Tag Archives: data

Tomorrow Is World Backup Day – So, Are You Going To? Backup, That Is.

imageI have some bad news – sad news – for you this morning. Those graduation pictures you treasured, the pictures of your toddler’s first steps, this year’s income tax return which was just about ready to be filed, that resume you just finished updating – GONE – ALL GONE.

Your Hard Drive just quit overnight – never to be booted again. I know I should feel some measure of sympathy for you – but, I don’t.

I’m not trying to be a big meanie* here but, it seems to me, that you are the architect of your own misfortune. A little pre-planning to safeguard your irreplaceable data; documents, digital photos, email messages, personal and business related work, and important private data – could have saved you considerable distress.

If only you had a backup – but, you don’t – do you? I suspect that it’s little consolation but, you’re not alone. Despite the importance of Hard Drive and individual file backups, most computer technicians will tell you that typically, computer users’ do not backup their irreplaceable data.

It’s a little late to tell you this but, if you had been one of the few, out of the ordinary, computer users, who regularly and faithfully backup, you would have had some work ahead of you – but, you would have recovered your data.

All of the above of course, is an imaginary scenario – in fact, your system did boot up his morning. But, that’s hardly cause for complacency.

Redundant information: 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.

If you don’t yet have a backup plan, it’s time you thought seriously about developing one. The effort involved in learning how to protect your data, by developing and implementing a backup plan in today’s computing age, is minimal. Much easier than it was, even as little as two or three years ago.

The best backup strategy includes imaging your Hard Drives and partitions, since that allows you to restore your important data, your complete operating system, as well as your installed applications, user settings, etc.

There are loads of free applications out in the wild blue that, used properly and regularly, will speed to the rescue. One of the best free program – one that I have no difficulty recommending is – EASEUS Todo Backup.

This is a brilliant application which will allow you to backup, recover your backups, image your Hard Drives, clone your Hard Drives, and a host of additional features. All of this, in a “follow the bouncing ball” simple, user interface.

If there’s an easier way to backup critical data, I have yet to find it.

The user interface has been designed so that a user with minimum computing experience, should have no difficulty.

image

The following screen captures illustrate the simple process of backing up a particular folder.

image

In this case, I choose the task name, selected the folder to be backed up, selected the backup media/location, and …..

image

Done!

Bonus: You can copy backup images to your personal cloud for data double protection. More info here.

image

A ton of options so that you can set the parameters of the task to suit your particular needs.

image

Recovery, is point and click simple.

image

Additional functions and features are available under the “Tools” menu.

In the following example I’ve run a check on the test backup to verify readability.

image

Finding that an image file is unreadable when called upon, ranks with one of life’s low points – well, sort of.    Smile

A quick initial check is a prudent move.

image

You’ll have the option of creating a system boot disk. You should do so.

image

The “emergency disk” will allow you to boot into EASEUS Todo Backup and then choose from a number of options.

image

  Fast facts:

System Backup and Recovery – One-click system backup. Backs up entire system state including the operating system and installed applications on-the-fly without interrupting your work to get the system up in time after crash.

File and Folder Backup – Backs up specified files, network shared files, files in use, folders or file types in case of virus attack, hard disk failure, or deletion by accident, etc.

Disk & partition Backup – Full backup disk(s)/partition(s), dynamic volume(s), or GPT disk(s)/volume(s) to image. It ensures PC security and instant data recovery in case of any data loss.

Incremental Backup – Provide alternatives to perform full backups each time by offering incremental backup. To capture changes saving time & disk space.

Backup Schedule – To run backup automatically at a predefined time. By scheduling a backup task, your system and important data can be backed up now, daily, weekly, monthly.

Disk Clone Tool – Clone or transfer all the data on a hard disk to another. Clone disk is especially useful to upgrade your hard drive to a new one without reinstalling operating systems and applications.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8. (32 bit, 64 bit).

Download at: EASEUS

If you’re looking for a free application to handle all of your backup needs, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in EASEUS Todo Backup. Give it a try.

