Tag Archives: backup

Data Backup Has Never Been This Simple

Experienced computer users harp on this, and we have for years. Do a backup of your data. Do the backups often. It just prevents so many disasters.

Think for a minute and consider the dilemma in which you would find yourself if everything on the hard drive was gone. Absolutely everything can be inaccessible if there is a hard drive failure. It becomes a ‘situation critical’.

Think also if your laptop, netbook or even your desktop were stolen. It would be another disaster situation.

The time and possible money lost could be considerable. And we are trying to prevent these sort of disasters from happening to any of our readers. There are some things on your computer, like pictures, that simply are irreplaceable. You want to protect those files and you do so by doing a backup of your data. What would happen if you lost all those class lectures notes on your laptop?

Disasters happen to all of us who have spent much time on the computer. Hard drives do fail – and will fail. It doesn’t matter what brand it is. And the manufacturer’s guarantee will be meaningless because you just want your data back. The manufacturer’s guarantee will be the last thing on your mind because you will be focused on retrieving your data. That can be an expensive job, if it is even possible. You will want your data files, all your music, all your pictures, all your software… everything back.

All that aggravation can be prevented. For your own security, prepare for a hard drive failure now. No, don’t wait. Really, don’t wait. Do the backups now; do copies regularly. Some people do a daily backup. And if the information on your hard drive is really important, do multiple backup copies. Here is a program that will do this for you. It is the well known Acronis True Image Program. The backup can be done easily:

“Acronis True Image Home 2010 meets home user needs with a simple, yet comprehensive, backup and disaster recovery solution. This is a unique consumer software, providing a full set of advanced features in an affordable and easy-to-use solution.”

This is the latest version of the Acronis True Image Program. It was released just recently. It is fine with Windows 7. We have worked really really hard and secured a terrific discount for our readers. A twenty dollar ($20.00) discount is significant. That is a forty per cent discount! From now until January 31, 2010, you can save twenty dollars on this excellent, award winning program.

Use this program to protect your data. The backup can save you beyond a hard drive disaster. It can help if you have a bad computer infection. If you have a virus or malware problem, you will have an extra layer of protection. Restoration of a clean system can be simple. Just make sure that you are making a copy when your computer is free from malware, spyware and other infections. Otherwise, you will be replicating the problem. And you can find in our archives the security programs that we recommend. Don’t risk what you have on that hard drive. Acronis is an excellent layer of security and you want to make it a regular habit of using it. And this program is easy to use.

The time that you spend doing a backup is that “ounce of prevention”. It is well worth your time. Ask anyone who has spent time with a computer. Disasters will happen. You don’t want to start doing backups because you learned ‘the hard way’. Learn from other people’s mistakes. We have made those goofs. There are many experienced computer users with horror stories of lost data. That’s one computing experience that you do not want to have. This Acronis True Image Program will save you from having horror stories like that to tell.

Solar Power Battery Charger


Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

Aside from communicating with the opposite sex, what is a Geek’s greatest fear? I’d have to say it would be the fear of losing power! We are always worried about our batteries dying just when we need them most! Due to this, I spent a bit of my own money to buy a Solio Universal Solar Hybrid Charger. That’s right… it can charge from the Sun!! It also has a proprietary cable (ARGH!) that you can use, as well, in case you happen to live where the Sun never shines.

I can use the Solio to charge any number of things, including my iPod. I had to buy some iGo tips to attach to the end of the cable, but it worked like a charm. The Solio, by the way, is compatible with the Universal iGo tip system for use with hundreds of different portable electronics. I can leave the Solio sitting on a windowsill in order to keep it full of juice. It won’t charge as fast that way as it would if it were outside.

It takes about four hours in the Sunlight for the Solio to obtain about 2 hours worth of talk time on a cell phone! So, 5 minutes will give me about 15% of battery life. That’s not too bad, eh? What a great (and economic!) way to charge things!!

I will absolutely be carrying this with me from now on. If I happen to run out of battery, I will hopefully be able to find my way to the Sun!

