How to Back Up Your Digital Photos to DVD or CD in Windows Vista

With Windows Vista, creating a CD or DVD backup of your digital photos is a snap. Thanks to digital cameras, people have more photographs than ever. And for most of us, 95% of those pictures are only on the computer. If that computer dies (and they all do eventually), will you have any record of your precious memories?

When many people think of backing up their data, they're thinking about their work files or their financial data. But when emergencies happen, what is the one thing that you always hear? "I can't believe I lost all my family photos." Don’t lose all your digital memories because you didn’t back them up. Head to the computer or office-supply store and pick up a stack of blank CDs or DVDs that match your PC’s drive.

Follow these steps to backup every item in your Pictures folder.

  1. Open your Pictures folder from the Start menu and click the Burn button.

    Vista asks you to insert a blank disc into your drive.

  2. Insert a blank CD or DVD into your writable disc drive.

    A DVD can store five times as much information as a CD, so insert a DVD into your DVD burner. No DVD burner? Insert a blank CD, instead.

  3. Type a name for your backup disc and click Next.

    Type today’s date and the words Photo Backup. Vista begins backing up all your photos to your CD or DVD.

Unfortunately, if you have more photos than will fit on a single CD or DVD, Windows Vista isn’t smart enough to tell you when to insert the second disc. Instead, it whines about not having enough room and stops in its tracks. If this is happening to you, you have a couple of choices.

  • You can break your Pictures folder down into separate folders (by date, event, location, etc.) Then you can back up the folders separately. Remember, the type of DVD you purchased will determine how much it will hold. A single-sided, single-layer DVD holds around 4.7 GB, and single-sided double-layer DVD holds about 8.54 GB. So, just look at the amount of space for each folder and you should be able to tell whether you can break down the pictures into small enough folders.

  • You can go to the Backup and Restore Center and use Vista’s much smarter Backup program, which has the smarts to split your backup between several discs. Choose Hard Disk, CD, or DVD as the location for your backup files. If you have more than one hard drive, you'll be asked to choose which drives to include in the backup. Next you will be asked what types of files it should look for. Choose Pictures. Next, it will ask how often you want the back up to occur. To start the backup, click Save Settings and Start Backup Now.

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