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Back up NEF files for safe keeping

James Milstead , Aug 30, 2011; 12:12 p.m.

I am shooting nef ( or raw) images these days with my D70. They are only viewable with the Nikon view software installed on the hard drive of my home desktop computer. I am looking for suggestions on how to back up these NEF files for safe storage in the event of hard drive failure, which as we know WILL eventually happen.
My thought was to use an external drive and just store them on that, but since the Nikon view software is only installed on the "C" drive I can't view the ones on the storage drive.
Should I just copy them to the extra hard drive, and forget about viewing them until I want to bring them back to whatever drive has the Nikon view software installed?
Another option is to just keep them stored on the compact flash memory card I guess, but not sure if that is a good solution.


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Michael R. Freeman , Aug 30, 2011; 12:22 p.m.

Why would the Nikon software need to be installed on the same drive as the files?

You should be able to view/open an NEF file stored on any storage medium (CF card, DVD, back-up external hard drive) as long as the backup media is connected to your desktop computer with the Nikon software installed.

Howard M , Aug 30, 2011; 12:40 p.m.

any halfway decent RAW converter will be able to convert the NEF. Also, you can always download the latest copy of ViewNX from Nikon's website directly. So, if you want, save that .exe on the same drive as your .NEFs

Emilio Gutierrez , Aug 30, 2011; 12:42 p.m.

It seems to me there is something wrong with your computer/operating system. As long as the OS have access to the NEF files, they can be viewed no matter where they are stored, USB/Firewire devices, flash cards, network drives. NEF is just another file format, can you see other type of documents on your external drive, like Excel or Word files?

Matt Laur , Aug 30, 2011; 12:53 p.m.

Nikon's View NX2 (the current version) is freeely available, and you can install it on as many computers as you want. And you can store your NEF files on as many devices as you want ... and then mount those devices on a computer that's got View NX2 installed, and you're ready to see them. There is no need to install View NX2 on every device that will store the files.

Rick Sands , Aug 30, 2011; 01:11 p.m.

Following on from Matt, if you are thinking long-term archive, and want to make sure you have a viewer that can handle it, you can also download ViewNX and copy that download onto the storage media.

Joseph Smith , Aug 30, 2011; 02:48 p.m.

In my opinion one back up is not enough. As you said hard drives can fail, and that includes your external hard drive(s) too. I tripple back up my NEF files onto hard drives. And the most secure way is to have at least one complete backup outside of your house in case it got hit by a flood, hurricane, fire, etc.
CF cards is not a good option for long term backup.
Joe Smith

Jon Porter , Aug 30, 2011; 03:26 p.m.

A friend of mine backs up his NEF files with a matching set in DNG format, figuring if future software has a problem with old NEF files he'll still be able to view his photos. I thinks it's overkill, but he'll probably have the last laugh.

Mendel Leisk , Aug 30, 2011; 03:32 p.m.

Any typical desktop tower case has room for 2~4 internal drives, and all the wiring in place. Food for thought. This coupled with DVD or CD backups, one at home, one away, and you're getting pretty safe.

Then, a utility for efficient incremental copying will make it easier to accomplish. My pref is XXCopy.

The main danger, in my experience, is from accidentally deleting the files yourself.

Pierre Lachaine , Aug 30, 2011; 04:57 p.m.

I can open NEF files with ViewNX no matter what drive they are on. No problem at all.

Sure, a spare hard drive if you have one or more... but if it was me, I would also burn some DVD's.

Personally, I cheat. I never go back to past images, because there are always so many more to take. So, when I do shoot raw, I commit the photography forum heresy of only saving a high quality full-size JPEG with ViewNX 2, and I actually don't keep the NEF file after that.

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