Category Archives: Online Backup

Don’t Back Up Your Hard Drive – What Have You Got To Lose?

Portable HD Today’s computers are amazing, especially when you consider the processing power available, and the amount of storage you can have for incredibly little money.

You can easily build a $500 desktop computer today that has a multi-core processor, and a terabyte of storage, which has the power to edit video, or play graphic intensive video games.

But whether you’re running a $7000 custom high end gaming machine, or a $399 special from a sale at the local retailer the most important and precious thing in your computer is your data. Data is everything, it’s your kids baby pictures or your entire music collection.

The problem with data is, even though it’s the most important thing on your hard drive, it’s frequently the least considered. To protect your data generally isn’t very hard, but its very easy to put off. People rationalize that since the hard drive from that Windows 95 machine still runs that their current machine will be fine for now and I’ll just do that backup next week when I have time.

Unfortunately just when you least expect it, your hard drive crashes the night before you finished the report your boss wanted first thing in the morning or you lose the pictures of family members that can’t be replaced.

So now you know, backing up isn’t an option.  Backing up isn’t hard, and it doesn’t need to be complicated. If you’ve never backed up before it can be as simple as buying an external hard drive, or even a large thumb drive, and dragging your important files over to the external drive periodically.

Saving your important files to a external drive is the first step. The next step will be to implement an automated system of backing up at least once a week. For that you need software.

If you are running Windows Vista and you want to keep it simple the built in “Backup and Restore Center“ will help you set up weekly backups of all your important data. It’s very simple and works well, I’ve successfully used it to back up and restore all the important data on my daughters computer after a disaster.

For a more thorough backup solutions I prefer third party programs. Acronis True Image Home, is an excellent program. It has more capabilities that many users may want but it has the capability to make an entire image of your hard drive as well as do incremental backups periodically, afterward.

AcronisTrueImageHome11

Programs that create an image, allow you to take the hard drive you backed up on, and put it in you machine and boot up like nothing ever happened. It saves your operating system, all of your programs, your settings and your data. The new version of Acronis has great new feature, it will perform dual backups to both a disk and hard drive at the same time.

This leads me to my last point, backing up to more than one location is very important. A simple solutions is to use two separate external hard drives, swap out one and backup to the second while you keep the other off site. This could be at work, at a friends house or anywhere away from your home.

Another effective off site backup is to do a backup to an online service of some kind. Microsoft offers a free 5 gigabyte storage service called “Skydrive” available to anyone with a Windows Live account. Amazon S3 service is another reliable online backup service, S3 isn’t free but you pay only for the space you use unlike some flat rate services.

skydrive_overview.2

Backing up is necessary inconvenience, developing a routine that fits your needs will make it relatively painless, and some day it will save you a lot of heartache. Remember there are two kinds of hard drives, those that have failed and those that will fail.

Many people get serious about backing up only, after they’ve lost all the pictures or music on their hard drive. There are many very good programs for backing up, either to local storage, or to an online service. I mentioned two which I’ve had experience with and trust, but there are many very good ones out there.

One last point.Some people using a new online backup services which offered “free” online storage from relatively new and unknown companies suddenly got a surprise when their online storage recently went offline forever, leaving them with no backup at all. So staying with companies like Amazon for your online “cloud” storage feels like a safe bet.

So backup early and often, because it’s all about the data.

This is a guest post by Mark Schneider of the Techwalker Blog, who brings a background as a high level super user, to the blogging world. Mark has written this article to emphasize the importance of data back up on a regular and consistent basis.

Why not pay a visit to Mark’s site today.

6 Comments

Filed under Backup Applications, Backup Tools, Computer Maintenance, Freeware, Guest Writers, Hard Drive Maintenance, Online Backup, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Hard Drive Back Up – It’s All About the Data

This is a guest post by Mark Schneider of the Techwalker Blog, who brings a background as a high level super user, to the blogging world. Mark has written this article to emphasize the importance of data back up on a regular and consistent basis.

