Jun 282011

Backup!  Backup!  Backup!  Your pictures are priceless – you don’t want your only copy to be on a computer which is subject to getting lost, destroyed, or crashed.  Whatever method you use to backup is better than nothing, but I want to tell you why I always back up my pictures to disks that can be stored away for years.  You can use CDs if your pictures will fit.  DVDs have over 5 times the capacity of CDs, so if you take a lot of pictures like I do, you’ll want to use DVDs.  Any name brand is fine and –R or +R are OK.


Disaster Recovery Backup vs Archival Backup

If you use an online backup service, or backup to an external hard drive, they will be of great help if your computer should crash and you need to recover from that disaster by restoring everything that was on your computer when it crashed.  But there is another reason for backups called ‘Archival’ backup.

I make a backup of my pictures every month … well, ok, sometimes a few months go by before I get around to it … but all the pictures I take during a month do get backed up to a disk.  I keep those backup disks on a spindle (see picture above) and store them in a cool dry cupboard for years.  An archive is a long-term history of data, in this case, pictures.  The spindle in the picture above contains CDs and DVDs going back to the beginning of our RV travels in 2004.  Then I have another spindle for years before that.

If my computer should crash, I would not use these disks.  I have a disaster recovery backup of everything on my computer – I use the ClickFree external hard drive – that serves that purpose.  My ClickFree is constantly backing up *everything* currently on my computer, including pictures.  Most of the pictures on my backup DVDs aren’t even on my computer anymore.  I’m on my fourth laptop since 2004!

Restoring to an External Hard Drive

I like to have all of my pictures available to me, but I don’t want them taking up all that space on my computer.  I have past years’ pictures located on an external hard drive and Picasa can include that in it’s library simply by marking it as ‘Scan Always’ in the Folder Manager.  Today I was reviewing some pictures for a project and noticed that November and December of 2007 were missing.  I have no idea why – that was 4 years and 2 computers ago!  But, I was confident that I had those pictures in my archives.  I found the disks and put them in the disk drive.  When asked if I wanted to restore I did not choose ‘Original Locations’ because that would put them in the My Pictures folder of the computer’s hard drive.  Instead, I chose ‘This folder’ and clicked the ‘change’ button to locate the proper folder on my external hard drive.


So now I have all my pictures since I started taking digital pictures (1999) on my external hard drive and showing up in Picasa.  Yet, I don’t need to worry about that hard drive failing or getting lost because I have my archives on disk!

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger or with friends on Facebook. You can subscribe to our free e-newsletters, orbecome a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

Need help backing up? Members may want to view the following tutorial videos.  Not a member?  Join now.


Backup to External Hard Drive

Move folders of pictures to an external drive

  12 Responses to “Picasa Tip: Why I Backup to CD/DVD”

  1. Hi. I know this is an old article, but I feel I need to warn you and your readers about the life span of home CDs and DVDs. I used to believe they were invincible, too, until I discovered that a 4 year old DVD I’d burned with videos became corrupted. After a little research, I discovered that their lifespans are very short, especially for cheap brands. The dye used in these discs move over time. After a few years, the computer can’t read them anymore. Verbatim Data Life Plus is what I use, they’re the best you can get, but I’d only bet they’ll last 7-10 years. The way I do priceless backups is this: Both a disc copy and an external hard drive in my firebox and an encrypted cloud backup. That way, you’re covered in 3 different ways. Hope this info helps someone and spares them from the same disaster that almost cost me important videos.

  2. […] articles in this website preach about backing up your pictures from your computer. (Picasa Tip: Why I Backup to CD/DVD, Have you Backed up your Pictures Lately?, Backp! Backup! Backup!, Don’t Delete your Original […]

  3. Backup, yes. But how long, do you think, will CD and DVD disks last?

  4. I noticed that all the ClickFree drives say USB 3 All my computers (7 of them) are usb 2 or firewire (on 2 ) Will these units work with my computers? Alex Harvey, Windsong Way the Great Out Doors Titusville

  5. Chris i’ve been taking digital pics a long time also and have them on cd’s and dvd’s on a spindle…….once a year i give my three girls a family disk of that year…..i’ve got lots of backup.
    keep up the good work.

  6. As usual a great post. Back up! Back up! Back up! I learned the hard way. I hate backing up on DVDs; instead I back up to 2 hard drives, a 1T and now a 3T. I have all my photos on both drives. In the future I also plan to back up everything to the clouds.

  7. I have used picasa for years too. as I have moved through time and computers I have ended up with lots of duplicate pictures. I have used duplicate file finder programs and the display duplicates in picasa. Is there anything that could help or do you have a suggestion?

  8. So, your Picasa photos are backed up in 2 places…. what about the original photos?

    • The Backup process *does* backup the original photos … and also any edits Picasa has made.

  9. Thank you for the tips. I’ve been using Picasa for a long time and I had to stumble thru the process.

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