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code or download the video:

Online Backup Service Review

This review was sponsored by KeepVault. Editorial was completed without sponsor intervention.

Hardware crashes can – and will – happen to you at some point. It’s inevitable, and often unpredictable. You could be thinking to yourself that you’re safe. After all, your computer is fairly new, right? Or perhaps it’s not “acting funny” in any way. That means everything will stay working, doesn’t it? You sadly couldn’t be more wrong – in both cases. When a hard drive dies, there is often no warning signs, nor funny noises and symptoms. It just… dies. What would you do if you try to turn on your computer one morning, and nothing happens? Where are all of your files?

There are many cases where data cannot be retrieved from a dead disk. All of your work, homework, photos, music and files are simply gone. Everything you’ve done, and all you have saved – poof. Why are you taking that kind of chance? There are so many options available to help back up your information, which you should be doing on a regular basis… even daily. KeepVault is one of the best online backup services that I’ve come across.

With KeepVault, you can protect an unlimited number of computers in your home or office. That’s right – for one price, your entire family can share an account to keep your information safe. Most other services only allow you to back up one machine, charging you more for each additional computer (or requiring separate accounts entirely for each of them). For about $4.00 per month, your family can share a 40GB online storage account! This storage amount is expandable up to 5TB, with the cost adjusted accordingly.

For maximum data protection, KeepVault can take your uploaded backups and create a local backup onto a USB flash drive or hard drive. Your information is fully encrypted before transmission to the KeepVault servers to keep them completely safe from others.

The best part of KeepVault is that it is automatic. You won’t forget to back up. Once it is installed, your system is monitored by their software and backups are automagically created for new or changed files!

You have the chance to get a free 40GB KeepVault account if you tweet out the following:

Hey @KeepVault – I want to start backing up my data online, too! http://go.tagjag.com/keepvault

They’ll be giving away five of them before the week is out. Good luck!

Do you seriously want to keep risking your data, information and memories? KeepVault is a simple – and very affordable – way to ensure you will never lose a single thing on your computer… no matter what silly things your hardware may try to do.

Keep Your Computer in Tip-Top Shape


Add to iTunes | Add to YouTube | Add to Google | RSS Feed

The folks at PC PitStop have been a tremendous help to our community during the time we’ve been doing live streaming. We contribute videos to their newsletters as often as possible, and they contribute to all of you via excellent and exclusive deals on their software!

Optimize 3.0 is a program that I would recommend even if these folks weren’t a part of our team. It’s honestly that good. Optimize 3.0 is a powerful tool that does a lot to boost the speed, stability and security of your computer.

You can schedule Optimize remotely to run on any computer in the World that you have access to. Use it to kill unneeded processes that eat up memory and CPU cycles, which in turn speeds up your boot times! Optimize automatically gets rid of junk files for you, to reduce excessive hard drive clutter.

PC Pitstop has now introduced a new (and still free!) product that is going to blow away previous offerings they’ve had. PC Matic is a single piece of software that combines FIVE of their other programs into one nice scanning bundle!

PC Matic includes Optimize 3.0, Disk MD, Driver Alert, Exterminate and OverDrive!! By running a simple scan using PC Matic, you’ll receive easy-to-understand reports about your computer, including:

  • High and Low Threat Security
  • Fragmentation Analysis
  • Drivers
  • Junk Files
  • System Specs
  • Internet Tweaks
  • World Rank
  • Registry Tests

One other awesome feature to point out is that all of the scan and clean results are stored on the PC PitStop servers. They can be viewed from any computer, not just the computer on which the functions were performed. The results can also be sent to you via email, in order to easily manage all of your computers from one place.

The bottom line is that we couldn’t continue doing what we do without the help of our partners, such as PC PitStop. We appreciate each and every one of you, and the support you give to our community as a whole.

Want to embed this video on your own site, blog, or forum? Use this code:

Backup Security and Synchronizing (even for Macs!)

You’ve seen us repeatedly say to back up your files. When someone has computer problems, one of the first questions that we ask is whether there is a backup of the important files. You would be surprised at how many people do not have a backup. And there is no reason for that lapse in security.