Why not pay a visit to Mark’s site today.

Hard Drive Diag Today’s computers are amazing, especially when you consider the processing power available, and the amount of storage you can have for incredibly little money. You can easily build a $500 desktop computer today that has a multi-core processor, and a terabyte of storage, which has the power to edit video, or play graphic intensive video games.

But whether you’re running a $7000 custom high end gaming machine, or a $399 special from a sale at the local retailer the most important and precious thing in your computer is your data. Data is everything, it’s your kids baby pictures or your entire music collection.

The problem with data is, even though it’s the most important thing on your hard drive, it’s frequently the least considered. To protect your data generally isn’t very hard, but its very easy to put off. People rationalize that since the hard drive from that Windows 95 machine still runs that their current machine will be fine for now and I’ll just do that backup next week when I have time.

Unfortunately just when you least expect it, your hard drive crashes the night before you finished the report your boss wanted first thing in the morning or you lose the pictures of family members that can’t be replaced.

So now you know, backing up isn’t an option.  Backing up isn’t hard, and it doesn’t need to be complicated. If you’ve never backed up before it can be as simple as buying an external hard drive, or even a large thumb drive, and dragging your important files over to the external drive periodically.

Saving your important files to a external drive is the first step. The next step will be to implement an automated system of backing up at least once a week. For that you need software. If you are running Windows Vista and you want to keep it simple the built in “Backup and Restore Center“ will help you set up weekly backups of all your important data. It’s very simple and works well, I’ve successfully used it to back up and restore all the important data on my daughters computer after a disaster.

For a more thorough backup solutions I prefer third party programs. Acronis True Image Home, is an excellent program. It has more capabilities that many users may want but it has the capability to make an entire image of your hard drive as well as do incremental backups periodically, afterward.

AcronisTrueImageHome11

Programs that create an image, allow you to take the hard drive you backed up on, and put it in you machine and boot up like nothing ever happened. It saves your operating system, all of your programs, your settings and your data. The new version of Acronis has great new feature, it will perform dual backups to both a disk and hard drive at the same time.

This leads me to my last point, backing up to more than one location is very important. A simple solutions is to use two separate external hard drives, swap out one and backup to the second while you keep the other off site. This could be at work, at a friends house or anywhere away from your home.

Another effective off site backup is to do a backup to an online service of some kind. Microsoft offers a free 5 gigabyte storage service called “Skydrive” available to anyone with a Windows Live account. Amazon S3 service is another reliable online backup service, S3 isn’t free but you pay only for the space you use unlike some flat rate services.

skydrive_overview.2

Backing up is necessary inconvenience, developing a routine that fits your needs will make it relatively painless, and some day it will save you a lot of heartache. Remember there are two kinds of hard drives, those that have failed and those that will fail.

Many people get serious about backing up only, after they’ve lost all the pictures or music on their hard drive. There are many very good programs for backing up, either to local storage, or to an online service. I mentioned two which I’ve had experience with and trust, but there are many very good ones out there.

One last point.Some people using a new online backup services which offered “free” online storage from relatively new and unknown companies suddenly got a surprise when their online storage recently went offline forever, leaving them with no backup at all. So staying with companies like Amazon for your online “cloud” storage feels like a safe bet.

So backup early and often, because it’s all about the data.

8 Comments

Filed under Backup Applications, Backup Tools, Online Backup, Software, System Security, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

Free System Protect Stops Accidental File Deletions

Earlier this year, I was talking to a friend whose teenagers had deleted all of the family photos to make room on the Hard Drive so that they could download a peer to peer movie. A perfect opportunity for a parent to go nuclear, I think!

Fortunately, I had convinced him sometime before this that all important data on the family computer needed to be backed up regularly. Not all of my friends have paid attention to this advice, but this one had.

While he was still disturbed that the photo files had been erased, this incident wasn’t the disaster it could have been.

