What do you name your hard drives?

hard_drivesThe last time I checked I had at least 10 hard drives of various capacities.

They are just chocked full of images, some I’ve shot, others from friends and students.

The packrat in me doesn’t allow me to throw anything away.

Well, not exactly. I just wonder if there’s any photographer out there who claims to have his all his data in order.

It’s starting to get a little out-of-control.

My computing excesses aside, I never believed I would generate so much “data” in such a short time.

Of course, the fact that I am teaching compounds my computing needs for space.

My students are turning in their images even though on jpegs at their largest settings.

So assuming a class of 20 with an average of just 1-assignment-a-week and the average file being 3MB, that’s a staggering 60MB.

No offense but most of their pictures are out-of-focus, poorly exposed so I have to erase those files as soon as I grade them to free up space.time_machine_error

Meanwhile Time Machine is crying bloody murder, asking for a bigger backup volume.

I never dreamed for instance if I named my hard drives after Bond villains or characters that I would ever run out of names.

Well, I’m finding I have to go into IMDb to scrounge for some obscure heavies. I just blew by all the classic names like “Oddjob,” “Goldfinger,” “Dr.No,” “Blofeld” in such a short time period, that I’m already considering Nick Nack, (Xenia) Onatopp and Mayday.

17 thoughts on “What do you name your hard drives?”

  1. Glad you enjoyed it. At my age, it’s hard to help anyone do anything but laugh, so it’s nice when that works. Oh, yeah. I can give advice based on my past, which is close to dead useless in today’s world.

    But I do have to get some drives and get serious about setting up photos. It’s hard to sell something you can’t find, and many of my photos and articles are semi-lost.

  2. Charlie,
    You brought a smile to my face especially the bit that you named the drives after they crash and so are unprintable. I’m thinking I’ll add a number next the name next time, so I’ll know at glance how large the volume is, something like “Goldfinger 1TB” or “Scaramanga 500.” Thanks for sharing, made my day!

  3. Most of the names I give my hard drives come after they crash, so are unprintable.

    I just realized though, that I’ve got two internal drivels, two external drives, a portable drive and a free floating not-in-use drive, plus a netbook with a 120 GB drive. Most have a good deal of info on them.

    I think what I need to do is formalize the procedure, get a couple one TB externals and start organizing.

    The thought is not one I enjoy. Today is a day off, my wife and I went out for breakfast, and I shot a few DNG personal pix. Converted to JPEG, they were smaller, but still on the order of 13MB each. Plus, of course, the 22.5 to 24MB of the DNG.

    Good grief. My first HD was 20MBs and I figured I’d never fill it up, after spending years with floppies of one kind or another. No photos there, though. Now, photos by the thousands, all in DNG, conversion to JPEG, or DNG/JPEG in camera. That can mean as much as 38MB per photo.

    Names? Maybe I’ll start with Chaucer, move to John Donne, stop at Christopher Marlowe and Shakespeare and then come on through top notch (IMO) British authors until I run out (not likely: I won’t live that long).

  4. Curtis,
    Thanks for sharing your naming scheme. You’re right about how easily we can generate 20GB especially with today’s 21Mp cameras. Add that to some video, audio and DVD rendering, you can easily chew up hard drives.

    It’s definitely a headache when it comes time to backing up such volume.

  5. We have a photography business. Sometimes a wedding shoot can be 20+GB, depending on the amount of shooters. This mean we can have up to 1,200 different images to keep track of for post production. Mutliply this times 30 weddings a year and it is easy to see what a challenge this can be! Firdt of all, to keep them safe, we back them up on a Drobo (a RAID type configuration) with 3TB of space. Within the Drive we have the files by year, then client name and then all the client files are named with their last name. This way, all the files, folders and images have the clients last name and are sorted by the year the event occurred.
    Here is an example:

    CLIENT_Main (Folder) > Contains all client project from that year.
    Smith_John_N_Sue_Wedd (Folder) > Contains all files from this specific event.
    Smith_RAW_Orig_Wedd (Folder) > Contains only the RAW files from this event used with Lightroom
    Smith_Joh_Sue_Wedd_001.cr2 (RAW file) The individual file from the camera

    The clients folder (I.E. Smith_John_N_Sue_Wedd) contains ALL the files related to the event, digital documents, JPEGS for print, JPEGs for web, Photoshop files, etc. Each type has it’s own folder.

    All files are renamed with the client information contained within it for finding in spotlight, etc.
    I.E. Smith_Wedd_001.JPG

    Also, it is very important to develop the habit of using keywords in meta data to label images with further information. This way, you cn later look up across projects for related words, I.E Flowers, brides, ring, etc. May seem trivial now, but the reality is in a few years you will regret not doing it. This is the voice of experience speaking here! However, key wording is another topic altogether…

    This may seem a bit much, but all projects are easy to locate by date, project, subject, filename, type or client.

