Windows Computers – Backup approach to programs, files

 

 

I am also still amazed as to how much maintenance time you have to give to one’s computer system, spyware, viruses, security system now as well. It seems we now  also  have to spend much more time on computer maintenance too then over when computers had first come out in the 1980’s too and they are just as costly overall now as well. A separate back up computer also   seems to be an essential  reality these days too.
 
Not only have the software programs also  become too often more complicated, often not user friendly as well, they now take a massive hard disk space and seem to also require a computer system upgrade too, so one now basically needs plenty of time, even  a degree in computer science if you really want to use your computer for much more then just browsing the internet.
  
Thanks to this imperfect world, viruses, bad people, the continually need of a reliable computer  data back up software even due to  the short comings of Windows Back up and  restore is another serious problem now as well.  It is thus now a very well-known fact that most computers are  very susceptible to failures still,  hard drive crashes or virus attacks. 

 

   
As much as every computer user may want to deny the inevitable, your computer’s stored data is only as secure as your backups. Every hard drive even for home users is eventually next  going to eventually  sooner or later fail (and malicious software frequently targets also the  data files), and thus you will lose your invaluable   files, documents, programs, and all other information that you have kept and stored in your computer unless you have a good backup. It used to be when a hard drive was guaranteed for 5 years, these days some do even fail within the first 2 years. You really cannot relay on anything these days.
  
It is a real shock still to find out that the Microsoft Vista Operating system as well really is not perfect, and that Internet explorer 7 can be corrupted, but it next cannot be repaired, reinstalled  as well. The hard rive has to be reformatted and all the programs reinstalled. So now you need to also back up your operating system and your own programs.  Reformatting the whole hard drive and re installing all the software from scratch  is now rather is not a too pleasant alternative as well.
 
Now  – what do you need to backup and what equipment, software do you need to do it ?
 
You really firstly also do need to backup your personal files, data  that you do not want to lose. These would be any documents such as Word  files, spreadsheets,  pictures, email, videos  – almost any files that you have created. Unless you have set up custom folders, you will most likely find your data in ”My Documents” somewhere. The  E-mail depends on what email client you are using. For Outlook Express there is free backup program available called Outlook Express Freebie Backup depending on what version of Windows you are using now too. 
  
Reliably Backing up of the stored data,  information is a very necessary act, precaution to protect one’s data from being lost forever. It requires some costs but it is still cheaper than losing all of your important data. Backing up your programs is also required. Even CD and DVD disks have been known to fail, as well as operating programs.
  
The best method of back ups? What also is currently the best protected DVD backup method/software? What are some of the best backup software?
    
There are hundreds of ways available to back up your operating system and data, but clearly some of them are far and away better than the others.
 
 CD disks, DVD disks, Zip disks, Hard disks  and pretty much anything else you can think of will also eventually fail one day.  One of the worst assumptions that you can make is that your data is safe when it’s only contained on one medium. Having one copy of it too is also a very  bad assumption, approach. Even t an external drive is as likely to fail as any internal drive. So sure it all takes work, but it take much more work when you lose the data to recovery if if even not likely now too
  
Flash memory, also known as memory sticks, flash drives, or thumb drives, are a suitable solution for data backup when the backup amount is now somewhat small. Often used for transferring small files from one computer to another . Flash memory drives are easy to plug into any PC with a USB port. These drives offer unlimited rewrite capabilities and are available in capacities ranging anywhere from 64 MB to 8 GB and more. Flash memory data durability is estimated to be roughly 10 years. Another advantage of flash memory is that data stored on flash drives is not susceptible to damage caused by magnets.
  
These days, nearly every computer has a DVD-ROM drive that can write large amounts of information to either a DVD-R or CD-R disc. The discs themselves are relatively inexpensive, bur  now they  still are not a  great form of serious back up solutions for the too often  large amount of data backup, and they still do need proper care,  proper  labels and checked for consistency.
  
Backing up on any disks is not longer feasible or fun because of the number of disks needed. DVD backup is no longer  a practical alternative for home users and especially the small businesses.   Single-layer DVDs can hold up to 4.7 GB of data and dual-layer DVDs can hold up to 8.5 GB. DVD technology is not  a suitable option for storing backup data  the GENERAL large amounts of backup data WHEN the hard DRIVES ARE 250, 500, 750 GB OR 1 Terrabytes these days too. So it’s preferable to use CD/DVD-ROM backup as a secondary method of data backup
 
Tape backups. Combined with their costs, decreased accessibility, even errors too,  and the advances made in the availability of such storage devices as the CD-R, the CD-RW, and the DVD-R, tape backups have become less popular and practically obsolete especially  for home computer users
  
Online storage is one of the newest methods of storing your files, of course backup data also. Online storage solutions enable people to upload their data to a reliable server located in a secure environment. Another advantage of storing files online is that users can access these files from any location as long as they have a computer with Internet access. But can you really store a lot of data there, and is it safe to do so as well. Do you want others to access your data ?
  
All Hard drives have really come down in price firstly. So you can practically   back up hard drive as needed with a full image copy of all of  the files too, and  for each computer. A secondary  Internal  or External hard drives are my own best choice for the most reliable, simplest, and most affordable method of backup for home or small business users.  As with any other form of backup, it’s important to regularly check what you’ve been backing up to ensure that everything’s always there where it should be. Good backup habits now are a very important part of computer usage and they can leave you with a   peace of mind too. You need a right size external hard drive and the right back up software program now as well.
  