Computers will fail. Hard drives will stop working. Disasters will happen, so we are going to make this backup routine very easy. We have an offer for our readers from GoodSync. This program has had good reviews and we agree. It is easy to use and it is effective:

GoodSync will automatically back up and synchronize all your important files so you never need to worry about losing your emails, precious family photos, contacts, MP3s, and financial documents. GoodSync works locally – between desktops, laptops, servers, and external drives, but it is also capable of backing up and syncing files to and from remote servers using FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, and more.

This program will work with Windows XP/2003 Server/Vista and yes, Windows 7.

And yes there’s a Mac Version.

For the sake of full disclosure, we tested the pay-for version extensively. The Mac version was not tested by our reviewers.

[rsslist:http://coupons.lockergnome.com/cgi-bin/feed/rss-custom-feed.pl?swap_ids=1&search_method=stores&stores=1252303217&category=&search_string=&date=0&all_coupons_per_store=1]

Find Coupons for over 1200 Stores

Are You a Pack Rat?

I’ve noticed lately that I seem to save things that most people would simply throw out. I have software that dates back so far, it wouldn’t even install on any computers I currently own. Seriously – some of it is that old! I have cables and cords that won’t fit any plugs. I have clothing that went out of style more than a decade ago. It’s time to face it… I am a pack rat.

However, I just can’t pitch this stuff. There are people who don’t have clothing that I could donate mine to. There are people who have and use older computers, who may be able to use this software. Heck, there might even be someone – some where – who can use some of these damn cords that are lying around!!

My point is, if you’re a pack rat it’s time to clean out. But don’t just throw it all away, guys. Take time to figure out who may really need what it is you no longer want/wear/need. You may just make a big difference in someone’s life, by taking a few moments to donate what you need to get rid of, anyway.

I went through a lot of things today, and wore myself out. I had to take a sanity break to check out what’s going on in our community. It’s a darn good thing I did, or you might have missed out on some of it yourself!

Our downloads team has been working very hard to keep updating the new and hot apps that are available. I hope you’re taking advantage of the savings they’ve found!

Also – the holidays are right around the corner. Our coupon guru is hard at work as well, making sure he’s getting the best and biggest coupons there are! Keep the coupons page bookmarked.. you’ll definitely want to check there often during the next few months!

Simple Backups Can Save You Time and Money

It should be a simple rule that every computer user should follow: back up your data. It is not a matter of “if” your computer will give you problems. It is a matter of “when.” This applies to everyone. Students, for example, should back up regularly. Your whole academic year, with notes, papers, presentation, lecture material and other necessary things are on that laptop and/or desktop. And of course, there are the music, games and other personal stuff there too. If a hard drive fails, your academic year can be put in jeopardy. This is only one example. Everyone has important material on the computer.

Disasters happen to all of us who have spent much time on the computer. Hard drives do fail – and will fail. It doesn’t matter what brand it is. And the manufacturer’s guarantee will be meaningless because you just want your data back. If you do not have a backup of your data, everything can be gone. This means all your data files, all your music, all your pictures, all your software… everything.

Imagine, for example, all the time, energy and frustration to find all the registration codes of that software that used to be working just fine. Recovering from a hard drive failure can be expensive. Salvaging data from a failed drive might cost hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of dollars. And even then, there are no guarantees that the hard drive recovery specialists can be successful.

All that aggravation can be prevented. Prepare for a hard drive failure now. No, don’t wait. Really, don’t wait. Do the backups now; do copies regularly. And if the information on your hard drive is really important, do multiple backup copies. Here is a program that will do this for you. It is the well known Acronis True Image Program. The backup can be done easily:

Acronis True Image Home 2010 meets home user needs with a simple, yet comprehensive, backup and disaster recovery solution. This is a unique consumer software, providing a full set of advanced features in an affordable and easy-to-use solution.

This is the latest version of the Acronis program. It was released just recently. We tried to secure a good discount and managed to have them knock off a few dollars. Since this is program is so new, even a few dollars off is a victory. From now until October 7, 2009, you can save a few dollars on this excellent program.

