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Cloud vs Hard Drive backup
April 17, 2017
3:52 pm
Forum Posts: 2257
Member Since:
July 2, 2010
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Q From Mel: I started with Picasa and have since converted to Google Photos which I love. I am slowly transferring all of my photos from multiple external hard drives to Google Photos and then deleting them. My concern is the safety of Google Photos in the cloud. Does Google Photos keep multiple copies of my photos. What if something happens to their server facility. Should I keep a local copy of my photos? Is there a convenient way to backup photos after they are entered into Google Photos OR is this unnecessary? Perhaps you have addressed this subject. If so please direct me to it. Thank You 

A: Great question! First of all, if your pictures start out on an external hard drive, I see no reason to delete them once you’ve uploaded to Google Photos. Your originals are your best backup.

Google’s servers are replicated in several ways and are very safe and secure … BUT … there’s always something! The danger usually comes from us users mistakenly deleting stuff. Or there can be messups with accounts. Truly lost photos are getting rarer and rarer – I generally trust Google to keep all of my photos safe. But, just in case, I want extra copies of my best photos. I know my best by the monthly albums I make.

Here’s what I wrote in my book:


Mrs. Geek’s Guide to Google Photos, page 84:

The pictures I have stored in my Google Photos cloud are much safer than
the ones on my computer, or even on my external hard drives.
Computers and hard drives can be lost, destroyed, or damaged.
Very little can go wrong with your Google storage. And
since it is unlimited and free, you don’t even have to worry about an
expired credit card closing down your account. I am almost OK
with Google Photos being my only copy.
Downloading Albums
I take hundreds of pictures every month. I put my best 50-80
into an album for that month. I like to know that those 50-80
best pictures exist in more than one place. I accomplish this by
downloading them from my Google Photos to my computer.
There are a couple ways of doing this:
1.My favorite way is using Picasa on my computer. Click File,
Import from Google Photos. I click “Import Selected
Albums” and find the desired album name. Then click OK.
I especially like this method because any descriptions added
to photos using Google Photos are downloaded as photo
captions in Picasa.
2.You may not have Picasa, and since Picasa is retired
software I can’t promise that the link to Google Photos will
always work. Using Google Photos, you can select an album,
click the 3-dot menu and choose Download All. This will put
the pictures on your computer’s hard drive in whatever
folder you specify. It will be in Zip file format, and you will
need to unzip it to see the pictures. You will also find that
any metadata like location and descriptions have not made
the trip.
3. You can also download pictures one by one. That way you
don’t get a .zip file. Just open a picture, click the 3-dot menu
and choose Download. You still don’t get the caption
You might also want to read a couple of my articles in the blog:
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