Posts Tagged ‘#backup’

Freeze! Your backup is in danger.

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis May 16th, 2012

If you’ve been following my advice, you back up regularly.  But there are times when you should know how to lock, stop, or FREEZE your backups so that you don’t ruin them.  Let’s say, for example, you have a REALLY important document that gets corrupted somehow.  Maybe the power shut off in the middle of what you were doing, and you can’t open the file any more.  THIS is the perfect scenario for retrieving a file from backup.  The problem is, if you back up that file again BEFORE you retrieve it, you’re Hosed!  Screwed! Dataless!  You get the point.  The problem is that you overwrote the Good version from the last backup with the Bad version after it got ruined. How to prevent this?  TURN OFF YOUR AUTOMATIC BACKUP when trouble occurs.  Some do it by plugging in a USB memory stick.  If so, just turn off the program that automates the process (like  Allway Sync, for example).  If you use an Online backup, look for a command or menu item that does this.  In Carbonite it’s called Freezing your Backup.  For this service there’s about a 6 hour time lag with all files, so you have that long to choose the Freeze option.  If you do your backups MANUALLY, then that’s easy… just stop.  Don’t run another backup until you’ve retrieved what you needed.

Outlook 2010

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis December 5th, 2011

If you made the jump to Outlook 2010, you may have been surprised at some of the new layout and features.  It looks much more like Word and Excel now, since they added tabbed menus to try and anticipate everone’s needs.  To me it feels a little more cluttered.  I’m starting to get used to it though.  One thing I HATE is the fact that they MOVED the Sent and Deleted Items folders.  They used to be mixed in with all the others, in alphabetical order.  Now they appear at the top of the folder list.  Grrrr.  I bet I’ve scrolled down the list 50 times already, only to realize it’s back up there where I started.  The other irritating thing I see is that the File Menu now completely wipes out your view of the current doument.  BUT it’s got a lot more utilities and options, so I think it’s a good trade-off.  For those of you who want to continue using the automated backup for Outlook (downloaded here), you have to make a change before it will work correctly.  See this page for details.  NOTE:  Microsoft claims it won’t work.  It will if you follow these directions.

Deleted Email

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis November 17th, 2011

Email is a whole different story when it comes to deleting.  First of all, it depends on HOW you do your email.  If you use WEBMAIL, you are looking at items that exist in THE CLOUD.  So somewhere out there, on a server, all your mail is stored.  Whether it’s Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail, someone else has control of your stuff.  Some of them have a way for you to save a local copy of email as EML, PDF or other formats.  This is a good thing to do if it’s important because  if you delete it from the cloud, and then remove it from the Deleted Items folder, you will probably NEVER get it back.  They don’t offer any kind of back up or retrieval services on the freebies.  MAYBE on a premium account, but these are expensive.  On the other hand, if you use a local email routine like Outlook or Windows Live Mail, your backup can help.  But you should be aware that Outlook and some others store all your stuff in one great big file (for Outlook it’s called a PST file).  So if something gets deleted from inside this file (and removed from Deleted Items), it’s difficult or impossible to restore.  Unlike a file deletion, there’s no bits left that show it existed AND the PST file still exists, without the content you lost.  This is why it’s CRITICAL to back up your PST file if you use Outlook.  Note that Microsoft has an add-on that will automatically back up your PST when you exit.  You can get it here.  NOTE:  Another Ball Dropped by E-how.  They claim you can find your deleted Outlook mail by looking in the Recycle bin!  This is just plain WRONG, and silly.  Shame on you guys!

Deleted files

Helpful Hints, Warnings | Posted by Dennis November 16th, 2011

Sometimes we make mistakes.  It’s pretty easy to accidentally delete a file.  Of course, windows can help right away if you check your Recycle Bin (or Deleted Items in email).  But what if those are gone, too?  This is one really good reason to BACK UP.  But if you don’t have a backup, what then?  TURN OFF YOUR PC and CALL a PROFESSIONAL.  We have tools that allow us to find and restore deleted files, but the longer you run Windows, the less likely we’d be able to get it back.  See, when a file is deleted, just the first part of it is lopped off.  The rest remains intact until it’s written over.  The longer you run Windows, the more likely that space will get written over.  Note that there are forensics tools that the FBI and other labs use that can retrieve many layers of the magnetic writes.  It’s a lengthy and sophisticated (thus Expensive) process though.  If you WANT to totally remove sensitive files, then use a software SCRUBBER.  It erases, completely, and many times so that this type of retrieval is much more difficult if not impossible.

