Just throwing in my two cents -hope it all doesn't seem too "obsessive/compulsive", but I have used this method now for several years, and it has worked out great for both me and my wife. (-we use separate computer file folders, but same hard drives and same methods.)
Okay, here goes: We use external hard drives. (one or two terabyte drives are very affordable these days). Two external drives are connected to our desktop PC all of the time. One of the drives is our "automatic running backup" drive. Our "current year photos" folders live on the internal hard drive, but are automatically/continuously backed up on the first external drive. (-we use a neat little program called "File Hamster"). The second drive contains all of our "previous years photos." (organized first by year, then sub-folders within each year by subject). And of course, obviously, I only have to update that second drive once a year. -in fact, we usually don't even have it powered on, unless we are working with previous years photos.
So, now if you haven't given up yet, we have a THIRD external hard drive which lives in our fire safe. It is a nice new 2TB drive serving as our "total disaster" file recovery drive. I update the files on it at least annually.
Yes, I hear all the advantages about using "cloud storage" programs, such as Carbonite (sp?) but personally I like to have of our files available to us all the time, without having to rely on third parties, and the internet, etc. Plus, our external drives are "portable" I guess, depending on your definition.
Now for you folks using "file organization" programs, I wonder if that would still work for us with our various hard drives ?? -just wondering. I know our system, using simple basic file folders, and sub-folders is very "low tech" but we feel like we are "fairly safe" in trying to not loose our digital photos.
What do you think??
By the way we use File Hamster to also make automatic copies of many other "non-photo" file folders containing all sorts of documents we never want to loose. -even including a selected few "saved email folders." Several years ago we had an internal hard drive crash and sure learned first hand how nice it is to have an automated file copy program running continuously.
Is there anyone else out there using similar automated file copy programs ?? It would be good to know.