* In recent years, I’ve written 20+ articles on the importance of backing up critical data and, it distresses me somewhat that they have been amongst the least read articles I’ve written.

Good buddy TeX, summed up the backup issue neatly in a comment to a previous backup article sometime back, when he wrote – There are so many good programs out there for backing up, the problem is getting people to take that whole step seriously. It’s like dying,  “That always happens to someone else” theory.

It’s a point worth considering.

For additional reading on this important task, you might consider dropping by the World Backup Day site – DON’T BE AN APRIL FOOL. Backup your files. Check your restores.

Advertisements

24 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, Backup Applications, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Cloning, Hard Drive Imaging

Crashed Hard Drive? Progressive Data Recovery Steps

This guest post is contributed by Grady Winston. Grady is an avid writer and Internet entrepreneur from Indianapolis. He has worked in the fields of technology, business, marketing, and advertising – implementing multiple creative projects and solutions for a range of clients.

imageTake a deep breath, your computer crashing isn’t the end.

When a computer freezes up, or worse yet crashes, it can send even the most seasoned computer user into a hair-pulling maniacal panic. For many beginner or inexperienced users, a crashed hard drive often means the loss of gigabytes upon gigabytes of music, pictures, movies, videos, documents, and just about any other type of important digital file imaginable.

While the temptation to throw your laptop across the room in frustration is understandable, it may be a tad melodramatic. Why? Because you’d be surprised just how easy it is to recover seemingly lost data yourself. Refrain from catapulting your computer across the room, take a nice deep breath, and let’s take a deeper look into the world of hard drive data recovery.

Recovering Hard Drive Data in Four Steps

1. Purchase a New Hard Drive – Just like when you total your car, when a hard drive crashes, it’s pretty much deemed useless in that it can’t be used again. But, just like you can usually still fish out your CD collection and glove box contents, you can recover the useful parts or data from the drive.

The first step in the “recovery” process requires understanding that you need a new hard drive. Take another deep breath, head to a local computer or electronics store, and pick up a compatible hard drive.

2. Configure a Master and a Slave Drive – Before you even think about recovering your crashed hard drive’s data you must configure both drives for data recovery. This involves installing your new hard drive as the primary (or “master”) hard drive, and the crashed hard drive as the secondary (or “slave”) drive. In a nutshell, setting up your new drive as the master drive tells your computer’s operating system to recognize it as the primary system drive. Keep in mind that this process can vary widely from OS to OS.

3. Recover Your Data – Now that you have correctly configured each hard drive you can recover data from the old drive. Since the crashed drive is the secondary drive, this is pretty much a drag and drop situation. Simply locate the files you want to recover and drag them over to the new hard drive and place them in the appropriate folder.

There are certain files that you may not be able to locate easily. Take Microsoft Outlook tools for example. If you’re looking to recover lots of email conversations you’ll probably need to use an Outlook recovery and repair tool. There are plenty of affordable tools that scan your Outlook files and recover lost or hidden files for you.

4. Hire a Data Recovery Specialist – Finally, if your data recovery efforts leave a lot to be desired, it may be time to call in the big guns. While hiring a data recovery specialist isn’t the cheapest solutions, it may be the fastest way to recover lost data.

Conclusion: A Final Word of Caution

Every time you try to recover data from a crashed hard drive, you run the risk of losing some data completely and forever. This isn’t a great feeling, but it happens to the best of us. This is where safe email and web surfing practices will go a long way to protect your data from being corrupted.

Protecting your data may also mean backing it up. Fortunately, affordable online backup and recovery tools are just a click away. The bottom line is that hard drives are fickle, mechanical devices that can go bad without a moment’s notice. Keep a tight grasp on your data and you can avoid data recovery nightmares like this one.

4 Comments

Filed under Guest Writers, Hard Drive Problems

Five Steps for a Secure Cloud Transition

In this post, guest author David Maman, CTO and founder of GreenSQL – the database security company – lays out a series of simple steps for cloud migration – ensuring security is systematically addressed.