Use this program to protect your data. The backup can save you beyond a hard drive disaster. It can help if you have a bad computer infection. If you have a virus or malware problem, you will have an extra layer of protection. Restoration of a clean system can be simple. Just make sure that you are making a copy when your computer is free from malware, spyware and other infections. Otherwise, you will be replicating the problem. And you can find in our archives the security programs that we recommend. Don’t risk what you have on that hard drive. Acronis is an excellent layer of security and you want to make it a regular habit of using it.

And don’t think that doing backups is a waste of time. When you have a critical failure on your computer, you will pat yourself on the back for being smart and having a recent backup.

Should You Create a Partition?

It is surprising how strongly some people feel about the issue of partitioning or not. Voices are raised – faces become a bit redder – language becomes a bit more colorful. If you are from the school of thought that partitioning is absolutely not necessary, please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Your point of view is valuable and should be considered.

This presentation, however, will favor partitioning. There will be some of us who will remember the days when, for example, a 3GB hard drive on your laptop was considered to be “state of the art”, and the cost of that machine was several thousand dollars. Now, that seems archaic, and the hard drives increasingly grow in size – and some are partitioned.

One of the best arguments on the side of partitioning was given by Mitch Tulloch, in an article for Microsoft. The three major points that Mitch basis his argument are:

  • partitioning organizes work
  • partitioning safeguards the data
  • partitioning increases the computer’s performance

One of the points is that Mitch makes is: At the end of each month, I copy last month’s Archive subfolders to CD, label it by date, and put it somewhere safe. That way I have last month’s backup ready if both my hard disks fail from a lightning bolt hitting my office, or my computer is infected with a virus, or a thief steals my computer. Needless to say, the security programs should be run to make certain that the back-up is not infected.

One of the most popular and well-used partitioning programs is Acronis Disk Director Suite. It has won industry recommendations and users’ praise.

The Acronis Disk Management and Partitioning program is easy to use and effective. It supports Windows (NT 4, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista). And, until July 22, 2009, the Acronis people are offering our readers an amazing thirty per cent (30%) discount.

This program is a CNET Editors’ Choice Award winner: A suite of utilities that will keep your hard disk healthy. An excellent set of tools that will allow you to keep your hard disk healthy and organized. The Acronis Disk Management program has had many third party reviews and it has been top rated.

Thanks to the Acronis people for the generous offering for our readers.

Are Registry Cleaners Safe to Use?

People ask me all of the time if registry cleaning software is safe to use, and which one I would recommend. The truth of the matter is I don’t recommend using any of them! I did a video about this last year, with the help of some very knowledgeable people.

As most of you know, my assistant Kat is considered an expert in the field of malware removal and Windows security in general. In fact, she has been awarded the prestigious Microsoft MVP award four years in a row now. She’s been removing malware on huge sites like GeeksToGo for more than six years, and is a site administrator there. She also teaches malware removal in its free training program.

Over the years, Kat has helped literally thousands of people online to clean and fix up their computers. It’s something she has a lot of passion for, and is very good at. She answers questions like this every day, and recently posted a blog on Geeks about this very question. The information she posted is gleaned from her own experience with users, as well as many of the other experts she works with. I asked her permission to copy it here, so that more of you might be able to read her advice, and even add to the discussion.

Programs like CCleaner can be very dangerous to your computer. No registry “cleaner” is completely safe. There is also no hard evidence that “cleaning” out the registry has any effect on the overall speed of a machine. It will speed up searches within the registry itself, but has no effect on overall performance.

There are a few misunderstandings about the registry. People seem to think that “cleaning” the registry will make it smaller and easier to manage. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. What you are doing is creating mini gaps in the registry’s file. These gaps will be reused by new data that inserts itself into your registry. The end result is that the registry becomes fragmented. Searching the data in a fragmented file is way slower than it is within an optimized file. In short, the only way to speed up the handling of the registry is by completely rewriting the file(s)… and even that is marginal at best.

