You Don’t Really Need Computer Backup Until You Do

computer backup reviews

Making sure your computer is backed up is a funny thing. It’s like storing extra drinking water in a closet at your house. It’s one of those things you hope you’ll never need but keep, just in case.

Since backup is something so many of us procrastinate, I thought it would be good to share a refresher on what makes a good backup plan.  I’m hoping that you will take time to review your current plan and/or add just one more thing to protect your files.

Reality is that it isn’t a matter of if you will need computer backup, but when. Getting a backup plan in place now ensures that when you need your files, they will be there.

Automatic Local Backup

The first step to backup is creating an automated local backup plan. This is usually accomplished with an external hard drive (EHD) attached directly to your computer. An important piece of this backup is automation which you can do with software.

Automated local backup happens regularly without you having to do anything besides set it up. Below are a few software options and helps you can use to set this up:

Syncback Pro (Windows)

Syncback tips (links to Syncback Pro tutorials & ebooks)

Syncback Screenshots (links to Syncback Pro screenshots)

Time Machine (Mac)

Time Machine Helps (links to Apple tutorials)

Automatic Off-Site Backup

This is the type of backup you really hope you’ll never need. It is the type of backup you will use when you can’t get access to your computer or local hard drive. This usually only happens in cases of fire, flood, theft or another type of disaster.

There are a few providers of off-site backup – I’ve used all of them at one time or another and my favorite is Backblaze for speed, ease of use and reliability. Keep in mind that you will want to choose the plan that works best with your configuration, internet speed, etc.  You can test many of these services. I recommend doing so before committing to a long term plan.


Crash Plan

Dolly Drive (Mac)




Manual Off-Site Backup (for slower internet connections or data limits)

There are situations where internet service agreements limit the amount of data transfer.  There are also situations where internet connections are slower and full backup online isn’t possible. In these cases I recommend using a second regular local EHD backup and storing it off-site (office, friend or relative’s home).

If this is the option you choose, you will need to set reminders and alarms in your calendar to remind you to switch the drives to provide the best possible backup.  Reality is you don’t want to go to your off site backup and realize the last time you backup up your photos was 6 months ago…

Lastly, if you don’t have an off-site location you trust you could also store it in a fire-proof safe. However, keep in mind that off-site backup is usually needed when you can’t access your home – so plan accordingly if possible.


A Few Thoughts on Backup

I wasn’t going to focus on backup for this month’s post until it became very personal for me. I’m writing this post from a hotel room I have shared with my family for the past seven days. Long story short is that our builder came into our home to repair some issues and chemically contaminated our house, making everyone sick. We barely had enough time to pack what we would need to wear – never mind trying to gather files or hard drives – we had to get out of the house.

photoTiming is everything and as soon as we couldn’t return I remembered all the files I needed on my hard drive – emails, tax documents that needed to be filed, etc. We honestly still don’t know if we would be out of our home for a couple days or weeks…

Then I remembered I could access the files via Backblaze. I logged into the site, selected the mail files I needed and within 20 minutes I had an email with a download link where I could restore them to the laptop computer I had with me. I can’t tell you how much assurance that brought me in a very uncertain time.

I’ve had my fair share of file mishaps over the years – mostly accidentally deleting files and restoring them from my Time Machine hard drive without missing a beat. However, I honestly never thought I would really need my off-site backup.

However, that is the point of backup – you don’t really need it until you do and then…  Just do yourself a favor – get something in place today and protect your most precious files and photos.

I sincerely hope you’ll never need it, but when you do, you’ll be so glad you were prepared.

About Kayla Lamoreaux

Kayla Lamoreaux is a memory keeper, corporate trainer and busy mom. With a limited amount of time and a desire to keep her digital life organized, she found a way to make technology do a lot of the work. She shares the things she learned about organizing photos, digital supplies and more at .