Five Steps for a Secure Cloud Transition

imageAlmost every type of SMB is examining it’s current IT infrastructure, determining what data and processes can move to the cloud. Of course, security remains one of the biggest concerns.

Here are five steps to make the transition much safer for your data, and your company:

1. Understanding my “Attackability Surface”: Before considering migrating to the cloud, map every project component, and map all the hazards. Including which operating systems will be used, which applications will be installed, which types of security mechanisms are required for each component and, which types of access are required for each service running on this cloud.

Generally, after truly understanding the project scope, the risk becomes controllable.

2. Sharing is Not Caring: Many times, using cloud services involves sharing infrastructure and applications with others, which means that the risk factor is multiplied.

The lack of security configuration at one customer, of application vulnerabilities by other customers, can lead to data loss in your databases. Make sure which components you share, and which are dedicated to you.

Often, when it comes to your customers’ or employees’ sensitive information, you cannot avoid purchasing a private cloud for most components.

3. Command and Control: Demand your cloud providers give you true control and monitoring of any, and all, security components. If necessary, even insist that only you will be able to change the configuration of these components.

If it’s just a network firewall, if it’s a web application firewall, if it’s a database firewall or any other element, those elements ensure your level of risk and your business survival on the cloud. Make sure you are aware of any changes in any security element.

4. The Cat in the Hat: The “Cloud” is a beautiful buzzword; every vendor in the entire IT segment is using the word “Cloud” in presentations and sales speeches. But eventually we have to understand, “Cloud” is really only a hosting service; it might be more advanced; it might support “elastic” growth; it might even provide an extremely easy user interface.

Please make sure you understand that the “Cloud” is “smart” shared hosting, which means that many people may have physical access to the servers that host your data and operating systems.

You can almost never be sure that if – your servers have restarted, it’s not because someone copied the hard drive you are using. Encrypt what you can, and make sure that the most sensitive information is not on the “Cloud.”

5. Software As A Service (SaaS) can work: Salesforce taught us that SaaS can actually work, with extremely high business continuity and extremely high levels of security.

Many Fortune 1000 companies use Salesforce with some of their most sensitive information. The thing is is that Salesforce has invested $100s of millions on infrastructure and security, which more than 90% of other SaaS providers will ever be able to afford.

So, if you decide to go forward and adopt a SaaS provider, keep in mind that size does matter; the bigger the provider (and we’re not talking about boutique providers who cost a fortune), the more secured they are.

6 Comments

Filed under Cloud Computing, Guest Writers

NetSpeedMonitor – A Double Duty Network Monitoring Tool

https://i2.wp.com/technabob.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/02/usb_typing_wpm_speedometer.jpgRegular readers here will remember, that I’m an advocate of utilities which provide users with the capability to double check which of their applications are connecting to the Internet – including the capability to monitor open ports and Internet connections.

CurrPorts is my tool of choice, since it allows me to view a list of ports that are currently in use, and the application (keep in mind, that malware, for all practical purposes – is an application) that is using those ports.

Recently, I came across a neat little application (free – but donations are encouraged), which duplicates some of the features of CurrPorts but in addition, includes a number of secondary capabilities which should be of interest to those users who need to monitor their data consumption on a session, daily, or monthly basis.

Directly after installation, NetSpeedMonitor sits in the system tray and displays data on current upload/download speeds – as shown in the following screen capture.

image

Hovering over the the NetSpeedMonitor icon generates addition data – Month/Day/Session.

image

Better yet, right clicking on the icon allows a user access to supplementary data from an expandable fly-out menu.

image

In the following example, I’ve selected “Network Connections” and its submenu, for illustrative purposes.

image

Again, from the fly-out menu, I’ve selected “Connections” and……..

image

…. the data displayed includes – TCP and UDP connections (established, listening, or closed), remote address, process ID for each connection, and the application/s using the connection/s.

image

Overall assessment – a cool little application that generates data which should prove valuable for those users who have a need to keep an eye on data caps or, users who have a need to monitor ports and connections.

