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To protect your photos as well as your Organizer catalog with all the organizing information it contains about your photos, I strongly recommend that you back up regularly. Backing up is crucial to protect against computer crashes, theft, fire or other disaster. You can backup directly to an external hard drive, you can also backup online if you're a member of Photoshop.com. Let's talk about how to back up to a hard drive. You are going to want to use Elements Backup command to do this rather than third-party software so that you get a backup from which you can restore not only your photos but also the Elements catalog which contains all the tags, collections and other organizing information that you spend so much time adding to photos and Elements.
The first step in backing up is, of course, to attach and turn on an external drive that's big enough to hold all of the photos that you've included in the Organizer catalog that you're backing up. On Windows, you do have the option to back up to CDs or DVDs rather than a hard drive. But I don't recommend backing up to CDs or DVDs because just one disc is probably not big enough and it's just not comfortable to have to switch up multiple CDs and DVDs to back up an entire catalog. Mac users, you don't even have the option to back up to CDs and DVDs.
Mac users can only back up from Elements to a drive. The second step is to go up to the File menu and from there to choose Backup Catalogue to CD, DVD or Hard Drive. That opens the Backup Options dialog box. The first time that I backup, I'll choose Full Backup and as explained here, this will copy everything from the current catalog. In the future, when I backup, I have the option to choose Incremental Backup and that will copy just new or changed files since the last backup.
But for this first backup, I will choose Full Backup and then I click Next. Here, I'll select the drive of my computer to which I've attached my external drive. That happens to be my E drive that may be different for you. If I want to backup to a particular folder on that drive, I can go to the backup path field here and click Browse to go to that folder. I am just going to backup to the top level of that drive. My other options are grayed out; if they were available, I could type in a name for the backup and then I'll click Save Backup. That's all there is to it.
When I have the message that the backup was completed successfully, I'll click OK. Now, if I ever want to restore the photos and the catalog that I backed up to the external drive, I'll attach the drive and I'll turn it on and I'll go up to File and down to Restore Catalog from CD, DVD or hard drive. So, do backup regularly and often and also consider making a second backup to the online service Photoshop.com.
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