New Release | Suncatcher

Hello, friends! I hope you all enjoyed your Easter weekend – whether you celebrate Easter or not. We spent 4 days down in Indianapolis visiting Tom’s family for Easter. It’s been two years since we’ve managed to make it back down there (and over six years since we lived there, ourselves) and we spent a lot of time pointing out our car windows saying “That wasn’t there when we lived here, right?” Like most metro areas it changes a lot between visits.

I’ve added two new products to the shop today.  This digital scrapbooking collection is an homage to the little crystals my grandmother used to hang in her kitchen window. I remember mornings at the breakfast table spent mesmerized by the little specks of colors dancing around her kitchen. It’s the first thing that came to mind when I sat down to work because April’s BYOC color palette is ever-so-delightfully “spring” – it feels as though it’s infused with sunshine.

Like any product that takes shape from on a happy childhood memory, this one holds a special place in my heart.


Suncatcher | Digital Scrapbooking Collection | One Little Bird

Suncatcher | Digital Scrapbooking Collection | One Little Bird


Save 20% On These New Releases

All of the products in the April BYOC line are on sale, with additional Buy More, Save More discounts of up to an additional 30% off. Sale ends 04/7/2013.

Take Me Shopping!


Powerful Techniques | Dotting Your Line

Hello everyone.  It’s Christy here today with a video tutorial for you.  I’d like to show you how you can create a dotted line on your digital scrapbooking layouts.

The first time I tried to do this, I created a small circle and then duplicated it and moved the new one over so many times my fingers nearly fell off.  But I’m happy to say that I’ve since learned about the spacing option on the brush tool as well as a few tricks with the shift key that make dotted lines a cinch!

In this video I’ll show you the tricks!  I’m using Photoshop Elements, so if you have a different software program you may have to tweak the process to fit your program.

Here is the finished layout I was making in the video in case you want to see the dotted line in action.

Creating A Dotted Line On Digital Scrapbooking Layouts

Materials: So Major Kit and So Major Journaling Cards by One Little Bird Designs. Font is Tekton Pro.

Hope you have fun with this technique!

About Christy

I am a follower of Jesus. I am married to the most wonderful man, musician, teacher, husband, father. We have three amazing children: Michael, Jon, and Becca. These are all the loves of my life, followed closely by scrapbooking, computers, sign language, teaching, chocolate, and a coke! I am thrilled to be writing scrapbooking tutorials and posting here on the One Little Bird blog.

New Release | Stay Tuned

I can’t come up with a single acceptable excuse for why it has taken me so long to create products for documenting our television viewing habits. I am a certified television addict. My TiVo practically collapses in exhaustion at the end of every week. Most of them on Bravo.

Oh how I love my Bravo TV.

There is nothing like curling up on your couch with your TV remote in hand and a big bowl of snacks – it’s one of my favorite ways to unwind.  And my latest release Stay Tuned will help you record all of your TV-related information for the family album – whether it’s your own, personal guilty pleasures or your kids’ favorite shows.

Also new in the store are the coordinating Stay Tuned Journal Cards to use on your digital pages as elements and journaling prompts or for use in your Project Life albums. Both products are 20% off, but you can get the cards for free with the purchase of the kit. (Which is, like, 48% off ? It’s a screaming deal.)

Stay Tuned Digital Scrapbooking Kit

Stay Tuned Journaling Cards


Early Bird Savings

Purchase Stay Tuned by March 31, 2013 and you’ll save 20%–PLUS you’ll receive the Stay Tuned Journal Cards for free.  

Take Me Shopping!


Powerful Technique | Using Clipping Masks

Hi everyone.  It’s Christy here and I’m excited to share with you some tips for creating clipping masks for your digital scrapbooking pages.

Let me start by sharing with you that  I love using templates! I think they make my layouts look better and they keep me from staring at a blank page not knowing where to begin. In fact, I love them so much that when I’m not going to be using a template someone else created, I make a simple template myself before I begin a layout.  Basically this is done by drawing shapes on a page and using them as clipping masks for my pictures and papers.