Great Android Protection

Helpful Hints | Posted by Dennis October 2nd, 2011

Ok, so this time I tested BEFORE I spouted off about a program.  :-)  I’ve been running Lookout for Android for about two weeks now, and I REALLY like it.  It’s quiet, unobtrusive, and has some of the top ratings for protecting your phone.  It’s available for  Android, Blackberry, and Windows phone.  The BEST thing about it is that it not only gives you antivirus, but also a backup option (to the web – you must have an account) and a FIND YOUR PHONE feature, all for free.  The program has run flawlessly on my phone since I installed it, and has given me some great piece of mind.  You get even more features if you buy the full product, but I haven’t tried it.  You can download Lookout here.


Helpful Hints | Posted by Dennis July 4th, 2011

Screenshot of Acronis True ImageThere’s a way to take a COMPLETE snapshot of your PC’s  hard drive called Imaging.  It allows you to recover the contents, including recovery partitions, boot sectors, and all programs.  I regularly (about once per year) make images of ALL my PC’s on an external USB hard drive, so that if I have a disaster I can quckly get it back to working order.  Then I restore my documents and I’m in good shape.  Creating an image requires that you boot to a disk or other media to free up all the files.  Win 7 has an imaging option, but there are better packages available.  Norton Ghost was pretty good way back when, but my favorite these days is called Acronis True Image.  Note that if you make a bootable disk, you don’t need multiple licenses to image several PC’s.

Sync or swim

Helpful Hints | Posted by Dennis June 18th, 2011

Sometimes we don’t just need to back up our stuff, we need to synchronize two sets (aka Sync).  This can be really handy in a lot of cases.  I use a sync tool to keep a copy of all my software tools and doc’s on a memory stick.  Any time I need my stuff, it’s on my main computer, but it’s also in my pocket wherever I go.  I can make changes to EITHER SET, and my sync tool makes sure that both copies are updated.  I’ve tried a lot of the sync gizmos, but the one I like the best is called Allway Sync.  It’s free for limited use, and has a TON of options to automate the process.

Win 7 action center

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis March 12th, 2011

The Action Center in Windows 7 was a much needed improvement.  It gives you a central place to review any problems on your PC, and all the settings like Control Panel.  The easy way to get to it is the little white flag in your bottom right system tray, by the clock.  It notifies you if you need to back up, or update virus protection, and many other things.  To me, the best part is Error Reporting.  Microsoft (MS) tried to implement this idea waaay back in Windows XP, but it didn’t work.  Finally, in this version, if your PC locks up or crashes for some reason, you can opt to tell MS about it, AND THEY ACTUALLY LISTEN.  Keep watching the action center – eventually you’ll get a message in there about how to Solve Problems.  In that section will be an ANSWER TO YOUR ISSUE!  Sometimes it’s bad news; they simply don’t know or don’t have enough information.  But lots of times it will have the correct solution, with links to help you fix it!  Kudos to MS.  :-)

Back up your stuff!

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis December 30th, 2010

Is it important?  Then BACK IT UP.  We have countless (sad!) stories of people losing a decade’s worth  of pictures, songs, or work because they failed to do this.  There are lots of options, but the three most popular are 1) memory sticks 2) USB or network drives and 3) online backup.  Memory sticks are now available up to 256 Gb, but the price break is at about 32 Gb right now.  USB/network drives offer much larger capacity and often come with software to automate your backup.  The most recent trend, online backup, sends your stuff to “the cloud”.  Carbonite is one of the most popular, and reasonable, online backup services.  Be sure to check pricing, security, and reviews before purchasing any of these.