Feb 112011

Question: I need to transfer my complete Picasa library from my desk top computer to my new laptop computer.   Suggestions?

Great question!  I know a lot of people are getting new computers these days, and Picasa can make it very easy to transfer all your pictures if you do it right.  What you do is make a complete backup of your pictures on your desk top computer, then restore that backup to your new laptop.  Use Picasa’s backup tool to do this.  You will need a USB drive to do this.  A thumb drive will do if it has enough capacity, otherwise you’ll need an external hard drive.  Picasa will inform you how much capacity you need.

You can use a thumb drive if it has enough free spaceimage

Otherwise, you can use an external hard drive.


Step one: Using Picasa’s Backup Tool

While you’re viewing your complete Picasa Library on your old computer, click on the Tools menu, then ‘Backup Pictures’.  At the bottom of your screen, you will see some backup options in two steps:

  1. Create a Set or Use an Existing One
  2. Choose Folders and Albums to Backup

For #1, on the left, choose ‘New Set.’  You should see the following dialog box.  Make sure to check Disk-to-Disk backup and then Choose… to get the drive letter of your USB drive.  Mine is I:

Click Create.


Now, under #2: Choose folders and albums to backup, click the Select All button.  This may take a few seconds.  When it’s done, Picasa will report to you the size of the combined files.  Make sure your USB device is large enough to hold all of it.  In my case, I would need a device with at least 85.6 GB of free space.  You may want to use disks (CDs or DVDs) for this, then you will have a permanent archival copy of all your pictures as well.  I am recommending USB drives because of the potential space necessary.  There’s no way that I’m going to sit there and feed it 20 DVDs!  If you want to use disks, you would need to change the option in #1 above.


When it’s ready, click the Backup button.  If your Backup button is grayed out, it probably means you don’t have enough free space on the destination drive.

It is important to use Picasa’s Backup tool rather than some other kind of backup because Picasa will also backup your Album definitions, Face recognitions, and other Picasa-specific data and settings.

Restore to your New Laptop in Original Locations

When the backup procedure is completed, you can take the USB drive to your new computer.  After you plug it in, it should automatically run the restore program.

If it doesn’t automatically do this, then you’ll need to navigate on your USB drive to the Picasa backup location, find the file named PicasaRestore.exe and double click on it.

Make sure to Restore files in Original Locations.  This is important if you want your Albums to be restored correctly.  Remember, Albums are just pointers to the actual pictures.  The pointers won’t work if the pictures aren’t in the same places.


Click Next, then click Restore Files.  In just a minute, your entire library will be recreated on your new computer.

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Moving Folders Among Multiple Hard Drives

Backup your Photos to CDBackup Monthly to Disk (CD or DVD)


Nov 252008

The more pictures you take, the more your hard drive will fill up. USB hard drives are a great solution these days. The prices just keep dropping. I bought a 250 Gigabyte USB hard drive about 6 months ago and it cost about $120. I recently saw a 500 Gb drive advertised for $110!

What most people ask about is how to move their pictures from the computer to the external hard drive without losing all their work in Picasa.

Picasa 3 now makes it easy with the ‘Move Folder’ command. Just right-click on the folder, and choose ‘Move Folder…’ Select a folder on the hard drive as the destination, and you’re done.

From now on, whenever the hard drive is attached to the computer, Picasa will see all the pictures in the specified folder. If it’s not plugged in, it won’t see the photos. But, unlike a network drive, Picasa won’t have to re-find them the next time. As soon as you plug in the hard drive – the corresponding folder will appear!

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