There are two main reasons I use this process to start my layouts.  First, I love to clip pictures and papers to shapes to keep them adjustable.  I don’t have to crop the actual picture and I can always swap out papers as I’m working on the layout.  Second, I have trouble visualizing the layout when I add pictures. papers, and elements to the page and try to move them around.  I can never seem to get it to look right.  However, if I start with just basic shapes I’m able to move them around and play with them to get a look I like before adding all the jumble of colors and patterns.

I wanted to share with you some tips I’ve learned along the way in creating clipping masks.  I’m using Photoshop Elements 11, so if you have a different software program you may need to adjust the directions a bit for your program.


Using Clipping Masks in Photoshop Elements PSE

TIP 1 | There are many different shape options.

When you click on the shape tool in the left tool bar a bunch of different shapes will appear at the bottom.  (In older versions of PSE the shape options appear along the top.) Let me zoom in on the shapes to share six of them with you.

Using Clipping Masks in Photoshop Elements PSE

1) Custom: A menu with many different shape options will appear

2) Rectangle   3) Rounded rectangle

4) Oval  5) Polygon   6) Star

Note that with the polygon and star you will be asked to enter a number of sides you want, so these shapes are very customizable.

Using Clipping Masks in Photoshop Elements PSE

TIP 2 | Use the shift key and duplicate options.

To draw any of the shapes you simply click with your mouse on the canvas, hold down the button, and drag to draw the shape.  If you hold the shift key down while you do this you can keep the proportions equal.  This is an easy way to use the rectangle tool to draw a perfect square or the oval tool to draw a circle.  If you want multiple shapes to be exactly the same size, you can draw one shape and then go to “Layer – Duplicate layers” to make additional copies of it.


Using Clipping Masks in Photoshop Elements PSE

TIP 3 | Use your arrow keys to space the shapes.

You can move your shapes anywhere on the page, but it can sometimes be difficult to space them evenly.  One quick way to do this is to line them all up next to each other.  Newer versions of PSE will automatically snap them together when you drag them close.  Then select one shape and use the arrow keys on you keyboard to move it over, counting how many times you click the key.  Click the arrow key the same number of times between each shape.  Note that if you zoom in or out on your layout your arrow keys will move shapes different amounts, so if you clicked one shape three times to the right and then zoomed in and clicked the next shape three times right they will not be evenly spaced.


Using Clipping Masks in Photoshop Elements PSE

TIP 4 |  Pay attention to the radius when using the rounded rectangle.

When you choose the rounded rectangle option a box titled “Radius” will appear.  This controls how big the rounded corner will be.  Enter a smaller number for a corner that is barely rounded or a larger number for a large round to your corner.


TIP 5 | Create a little or a lot.

Use clipping masks to help you.  You can use them just for your pictures or you can add more for a bunch of papers too.  Play around with them and get the look you want for your layout.  If you really want to plan out your layout you can add shapes as place holders for elements too.

Using Clipping Masks in Photoshop Elements PSE

TIP 6 | Add color and shadow.

If you are like me and enjoy planning out a layout in simple colors and shapes first, you may want to add different colors to your shapes so you can see them all, especially when they are overlapping.  It can also be helpful to add shadows to them so that they give you more of the look your finished layout will have.


I hope you found these tips fun and helpful.  Here is the finished layout I did with these clipping masks.


Materials: Crazy for You (papers and elements) by One Little Bird Designs. Font is Tekton Pro.

About Christy

I am a follower of Jesus. I am married to the most wonderful man, musician, teacher, husband, father. We have three amazing children: Michael, Jon, and Becca. These are all the loves of my life, followed closely by scrapbooking, computers, sign language, teaching, chocolate, and a coke! I am thrilled to be writing scrapbooking tutorials and posting here on the One Little Bird blog.

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