So what about you? Do you have a disaster recovery plan in effect should this type of event, where you lose irreplaceable data, occurs with your computer? Or, have you considered locking specific files on your computer to prevent accidental deletion?

Backup:

It’s now easier than ever to backup giving the large choice of relatively inexpensive media, including CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, external Hard Drives, and increasingly gaining popularity, Online Backup Services. Some estimates indicate that up to 75% of all computers will connect to online backup services within 10 years.

Mozy, which requires a broadband connection, is a free and easy to use online backup service that gives you 2GB of space allowing you to backup your data over the Internet. When needed, the backed up files can be restored over the Internet. You can read a review of this program and other online backup services on this Blog, or download the application at Mozy.

MyBloop, which was recommended to me by one of my online friends, is another free and easy to use online backup service. This free service offers unlimited file storage, allows you to share your files, and gives you the option of creating play lists of your uploaded music files.

Alternatively, you can back up to your media using a freeware program such as DriveImage XML which runs under Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista. This program will backup, image and restore drives formatted with FAT 12, 16, 32 and NTFS. You can read a review of this program on this Blog, or download the application at Runtime.org.

Another Freeware Solution:

Nothing of course, beats a regularly scheduled incremental back up plan, but there is another solution to prevent the accidental deletion of data from your computer.

System Protect is a free, easy-to-use application from Crawler (the people who gave us Spyware Terminator), that helps keep your operating system stable, and protects important programs, documents and files from deletion caused by viruses, other users on your computer, or even your own mistakes.

Quick Facts:

Files & Folders Protection – prevents deletion of important files, programs and documents

Protection of Selected Files – lets you choose files and folders to be protected. This ensures that a virus, other people working with your computer or even you won’t delete an important document, your favorite photos, music, movies or other files

Increased Operating System Stability – protects essential system files to keep your operating system stable

Deletion Attempt Notification – notifies you of any attempt to delete any of the protected files

Protection for All Users – ensures protection for all computer users; administrator or restricted user

Works without Distracting You – silently protects your computer without interrupting your work

Deny Mode – automatically block deletion of any protected file

Since mistakes are inevitable on a computer, this neat little program could be just the thing you need to reduce the chances of having to deal with that unrecoverable error.

Download at: Download.com

2 Comments

Filed under Backup Applications, Backup Tools, Freeware, Online Backup, Software, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

FREE Online Backup – Mozy on Over!

Just like death and taxes are a certainty, the fact that your computer’s Hard Drive will crash one day and refuse to respond, is every bit as certain.

Computer industry statistics seem to indicate that the real-world annualized failure rate (average percentage of disks failing per year), was much higher than the manufacturer’s estimate – an average of 3% vs. the estimated 0.5 – 0.9%. The cost of recovering data from a failed hard drive can exceed $7,500, and success is never guaranteed.

So when that inevitable day arrives, what will you do?

If you are one of the few, out of the ordinary, computer users who regularly and faithfully backup, you will have a lot of work ahead of you but you will recover.

However, if you haven’t backed up, you have lost everything including:

  1. operating system
  2. applications
  3. correspondence
  4. pictures
  5. music
  6. customized settings
  7. email accounts, rules/filters, folders and messages
  8. data including, letters, graphics, music, databases/other projects

The operating system and applications can be replaced, if you have the original install media. But not all computers with preinstalled operating systems have the original operating system installation media supplied with the computer.

The message here then is: everything that can not be replaced needs to be backed up.

It’s now easier than ever to backup giving the large choice of relatively inexpensive media, including CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, external Hard Drives, and increasingly gaining popularity, Online Backup Services.

Perhaps the most popular of these free Online Backup Services is Mozy: Free Online Backup.

Mozy, which requires a broadband connection, is a free and easy to use, software service that gives you 2GB of space allowing you to backup your data over the Internet. When needed, the backed up files can be restored over the Internet.

