and infects your Dropbox files. All of them are wiped out or overwritten with garbage. Dropbox has mechanisms in place to allow the mass restore of a deleted or changed folder. OneDrive forces you to restore file by file. This is fie if you have 10 or even 50 files, but imaging if 5000 files needed to be restored? Until OneDrive updates this feature, my recommendation is to pay for Dropbox or a similar service that offers these recovery options.

In addition to Dropbox, my lawyer friend also uses CrashPlan for business to back up all of his important files, including personal pictures and videos. This extra layer of protection ensures that all of his critical data is protected. The next piece that I will recommend to him is to add an external hard drive to his computer at home that also backups up the above mentioned files. In the case of a restore requirement, it is always faster to restore from a local hard drive instead of from a cloud based service. The cloud service becomes a secondary insurance policy.

The moral of the story here is to always have numerous levels of backup. Computers have become so inexpensive that they can be seen as appliances that are replaced when they wear out. As long as your data is safely protected and backed up, you can quickly get back up and running when disaster strikes.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Moving Your Email to the Cloud – Part 2

In the previous post, we talked about why you want to consider moving your email to a cloud based service. This is especially beneficial if you are currently downloading all of your email to your computer using a program like Outlook or Windows Live Mail. Another consideration is that you are using your internet provider’s email service. An example would be an address like neil@rogers.com (Rogers Internet) or neil@verizon.com (Verizon Internet).  If you leave your internet provider then you will also lose your email address. Today we will go over how to pick an email service.

Long Term Availability of an Email Provider

The first criteria to consider is the longevity of the company providing the email service. If you read about some new email provider who promises 50 GB of space for all users for free, be wary. The cost of providing free services might mean that the provider is unable to continue running after a short period of time. Nothing is guaranteed but a large company such as Google or Microsoft is likely to be around for awhile.



Ease of Use

This is a more subjective criteria but if you are a relative newcomer to computers or want simplicity then a set of 1000 features isn’t going to entice you to sign up! The good thing about free services is that you can sign up, try it out and then cancel if you don’t like it.

Feature Set

There are certain features that set different services apart. Below are some examples that might help you narrow down between the most popular email services:

Outlook.com

This is run by Microsoft and has a lot of the look and feel of Microsoft Outlook that many people have been running on their computers for a long time. If you are an Outlook user, an Outlook.com email account can be easily integrated with Microsoft Outlook on your computer. This gives you the best of both worlds – from any computer your can reach your email, calendar and contacts and they will all appear when you are on your computer using Microsoft Outlook. Other services such as Gmail don’t integrate as well with Outlook. You can of course get your email from Gmail with Outlook on your computer but not contacts and calendar (except for certain paid premium versions)

 

Gmail

Gmail has been around for a long time and is run by Google, one of the largest companies in the world. A Gmail account is often used as a login to many popular websites. If you already use lots of Google services then you likely have a Gmail account that is used for logging in.

 

Yahoo!

Yahoo was recently purchased by Verizon but it is reasonable to expect that the Yahoo mail service will continue. There are many millions of people who use Yahoo, so this is a good example of a service that is in transition but has thus far continued to exist.

Apple iCloud Mail

If you use an Apple device such as an iPhone, Apple mail and the corresponding iCloud service is an appealing choice. The web based email look much like it does on an iPhone and you can even get free Windows software from Apple that allows you to use Microsoft Outlook with Apple iCloud Mail.

Making a choice for cloud based email

There’s no one size fits all. Learn about the different email service by going to Google and do searches such as “free online email service reviews”. Read comments about the pros and cons of different services and then try them out. It’s important to be comfortable with your choice before you give out your new email address to your friends and family.

If you don’t care about the email left behind on your computer then you can just start using your new email address! If you have email to move over or contacts, keep reading into the next post where we will talk about getting the virtual ‘moving truck’ to take your data to the cloud.

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Moving Your Email to the Cloud – Part 1

Let’s start with a quick poll: what email program do you use? Or is your email in the cloud?

What email program do you use

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There are two primary ways to store your email:

  1. On your computer in a program such as Microsoft Outlook
  2. In the cloud in a service such as Gmail, Yahoo! or Outlook.com

If you are already using a cloud based service then you’re done, you can stop reading! I will have posts that talk about making the best use of these cloud services and how to protect your email messages in these locations.

email to cloud

Why move email to the cloud?

If you have been storing years of email on your computer then you may want to consider moving to a cloud based service. Why would you want to do this?

  • You keep online receipts and financial correspondence in your email – imagine the headaches if all of this was lost due to a failed hard drive.
  • if the information is only on your computer then it’s only accessible when you’re home. Wouldn’t it be great to access all of your email history from anywhere?

For many years I kept all of my old emails in Microsoft Outlook on my home computer. I switched to Gmail so all of my new messages were easily accessible on my phone but old ones only at home. Since moving all of my emails online, there have been many occasions when I’m out that I need to find some old piece of information and have quickly found it right from my phone.

That’s great but I really like Outlook/Apple Mail/Thunderbird…

For several years I recommended to my cousin who has thousands of emails in Outlook PST files that he should move everything to a cloud based service. He much prefers Outlook over any of the cloud based services that he tried. I informed him that he can have the best of both worlds. With relative ease, you can still use your email program of your choice and connect it to your preferred cloud based service. The great thing about this is that when you are at home and filing or deleting emails, all the changes are simultaneously happening in the cloud based email too. You can work with whichever you want – the email program on the computer or the cloud based service.

Ok, you’ve convinced me, but how to I move my emails

Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Before transferring over your years of emails, you first need to decide which cloud based service to use. I will first tell you what not to use – your Internet provider’s email.

What do I mean by this? A popular provider in my area is Rogers. When signing up, many people have email addresses in the form of yourname@rogers.com. Rogers has a partnership with Yahoo! so you get a Yahoo! account branded by Rogers. In theory you could move all of your email here, but I highly recommend against it:

If you cancel or change your Internet provider, you will lose your email account that you have with them!

Years ago, the only way to get an email address was with your Internet provider. This is no longer the case. You can register your own domain (I did that years ago, more in a future post) or use a previously mentioned service like Outlook.com, Yahoo! or Gmail. If you are choosing to move your computer based email to an online cloud service, I highly recommend signing up for a free account with one of these email based cloud services. There are numerous advantages:

  • assuming these companies stay in business, your email is for life
  • they are free, and most have a paid service that gives you features like extra space or no advertising
  • you can still use your Internet service provider email address with most of these services – more about that in another post in this series

In the next post, I will go over choosing from the online email providers and then talk about how to get your email moved online.

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