Tag Archives: backup

Computer Backup

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I have talked many times in the past about how critical it is to regularly back up your computer data. Here are some excellent tips sent in by a community member, to help you decide what to back up, when to back up, and HOW to back up.

  • Do not backup to only one specific drive. Many people often backup their information to one specific drive and think they are safe. Chances are that drive that they have backed up their data on, will fail at some point. The best way to backup your information is to backup on multiple drives. Therefore, if one drive fails you can easily locate another one where the data is located. There are many websites that will allow you to use a certain amount of space to backup your information for a low fee. Using these types of websites are a great way to backup your data when your other drives may fail on you. Remember, the more places you have the data stored, the more likely you will be able to recover it.
  • Protect your backup drives. Sometimes, hard drives will fail and you will loose your data. There are some ways you can avoid this from happening to you. To prevent a hard drive from failure, check to make sure it is in a healthy condition. To do this, you need to check to see if it’s stable. Some software will tell you if the drive is in an good condition or if it may fail some time in the near future. A free method to make sure the hard drive is in good shape is to defrag the files on the hard drive. In some cases, your files will separate and become fragmented. In Windows, there is a free program called “Disk Defragmenter”. This program will let you select the drives you want to defrag. You can also you Disk Keeper, a software program which does the same thing as Disk Defragmenter, but does a better job.
  • Organize your data. You may have heard many times, that you should organize your data to make sure you never loose your important information. However, when a day comes and you decide to backup some data that you do not place in folders, you could cause a habit of doing it over and over again. Sooner or later, you will see that all of your data is unorganized and hard to find. Always make sure you backup your things in either folders or a method you prefer to find your data easier. I recommend using sub folders as well. This will let you find things more specific to what you are trying to search for. To do this, create a regular empty folder on the drive, and then open the folder. Create another folder inside that folder, and place the files inside of it. Then, create another folder inside the same folder you have just made and place files into that. This way, you can locate each folder and see which files are inside of them.
  • Know which drives to use. Drives such as, Flash Drives are great way to backup small things such as documents or even programs, depending on the size on the flash drive. Flash Drives can range from 16mb all the way up to 32Gigs. If you are thinking about backing up things such as movie files or music, I highly recommend to purchase a external hard drive. These can range from 120gigs to 500gigs. Remember though, the speed of the data transfer may be slow, because it is USB 2.0. This also holds true for fire wire (IEEE1394) ports. In order to transfer data across one drive to another at a fast speed, you must use Internal Hard Drives. These drives can easily transfer data no matter what kind of data it is. SATA cables are much more faster than the old ATA cables, so if you are planning to look for the best speed, try to buy hard drives that support SATA cables. Just make sure your motherboard can support SATA.
  • BONUS TIP!! Backup as many times as you can. When disaster strikes, and you have lost all your data, you will blame yourself for not backing up your things. I recommend backing up important data every once a week. This way, it ensures you of not loosing your data and you are well aware that you are safe if disaster did strike.


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Backup and File Management

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – Before there was the Internet, my Dad Joe had two computers. One was at work. One was at home. He would carry work home with him on a floppy disc. Dad feels that the floppy discs served an excellent purpose… extra backup of data.

Dad wants to make things simple. He wants to have a program on his computer that opens. Once open, he wants to click buttons to tell the program which folders or applications to back up, then click “GO” and have it just back it all up for him. He’s not a fan of online storage. Dad believes, along with millions of other people, that any information put online is a target to be accessed by outsiders. Online storage is only as secure as the weakest link. Unfortunately, the weakest link is usually a human… not a computer.

The easiest way to backup your information is to use a removable drive. Simply plug it in to a USB port on your computer. Drag and drop any folders you want saved into the removable drive in your “my computer” window. Voila! The information is now backed up. If you have a lot of free space on your removable drive, you can do incremental backups. On the removable drive, right click your new file and choose to rename it. Add the date to the end of the file name and save. Now the next time you backup, add the date to that file name, as well. This gives you a comprehensive backup, where you can go and restore any document or file to a previous date if needed.

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Data Recovery Software

The other day, Veronica came to me with a problem: all of the files on her USB stick were no longer there – the drive had been wiped out. She’s not quite sure what happened, but I imagine it was related to quality of the hardware itself (it was one of those branded tchotchkes everybody gives away at conferences). I knew she hadn’t formatted the drive, as that would require jumping through a couple of minor technical loops. Happens all the time.

No matter, I had to figure out how to recover the missing documents and spreadsheets before anything else touched the drive (which, by the way, lived largely inside a MacBook USB port or her purse). I searched the Web for data recovery utilities, and discovered several free titles that would help people recover images from removable media (CompactFlash, SD, MMC, Memory Stick). They wouldn’t work in this situation, however.

I didn’t realize that Allume had just released a $20 version of MediaRECOVER – or I would have likely purchased it without question:

When you think about all the times your digital gadgets have gone haywire, or you’ve hit the wrong button and lost important files, you probably wish you had a way to undo those mistakes. That’s why anyone who relies on digital cameras, PDAs, MP3 players, Flash Drives, memory cards and other modern media should have MediaRECOVER.

Instead, I used a relatively clumsy, but free, application called PC INSPECTOR File Recovery. This utility is not very well designed (the options and labels are rather confusing, all the way through). Still, I didn’t plan on using the program for an extended period of time – and it did do quite well at recovering 90% of the files that had been erased from the flash disk. Too bad the only file we really needed was lost in the 10% that we couldn’t recover.

I guess I should start amassing a list of tools to use the next time this happens to me – so if you know of a good data recovery tool (shareware, freeware, etc.), please let me know your thoughts. It’d be good to have a semi-definitive list here for future reference.

How Not to Recover Data from a Vista Backup

I almost fell out of my chair when I read this. I trust Dave Methvin and anything he says:

Even though the Home Basic and Home Premium versions of Vista are backing up all files including user data files, users can’t access the backups of their own data. Want proof that the backups are there? Use Microsoft’s Windows Anytime Upgrade feature to upgrade from Home to Ultimate. When we did that, the Previous Versions tab appeared and revealed changes to data files that were made before the upgrade occurred.

My guess is that Ed Bott and the other Windows apologists will have a completely logical explanation for this “feature” before too long. After all, why would a Home Basic user ever want to recover data? It’s a well known fact that Home Basic and Home Premium files aren’t as important as Ultimate files.

To be completely fair, Time Machine only works in *ONE* version of OS X. Then again, there’s only one version for users to buy.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry?

Internet Hard Drive

Have you ever been frozen in Carbonite? That might not be a bad thing, so long as Carbonite is the program you’ve installed to backup all your data to a virtual hard drive in the sky. Throw away the tape drives, man – it’s all about your Internet Backup options. Yes, Carbonite happens to be an up-and-coming application that lets you store an unlimited amount of data to another computer in the universe (in a set-it and forget-it fashion). Jason Dunn has been using it for a while, and his word is gold when it comes to software and Web services – so I trust Carbonite vicariously. Of course, I’m not recommending Carbonite for 100% of your backup needs – but it will make for a great backup of a backup (truly off-site). You can download a copy and try it yourself. It’s free for 15 days, but unlimited Internet storage for $5 a month!? Dude, you’d be insane not to use something like this to backup your data. And as a disclaimer, I get credit for download referrals (and you can sign up for their referral program, too).