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If you've ever had the unfortunate experience of having a hard drive crash or perhaps losing a laptop, then you know how important it is to have one, or even more than one, reliable backup. And that's particularly important when you're talking about your photos because they are irreplaceable. If you've been using Elements' Organizer to organize your photos, you want to back up not only the photographs themselves, but also the catalog, because the catalog contains all the information that you worked so hard to add to your photos, like keyword tags and inclusion in albums.
So even if you use other third-party software to back up your computer, I'd recommend that you also use the Backup command that you'll find in the File menu in the Organizer. Of course first you want to attach an external hard drive to back up to or perhaps insert a DVD or CD, and once you've done that, go to the File menu and choose Backup Catalog to CD, DVD or Hard Drive. Now if you're on a Mac you won't have the choice to back up to CD or DVD; you can only back up to an external or internal hard drive.
If you've moved any photos or other media files in your Organizer since they were imported into the Organizer then you'll see a message like this, suggesting that you reconnected those files to the Organizer. I think that's a good idea, but in the interest of time here I'm just going to click Continue. In the next window if this is the first time that you've made a backup choose Full Backup, and that will copy all of your photos and other media files, as well as your catalog. In the future, you can make a faster incremental backup, which will copy just the current version of the catalog and any new or modified photos only since the last backup.
I'm going to choose Full Backup and click Next. In the next window I'll select the destination for my backup files. I'm going to select this external hard drive that I've attached to my computer. If I want to back up to a particular folder on that drive, I can click the Browse button to the right of Backup Path, and browse to that folder. When I'm ready, I'll click Save Backup to start the backup. When the backup is done, I'll get this message that the backup was completed successfully and I'll click OK.
Now if I ever need to make use of my backup in the event that my hard drive crashes for example, I can restore all the files in that backup, including the catalog, by going up to the File menu in the Elements' Organizer and choosing Restore Catalog from CD, DVD or Hard Drive. And this can be a real lifesaver, so I urge you to use the Organizer's Backup command to regularly back up your Organizer catalog, your photos, and other media files.
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