Mozy includes a Windows Explorer context menu which makes restoring files very easy. Right click on the file you want to restore, and Mozy gives you a list of all previous versions of the file. As well, Mozy incorporates a virtual drive explorer in Windows that allows you to view the files you’ve backed up without having to access the Internet.

If you are not familiar with backup software, or you’re not comfortable with XP’s version, then Mozy might well be the ideal tool for you. Check it out.

Mozy Quick Facts:

Open/locked file support

448-bit Blowfish encryption

128-bit SSL encryption

Automatic or scheduled backups

New and changed file detection

Block level incremental backups

Bandwidth throttling

File versioning

Public or private key encryption

Download at: Mozy

Additional Free Online Backup Sites:

XDrive – XDrive supplies you with 5 GB of space. The backup software runs on Windows, and provides automatic backups of your data.

IDrive Basic – 2 GB of backup space Free Online Backup, Encrypted, Secure and Automated.

Humyo – Humyo allows you to store up to 25 GB of media files (photos, videos, music) and 5 GB for non-media files.

6 Comments

Filed under Backup Applications, Freeware, Interconnectivity, Online Backup, Software, System File Protection, Windows Tips and Tools

Free System Protect – Stop Accidental File Deletions

Recently I was talking to a friend whose teenagers had deleted all of the family photos to make room on the Hard Drive so that they could download a peer to peer movie.

While he was upset that the photo files had been erased, this incident wasn’t the disaster it could have been. Fortunately I had persuaded him sometime before, that all important data on the computer needed to be backed up regularly.

So what about you? Do you have a disaster recovery plan in effect should this type of event, where you lose irreplaceable data, occur with your computer?

It’s now easier than ever to backup giving the large choice of relatively inexpensive media, including CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, external Hard Drives, and increasingly gaining popularity, Online Backup Services.

Mozy, a popular Online Backup Services is free and easy to use, and it gives you 2GB of space to backup your data. When needed, the backed up files can be restored over the Internet.

Download the application at Mozy

Alternatively, you can back up to your media locally using a freeware program such as DriveImage XML which runs under Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista. This program will backup, image and restore drives formatted with FAT 12, 16, 32 and NTFS.

Download the application at Runtime.org

Another Solution

Nothing of course, beats a regularly scheduled incremental back up plan, but there is another solution to prevent the accidental deletion of data from your computer.

System Protect is a free, easy-to-use application that helps keep your operating system stable, and protects important programs, documents and files from deletion caused by viruses, other users on your computer such as your kids, or even your own mistakes.

Quick Facts:

File & Folder Protection – Prevents deletion of important files, programs and documents

Protection of Selected Files – Lets you choose files and folders to be protected. This ensures that a virus, other people working with your computer or even you, won’t delete an important document, your favorite photos, music, movies or other files

Increased Operating System Stability – Protects essential system files to keep your operating system stable

Deletion Attempt Notification – Notifies you of any attempt to delete any of the protected files

Protection for All Users – Ensures protection for all computer users; administrator or restricted user

Works without Distracting You – Silently protects your computer without interrupting your work

Deny Mode – Automatically block deletion of any protected file

Since mistakes are inevitable on a computer, this neat little program could be just the thing you need to reduce the chances of having to deal with that unrecoverable error.

Download at: Download.com

3 Comments

Filed under Backup Applications, Freeware, Online Backup, Software, System File Protection, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools

5 More Gigs On-line Storage – Microsoft Windows Live SkyDrive

skydrive1.jpgMicrosoft has officially launched an online storage service that lets you securely upload and share documents, photos and music on the web for free. 

Windows Live SkyDrive came out of beta format in 38 countries yesterday and contains a significant increase in storage size from 1GB to 5GB. 

Files can be easily accessed anywhere, at any time, on the web. Users can even share files via email whether the recipient has a Windows Live ID or not. 

The 4GB increase in storage capacity to 5GB gives you enough space to upload around 1,000 songs, 30,000 Office documents of average size, or 30,000 digital photos at a resolution of 1200×1200. 