System requirements: Windows XP, Server 2003, Vista, Win 7 (with a little finagling I ran the application on Win 8).

Languages: NetSpeedMonitor is available in multiple languages including, English, German, Spanish, Italian, and Russian.

Download at: Developer’s site.

14 Comments

Filed under downloads, Freeware, Network Tools, Windows Tips and Tools

It’s World Backup Day – So What Are You Doing About It?

imageI have some bad news for you this morning. Those graduation pics you treasured, the pics of your toddler’s first steps, this year’s income tax return which was just about ready to be filed, that resume you just finished updating – GONE – ALL GONE. Your Hard Drive just quit overnight – never to be booted again. I know I should feel some measure of sympathy for you – but, I don’t.

I’m not trying to be a big *meanie here but, it seems to me, that you are the architect of your own misfortune. A little pre-planning to safeguard your irreplaceable data; documents, digital photos, email messages, personal and business related work, and important private data – could have saved you considerable distress.

If only you had a backup – but, you don’t – do you? I suspect that it’s little consolation but, you’re not alone. Despite the importance of Hard Drive backups, most computer technicians will tell you that typically, computer users’ do not backup their irreplaceable data.

It’s a little late to tell you this but, if you had been one of the few, out of the ordinary, computer users, who regularly and faithfully backup, you would have had some work ahead of you – but, you would have recovered your data.

All of the above of course, is an imaginary scenario – in fact, your system did boot up his morning. But, that’s hardly cause for complacency. 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.

If you don’t yet have a backup plan, it’s time you thought seriously about developing one. The effort involved in learning how to protect your data, by developing and implementing a backup plan in today’s computing age, is minimal. Much easier than it was, even as little as two or three years ago.

The best backup strategy includes imaging your Hard Drives and partitions, since that allows you to restore your important data, your complete operating system, as well as your installed applications, user settings, etc.

There are loads of free applications out in the wild blue that, used properly and regularly, will speed to the rescue. One of the best free program – one that I have no difficulty recommending is – EASEUS Todo Backup.

This is a brilliant application which will allow you to backup, recover your backups, image your Hard Drives, clone your Hard Drives, and a host of additional features. All of this, in a “follow the bouncing ball” simple, user interface. If there’s an easier way to backup critical data, I have yet to find it.

The user interface has been designed so that a user with minimum computing experience, should have no difficulty.

image

The following screen captures illustrate the simple process of backing up a particular folder.

image

In this case, I choose the task name, selected the folder to be backed up, selected the backup media/location, and …..

image

Done!

image

Recovery, is point and click simple.

image

Additional functions and features are available under the “Tools” menu.

image

For example – you’ll have the option of creating a system boot disk. You should do so.

image

Fast facts:

System Backup and Recovery – One-click system backup. Backs up entire system state including the operating system and installed applications on-the-fly without interrupting your work to get the system up in time after crash.

Restore System to Dissimilar Hardware – The feature of “recover to dissimilar hardware” can simplify system migration with restoring system to dissimilar hardware configuration for hardware replacement under WinPE recovery environment.

File and Folder Backup – Backs up specified files, network shared files, files in use, folders or file types in case of virus attack, hard disk failure, or deletion by accident, etc.

Disk & partition Backup – Full backup disk(s)/partition(s), dynamic volume(s), or GPT disk(s)/volume(s) to image. It ensures PC security and instant data recovery in case of any data loss.

Incremental/Differential Backup – Provide alternatives to perform full backups each time by offering incremental backup and differential backup. To capture changes with saving time & disk space.

Backup Schedule – To run backup automatically at a predefined time. By scheduling a backup task, your system and important data can be backed up now, daily, weekly, monthly.

Network Data Protection – Easy way to full backup network data, including network shared files on NAS and Windows, with full backup, incremental backup, differential backup and schedule backup, etc.

Disk Clone Tool – Clone or transfer all the data on a hard disk to another. Clone disk is especially useful to upgrade your hard drive to a new one without reinstalling operating systems and applications.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8.