Registry cleaning will not improve your system speed. Even though there are a lot of orphaned keys and/or values present, you won’t notice a difference in your system speed. The only difference you’ll notice is when actually searching your registry. Do you even ever do that? I know I don’t.

To be quite frank, if you “clean” your registry often enough, it will become fragmented. That will result in slower system performance… quite the opposite of what you were trying to accomplish in the first place. I think I’d rather have orphaned keys in my registry instead of deleting something by a so-called “cleaner” that should have never been touched.

That’s the problem with programs like these. They will miss entries that are “bad,” and mark good entries for removal. I’ve seen it happen hundreds of times over the years. A novice or “normal” computer user hoses their system completely, simply by deleting everything a program such as CCleaner told them to.

If you must do something with your registry, do it manually. If you don’t know how, leave it alone! You honestly never need to do anything in there. If you have a case of malware that attacks your registry, I urge you to seek help from someone trained to know how to properly remove it. Also, even if you consider yourself to be an expert on the registry, I beg you to take a few extra minutes to make a backup before you begin. I promise you’ll thank me later.

Last, I know there will be people who argue with me. There will be those who swear up and down that CCleaner is a wonderful program. They’ve never had a problem with it! Maybe you’re a tech who uses it in your line of work. Good for you! I’m glad you’ve never had a problem — yet. Even when you know exactly what you’re doing, programs like this still occasionally can and will completely hose a system. I sincerely hope it never happens to you.

credit to Sari and Bobbi_Flekman for some of the wording of this writing.

Kat makes excellent points in the above writing. I hope everyone will take the time to ponder what she’s written, and even add your own thoughts to the mix. If you’re using something like CCleaner to clean out your temporary files, stop it now. There are some excellent free alternatives that are much safer for your machine, such as ATF Cleaner or even TFC. Both are very safe, and very effective.

Protecting Yourself from a Hard Drive Disaster

This can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, it happened to a long time Lockergnome chatroom visitor, Catherine (aka ‘Noggie’). I’m sure many of you have seen her in the room. Without any warning whatsoever, her healthy hard drive stopped working. Upon reboot, the operating system could not be initiated. Everything was gone. Fortunately, Catherine did have a backup copy that was almost current. She lost all of her most recent work covering the three days prior to the crash. The irony is that Catherine has written about doing backups, and published some of those articles on the Lockergnome pages and newsletters.

Disasters like this are just a matter of time. It happens to all of us who have spent much time on the computer. Hard drives can – and do – fail. If you do not have a backup of your data, everything can be gone. This means all of your data files, all of your music, all of your pictures, all of your software… everything.

Imagine all the time, energy and frustration to find all the registration codes of that software that used to be working just fine. Catherine’s hard drive crash could have been much worse. Now, if she wants to try to recover that work for those last three days, it might cost her hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of dollars. And even then, there are no guarantees that the hard drive recovery specialists can be successful.

Save yourself the aggravation. Prepare for a hard drive failure now. No, don’t wait. Really – don’t wait. Do the backups now, and make copies regularly. And if the information on your hard drive is really important, do multiple backup copies. Here is a program that will do this for you. It is the well-known Acronis True Image Program. The backup can be done easily:

Acronis True Image Program is an award-winning backup and recovery solution for a good reason: it protects your PC after just one click and allows you to recover from viruses, unstable software downloads, and failed hard drives. Create an exact copy of your PC and restore it from a major failure in minutes, or back up important files and recover them even faster.”

From now until June 2nd, 2009, you can save fifteen dollars ($15.00!!) on this excellent program. That’s 30% off!

Use this program to protect your data. The backup can save you beyond a hard drive disaster. It can help if you have a bad computer infection. If you have a virus or malware problem, you will have an extra layer of protection. Restoration of a clean system can be simple. Just make sure that you are making a copy when your computer is free from malware and other infections. Otherwise, you will be replicating the problem. And you can find in our archives the security programs that we recommend. Believe me – you don’t want to risk what you have on that hard drive. Acronis is an excellent layer of security and, at this price, this program for protecting your computer data is a true bargain.