SkyDrive has three options for storing and sharing files, ranging from keeping all files personal, sharing them with people you select, or making them public to anyone on the internet. 

Furthermore, with the permission settings users can limit the actions of others when accessing files in the shared area by letting them add and change files or only read files. 

From Microsoft’s Site:

  • 5 GB of free online storage, available from any computer with Internet access.
  • Create personal, shared, and public folders — you decide who has access to each folder.
  • Windows Live SkyDrive works well on any Windows or Macintosh computer with Firefox 1.5 or higher, or Internet Explorer 6 or higher.
  • Your personal folders are password-protected with your Windows Live ID, so only you have access.
  • When you create a shared folder, the friends you’re sharing with need to sign in with their own Windows Live ID and password.
  • Just like at your online bank, all file transfers are protected using Secure Socket Layers (SSL).

Learn more at: Windows Live SkyDrive

 

You can read more on additional free on-line backup sites on this Blog at, So You Want FREE Online Backup?

1 Comment

Filed under Freeware, Online Backup, Software, Utilities, Windows Live SkyDrive, Windows Tips and Tools

So You Want FREE Online Backup? Now You’ve Got It With Mozy!

online-backup.jpgJust like death and taxes are a certainty, the fact that your computer’s Hard Drive will crash one day and refuse to respond, is every bit as certain.

Computer industry statistics seem to indicate that the real-world annualized failure rate (average percentage of disks failing per year), was much higher than the manufacturer’s estimate – an average of 3% vs. the estimated 0.5 – 0.9%. The cost of recovering data from a failed hard drive can exceed $7,500, and success is never guaranteed.

So when that inevitable day arrives, what will you do?

If you are one of the few, out of the ordinary, computer users who regularly and faithfully backup, you will have a lot of work ahead of you but you will recover.

However, if you haven’t backed up, you have lost everything including:

  • operating system
  • applications
  • correspondence
  • pictures
  • music
  • customized settings
  • email accounts, rules/filters, folders and messages
  • data including, letters, graphics, music, databases/other projects

 

The operating system and applications can be replaced, if you have the original install media. But not all computers with preinstalled operating systems have the original operating system installation media supplied with the computer.

The message here then is: everything that can not be replaced needs to be backed up.

It’s now easier than ever to backup giving the large choice of relatively inexpensive media, including CDs, DVDs, USB sticks, external Hard Drives, and increasingly gaining popularity, Online Backup Services.

Perhaps the most popular of these free Online Backup Services is Mozy: Free Online Backup.

Mozy, which requires a broadband connection, is a free and easy to use, software service that gives you 2GB of space allowing you to backup your data over the Internet. When needed, the backed up files can be restored over the Internet.

Mozy includes a Windows Explorer context menu which makes restoring files very easy. Right click on the file you want to restore, and Mozy gives you a list of all previous versions of the file. As well, Mozy incorporates a virtual drive explorer in Windows that allows you to view the files you’ve backed up without having to access the Internet.

If you are not familiar with backup software, or you’re not comfortable with XP’s version, then Mozy might well be the ideal tool for you. Check it out.

Mozy Quick Facts:

  • Open/locked file support
  • 448-bit Blowfish encryption
  • 128-bit SSL encryption
  • Automatic or scheduled backups
  • New and changed file detection
  • Block level incremental backups
  • Bandwidth throttling
  • File versioning
  • Public or private key encryption

 

Download at: Mozy

Additional Free Online Backup Sites:

XDrive XDrive supplies you with 5 GB of space. The backup software runs on Windows, and provides automatic backups of your data.

IDrive Basic – 2 GB of backup space Free Online Backup, Encrypted, Secure and Automated.

Humyo – Humyo allows you to store up to 25 GB of media files (photos, videos, music) and 5 GB for non-media files.

10 Comments

Filed under Freeware, Online Backup, Productivity Software, Software, USB, Windows Tips and Tools