Download at: EASEUS

If you’re looking for a free application to handle all of your backup needs, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in EASEUS Todo Backup. Give it a try.

* In recent years, I’ve written 20+ articles on the importance of backing up critical data and, it distresses me somewhat that they have been amongst the least read articles I’ve written.

Good buddy TeX, summed up the backup issue neatly in a comment to a previous backup article when he wrote – There are so many good programs out there for backing up, the problem is getting people to take that whole step seriously. It’s like dying,  “That always happens to someone else” theory.

It’s a point worth considering.

4 Comments

Filed under 64 Bit Software, Backup Applications, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Cloning, Hard Drive Imaging, Software

Free ImgBurn – Is It One Step Ahead Of CDBurnerXP?

imageA recent review of the freebie CD/DVD burning application – CDBurnerXP – led a number of readers to offer their views on burner applications. A particular free favorite amongst readers, and one I’ve run with on and off over the years is – ImgBurn.

Since there’s no better time like the present, and driven by curiosity as to why readers found ImgBurn so compelling – I revisited this application and ran with it for several days. Glad I did.

I’ll jump ahead here – directly to my conclusion. ImgBurn is a superior CD/DVD burning application. No hesitation – this application ROCKS.

The following screen capture illustrates the wide range of application settings available. For those of us who are conversant with all of the ins and outs, this is very advantageous. An average user might well skip by these selections. Still, the options are there and, jumping into the Settings menu offers a terrific learning opportunity for those who are interested .

image

Ez Mode Picker GUI shown. As you can see, I’ve chosen to write an image file to disc. Writing image files to DVD, is the most common use I have for burner software.

image

Since I’m burning to a rewritable disc – ImgBurn has given me a “just in time” warning – saving me from what could have been a critical error – overwriting valuable data. It’s not likely that I would have saved important data on a DVD+RW but, that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t happen.

So, the warning popup as shown in the following screen capture – is absolutely necessary, in my view.

image

Given the go ahead, the application got right down to work – erased the disc; burned the ISO image; and verified the data. Total time to completion – 4 minutes 18 seconds (586 MB).

I do agree with regular reader Muncher W., that we could do without the blast of celebratory music.   Smile

image

In a comparable test (in conjunction with this review test), running CDBurnerXP, which I reviewed several days ago, that application, including a manual erasure of the disc’s contents (* more on that in a moment), took 4 minutes and 10 seconds. An inconsequently  time difference.

* If you are using a DVD-RW (as I did for these tests) which already contains data – CDBurnerXP will not warn you that you are about to overwrite that data. Bad! Very Bad!

image

As an expert user, I make it a practice to always read a rewritable disc before using that disc on a new job but, an average user might easily be burned (no pun intended), if that simple step is not followed. Better, I think, that a burner application should shout out a warning.

While CDBurnerXP, with its simple straightforward GUI and limited choices, is a very fine application for those who are relatively new to CD/DVD burning – the lack of a warning has the potential to cause havoc.

The chances may be slim – but, they are real, nevertheless.

The usual offer on installation. As always – caution is the byword.

image

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista and Win 7.

Download at: ImgBurn

A portable version is available at: The Portable Freeware Collection.

6 Comments

Filed under CD/DVD Tools, downloads, Freeware, Portable Applications, Software

One More New Year’s Resolution – I Will Learn To Backup My PC

imageTHIS is one resolution you MUST keep. And, to make it a snap to stick with this resolution – featured elsewhere in this post, you’ll find an updated review of arguably the best free (and dead easy to run), backup app around – EASEUS Todo Backup 4.

Here’s why I’d like to push you in that direction. Let’s start with a quote from my good buddy Dave Brooks, an A+ certified professional computer technician, and a popular guest writer here on Tech Thoughts:

“You don’t need to know how a PC works to use it, just like your car, if you have problems you visit a mechanic, you don’t need to know how it does what it does.

