Sep 152009

by Chris Guld of Geeks on Tour:

I sometimes feel like a broken record, telling people to backup their photos.  Just when I figure that *everyone* has the idea and I can rest, I read something like this post in the Picasa Help Group where someone lost 15,000 photos when their computer crashed.  !?#!!??@!!

How can anyone possibly collect that many pictures without at some point wondering, “What would happen if my computer crashed, or it got stolen, or it fell out of the car, or it burned up in a fire or … “

One of the biggest reasons that I recommend Picasa so highly is that it makes backups SO easy.  First, let me make sure we understand each other with the term ‘Backup.’  It means having a copy of your photos somewhere separate from your computer.  These are for emergency purposes.  I recommend using CD-Rs or DVD-Rs.  I buy the discs in bulk, they come 50 to a spindle.  I make a backup every month, of that month’s photos.  Then I put the backup discs on an old spindle and keep them in a cupboard.  I’ve been backing up photos and other important files this way for over 10 years.  I had occasion to look thru some of the older backup discs the other day, and the pictures were in perfect shape.

Here’s a step-by-step of how you might back up Pictures, using Picasa, for a whole year:

  1. Tools, Backup Pictures
  2. Click ‘New Set’ give it a name of 2009
  3. Check the box next to every folder of pictures in 2009 (that’s easy for me because I store all my pictures in folders by month)
  4. Picasa reports that I’ve selected 4,347 files and I’ll need 18 CDs or 3 DVDs.  I choose DVDs ( I use the DVD-R type)
  5. Put a DVD in the drive and click ‘Burn’
  6. Wait until it completes that DVD.  It will spit it out and display a message requesting the second DVD.  Then it repeats for the third.
  7. When it’s all completed, label the disks with a Sharpie marker then take the disks to another computer to test them.  There’s nothing worse than thinking you have good backups and finding out much later (when you need them) that they didn’t process correctly.  When you first put them in the drive, you should be prompted to do a Restore.  You don’t want to restore, you just want to look and see that the pictures are there, so cancel the restore prompt.  What you want to do is ‘Explore’ or ‘Open Folder to View Files.’  If you see that option, just choose it.  If not, you can go to My Computer and right click on the DVD drive, then choose Explore.  You should see a folder called $My Pictures. That’s where all your photos are. (Tutorial Videos:Backup your Photos to CD)

Do it!  Do it now!  Here’s a very short video I made a while back that goes thru the process:

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