Experiences with Dropbox as iPhoto Library Backup


The renewal on my annual Mozy Backup subscription was due, and I decided that I wanted to consolidate backup solutions. Dropbox had (recently?) upped their Pro plan to 1TB, so there was plenty of room to back up a 100GB iPhoto library.

I made the switch on Wednesday of this week, dragging the iPhoto library in Photos over to the Dropbox folder (do this with iPhoto closed and then double-click once moved to let iPhoto figure out the new location.) I did a selective sync to another computer that was lacking in hard drive space so that the Dropbox sync wouldn’t eat up all the space.

Finder claims there are about 98,000 in the library. Dropbox was indexing about 360,000. I haven’t dug into the discrepancy, but I’m guessing hidden files aren’t in the Finder count. 


MacBook Pro mid-2009 model, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB 5400 RPM HD, 50/10 Mbps Cable Internet service through TWC. 


Default setting for Dropbox upload is to “Limit automatically” (as shown below) to minimize disruption to other Internet activities. I had to change that to “Don’t Limit”.

Dropbox Network Settings

As of Saturday (3 days later):

I’ve also done a disk clone of the of the 1TB and gotten caught up on Time Machine backups, but three days later, Dropbox has indexed half of the files and uploaded 10GB of data. 

 As of Monday (5 days later):

Dropbox is down to only indexing its last 18,000 files (5.6%) and has uploaded roughly 85 GB of data.

As of Wednesday (7 days later): Dropbox appears to have backed up 160 GB of data, but it also appears to have crashed at some point along the way as well.

Coding Horror: The Economics of Bandwidth

Coding Horror: The Economics of Bandwidth.

Interesting what the price of bandwidth is compared to hard drive pricing.  I’m mostly interested in this from a backup perspective, and sending data to an offset backup via 2-500GB hard drives would figure to be cheaper than sending data to an Amazon-hosted backup solution.


I just realized this is from 2007.  I don’t think the bandwidth costs have changed dramatically, but the hard drive price prices are very different.

What is your backup strategy?

I’m looking for input on what your home and/or small business backup strategy is.

What? You don’t have one? Well, mine has been spotty at best.

I originally bought my Dell XPS desktop as a “Scratch & Dent” machine.  It has a RAID controller, but only came with a 250 GB hard drive, and the RAID software reported back that the RAID volume was degraded (because it was missing the second drive of the volume).  I eventually replaced the hard drive with two 500 GB hard drives, and opted not to enable RAID 0 or 1 for those two.  Unfortunately, I didn’t enable mirroring RAID, but fortunately, I didn’t enable RAID 0, or 1 TB of data would be lost now.

My boot drive (which of course, houses all of the pictures, iTunes “imported” music, etc. in the My Documents folder) died this morning.  This was not the classic slow death that I’m used on older drives with slower spindle speeds.  This drive now sounds like a chainsaw.

I originally created the boot drive by using Symantec Ghost to resize the original 250 GB drive to a 500 GB drive, so I have that old backup still available.  In addition, I just refreshed the backup of my pictures to the 2nd drive, otherwise, those would be about a year out of date.

My prior backup experiences:

  • Backup pictures to DVD+/-RW using Nero, copying directory structures to backup so that the DVDs would be usable as standalone discs.
  • Backup pictures to DVD+/-RW using Nero or other backup software, using disc spanning and propriety backup formats.
  • Backup pictures to USB 2.5″ HD
  • Backup music and pictures to the shared drive of a wirelessly networked PC that is used for little else.
  • Symantec Ghost backups for dying drive recovery and backup.

I now own a 1 TB USB drive for backup purposes, but I’m torn between Ghost managed backups, Ghost images, or some non-proprietary format for my backup solution.

Any thoughts?