One thing you DO need to know is – you MUST back up your computer if you have anything of even remote value to you on it.”

Dave knows what he’s talking about. After fifteen years in the industry, Dave knows, that at some point, your computer will suffer system, or hardware failure.

What are you going to do then – if you don’t have a current (and tested) backup of your critical data, system/device drivers (something many of us forget), and user operating system settings?

Most important of all – how are you going to recover your irreplaceable data; documents, digital photos, email messages, personal and business related work, and important private data?

So backups are important – critically important. Despite the critical importance of Hard Drive backups, most computer technicians (including Dave), will tell you; typically, computer users’ do not backup their irreplaceable data.

If you should suffer catastrophic Hard Drive failure and you are one of the few, out of the ordinary, computer users who regularly and faithfully backup, you will have work ahead of you, but you will recover. But without a plan, your data becomes a hostage to fortune. Your Hard Drive might be damaged by malware – it might not. Your Hard Drive might fail – it might not. But why take the risk?

If you don’t yet have a backup plan, it’s time you thought seriously about developing one. Make developing and implementing a backup strategy, a New Years resolution you intend to keep.

The effort involved in learning how to protect your data, by developing and implementing a backup plan in today’s computing age, is minimal. Much easier than it was, even as little as two or three years ago.

The best backup strategy includes imaging your Hard Drives and partitions, since that allows you to restore your important data, your complete operating system, as well as your installed applications, user settings, etc.

There are loads of free applications out in the wild blue that, used properly and regularly, will speed to the rescue. One of the best free program, that I have no difficulty recommending, is EASEUS Todo Backup.

Free EASEUS Todo Backup 4 – Easy Backup For The Rest Of Us

This is a brilliant application that will allow you to backup, recover your backups, image your Hard Drives, clone your Hard Drives, and a host of additional features. All of this, in a “follow the bouncing ball” simple, user interface. If there’s an easier way to backup critical data, I have yet to find it.

The user interface has been designed so that a user with minimum computing experience, should have no difficulty.

image

The following screen captures illustrate the simple process of backing up a particular folder.

image

In this case, I choose the task name, selected the folder to be backed up, selected the backup media/location, and …..

image

Done!

image

Recovery, is point and click simple.

image

Additional functions and features are available under the “Tools” menu.

image

For example – you’ll have the option of creating a system boot disk. You should do so.

image

Fast facts:

System Backup and Recovery – One-click system backup. Backs up entire system state including the operating system and installed applications on-the-fly without interrupting your work to get the system up in time after crash.

Restore System to Dissimilar Hardware – The feature of “recover to dissimilar hardware” can simplify system migration with restoring system to dissimilar hardware configuration for hardware replacement under WinPE recovery environment.

File and Folder Backup – Backs up specified files, network shared files, files in use, folders or file types in case of virus attack, hard disk failure, or deletion by accident, etc.

Disk & partition Backup – Full backup disk(s)/partition(s), dynamic volume(s), or GPT disk(s)/volume(s) to image. It ensures PC security and instant data recovery in case of any data loss.

Incremental/Differential Backup – Provide alternatives to perform full backups each time by offering incremental backup and differential backup. To capture changes with saving time & disk space.

Backup Schedule – To run backup automatically at a predefined time. By scheduling a backup task, your system and important data can be backed up now, daily, weekly, monthly.

Network Data Protection – Easy way to full backup network data, including network shared files on NAS and Windows, with full backup, incremental backup, differential backup and schedule backup, etc.

Disk Clone Tool – Clone or transfer all the data on a hard disk to another. Clone disk is especially useful to upgrade your hard drive to a new one without reinstalling operating systems and applications.

Full list of features here.

System requirements: Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Win 7 (32 and 64 bit).

Download at: EASEUS

If you’re looking for a free application to handle all of your backup needs, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in EASEUS Todo Backup. Give it a try.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

10 Comments

Filed under Backup Tools, downloads, Freeware, Hard Drive Cloning, Hard Drive Imaging, Windows Tips and Tools