    Once this is established as a workflow, it is actually quite easy to maintain. Getting in the habit of doing it right the first time is the difficult part. However, I would recommend NOT going back and reorganizing past files and folders unless you absolutely must. There are far too many things that need structure and it will take too much time. Just start doing it right today with what ever system works for you and don’t look back!

    Hope this helps a little. Happy organizing!


    P.S. If you are intimidated by the detail of this and think it is not for you, I am a complete “creative-type-non-administrative-hate-paperwork” individual who can stand anything structured and “non-fun”. Use your imagination to develop a similar workflow that works for you.

  6. thank you very much for the prompt reply! I appreciate your comments about my website as well. Yes, I am using both Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom, they do great job in sorting out and finding images indeed!

    here is a wikipedia link of the names of the Greek gods and what they represend as well.


    My main computer is called Earth or Helios (sun) or Zeus and the rest of gods follow. There is a such a long list of gods you will never be bereft of choices…and every god or deity represents something or personifies and idea, so you can relate them…

    just think that even stars and constellations and asteroids in our solar system are named after them to consider the infinity of your options!! I am happy that I have inspired you, happy hard disk name sorting 🙂

  7. Calliope,
    Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. If my knowledge of Greek mythology was better, I would definitely consider that naming scheme. I take that back, I should use a scheme like that to learn more about Greek mythology.

    If you use Adobe’s Photoshop at all, Lightroom would be a good application to help you sort your images and to find them easily. You won’t even need to input dates. Lightroom enables you to find your images via EXIF dates that are on every digital image.

    I love the plugin you use on your site for your beautiful photos!

  8. I tend to name my hard drives after Greek mythology, and I find that I can have one hard drive for images, videos, music, documents. Besides these are the main files you can have in your pc, they only refer to some of your senses.

    the only thing I am worried about is the sorting of the files themselves since I am naming folders after events and not by date so, I presume at some point I will lose the plot, but I am not good with numbers anyway!!

  9. Well, my 24″ iMac (white) is playing server and main workhorse, so it’s on all the time. Then there’s an HP machine that’s on all the time. The other computers are notebooks so they may or may not be on but my MacBook is on most the time. The new HTPC (Home Theater PC) may take some of the workload off of my iMac. We could potentially pull 4 working computers out of the closet. (Two Centris 610 Macs, one blue tower G3 mac–that I saved from an apartment complex trash–and an eMachine Pentium 4)

    Oh yeah there’s only two people in the house. And I haven’t even mentioned the iPhones and iPods floating around.

  10. Jeff,
    Thanks for sharing. I’m starting to get like you. I have an G3 iMac which I need to get rid of. It’s still serviceable for internet and email but the infernal machine still keeps ticking. What can I say?

    So all the Macs are online on the network 24/7? It’s scary how I can have 4 people in the house and more computers than that at this point.

  11. I’ve named all (or at least almost all) my computers and hard drives after characters in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books. I never liked looking at the default names that Apple used. I use the same names for network shares. My girlfriend just ordered an new computer that we’ll be using for an HTPC, it will be the fifth actively used computer in the house. Yup, too many toys. 🙂 We don’t talk about the computers sitting the closet.

    On my main computer, I use Spotlight to search for files and I don’t have any problem finding anything I’m looking for.

  12. Steve,
    I didn’t even think about naming my hard drives either. After the 5th or 6th 250 GB hard drive, I realized I had better or I won’t be able to tell them apart.

    I’ll have to check out your suggestion about Google Desktop. I’m sure that’s something useful. Call me paranoid but I worry Google already knows too much.

  13. Have to confess that I’ve never named a hard drive. All 7 totalling over 2 terrabytes are whatever the host or attached computers want to call them. haven’t lost any files yet. Google Desktop is a wonderful thing!

  14. Hey David,
    That’s also a great idea. It’ll be a while before you run out of river names. Very nice work on your website btw. Thanks so much for sharing.

  15. I name my drives with river names that follow the alphabetic order, so that Congo is for C:, Danube for D:, Eridanus for E: and so on. Curiously rivers with F are scarce, but the Fraser in British Columbia is at least one.

  16. Very cool Brad. I considered that as well since I am a Star Trek fan. It’s just that the Bond franchise goes further back so has more “names.” “Intrepid” should be on your list then.

    Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.

  17. I name my computers and hard drives after Star Trek starships. My laptop is Voyager, my desktops are Enterprise and Defiant. My external hard drives are Reliant, Saratoga and Yonada (well, that wasn’t exactly a starship).



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