There are two basic types of backups that can be performed by various software: backing up the partial or whole disk image and/or backing up the selectd files, data.
 
In “Vista – The file backup and restore features in Windows Vista now  make it easier for you to keep your data safe from user error, hardware failure, and other problems. The Windows Backup and Restore Center gives you one place to manage all backup and restore features.  Depending on the version of Windows Vista you have, there are two approaches you can take to backing up files: Automatic Backup, which backs up just your files and data; or Complete PC Backup, which backs up everything on your PC, including the operating system and applications. Not available in the   Windows Vista Home Premium edition.   While file restore is useful in cases of file loss and data corruption, Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore is most useful for disaster recovery when your PC malfunctions. This feature helps you create complete PC backups, and then in the event of a serious system issue or data loss, Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore can restore your entire PC environment, including the operating system, installed programs, user settings, and data files. You can restore your PC back to its original state or onto another PC. Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore can be initiated from within Windows Vista or from the Windows Vista installation CD, if the PC is not able to start up normally from the hard disk.    With Windows Vista (specifically the Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions), Microsoft  approach to backups is with the inclusion of the ability to create a complete, restorable image of the system drive along with all programs and files. File Backup has been improved to make data protection simpler and more thorough, and two new features, Windows® Complete PC Backup and Restore and Shadow Copy, have been added but not to all of the Vista packages.. This works similarly to any of the currently available third party imaging tools like Norton Ghost or -my favourite- Acronis TrueImage. I say ’similarly’ because the Windows Vista tools are not as robust as the aforementioned ones. For example, Acronis TrueImage allows individual files within an image to be restored, whereas Vista’s Backup does not. The entire image must be restored. At any rate, it’s still better than nothing and easy to use for the home user.”  First So, using Vista’s Backup,  you  create a complete file, and not program image to another hard drive  .  Next, after installing all your  programs you seperately do need to  copying over your data files. With Vista a user cannot select files and folders to be backed up; Vista has already selected groups of files: Meanwhile I will continue to use Acronis TrueImage (which not only creates disk images as well backups of individual files and folders, but I can use this progrma with my XP computer as well), Vista’s Backup will surely benefit the home user (and much mnore to those  with the Ultimate edition) when used regularly. Pin the shortcut to your Start menu, or better yet, create a shortcut to it on your desktop.”
  
In my case Vista operating system itself became corrupted.. and the file backup and restore features in my Windows Vista alone was not adequate to deal with this..
 
It is recommended that you Grab an external USB hard drive slightly larger than the hard drive in your existing laptop (which should cost significantly less than $200), partition it in a similar way that your current drive is partitioned, and optionally instead then use the free utility DrvClonerXP to clone the partitions on the drive. You’ll have a perfect backup that you could even boot from (assuming that your machine can boot from an external drive), as well as a backup drive for regular future use. http://www.softpedia.com/get/System/Back-Up-and-Recovery/DrvClonerXP.shtml
  
DrvClonerXP – Clone disk partitions ! DrvClonerXP copies a whole drive partition byte-for-byte, sector-by-sector, directly to another drive partition, producing an exact reproduction (clone) of the original partition.  No intermediate file is created in the process. Unlike a disk imaging tool, it does not save the image to disk (for backup or other purpose) but applies it directly to the selected partition. Use it, if you want to create a clone of your drive for whatever reason, (new hard drive etc.)
 Here are some key features of “DrvClonerXP”:  · DrvClonerXP quickly clones NTFS and FAT32 drive partitions, for the Windows 2000/XP operating systems, by copying, byte-for-byte, the drive partition’s structure to another partition, creating a perfect duplicate, without creating an intermediate image file (as with DrvImagerXP). 

· Create identical bootable partitions! Copy an existing hard drive onto a new hard drive!

· Though not as powerful and flexible as “Drive Image” or “Ghost” drive imaging programs, the simplicity, yet powerful capabilities of DrvClonerXP make it the favorite choice for many.
  
Since you too had ordered Norton Ghosts or Acronis… do instead  take advantage of it and Image the entire drive then back up data daily. If you add or remove applications go ahead and re-image the entire drive, The best time to image the drive is immediately after everything is installed and all personal preferences are set for each program–that is assuming a home or office type computer. Don’t forget to create a restore point on the computer as well before you back up  the whole hard drive. I back up 2 computers on my one large  external plug and play hard drive.
  
“I think the most convenient and nearly the safest place for a backup image of your system hard drive is on an external hard drive left unconnected and electrically off unless it is being used to backup the system file, or being used to reconstitute the system file from a stored image. This keeps the chances of losing the external hard drive and the system drive at the same time to a minimum. For extra insurance, do still also make DVD disc backups of the backup image, and store them in a different place. That gives you the ultimate protection from a system catastrophe. I use Acronis True Image for my backup, and it runs very efficiently on my Vista and XP computers, system. The boot disc generated by the program, allows easy emergency access to external hard drives connected by USB.”

 

The best forms of backup are automatic, because people make errors, and contrary to popular belief, computers do not.  Programs like Norton Ghost, Acronis, etc do  create periodic copies of files onto external drives and other medium—you can set them up so that when you’re sleeping, your computer is copying your important pictures, documents, and whatever else you need onto your external drive.  If your internal hard disk fails, at least you can simply install a new hard drive, and your files are waiting for you on your external. But still do keep a copy of your important files on a DVD disk in case something goes wrong. You can    use Syncback  http://www.2brightsparks.com/assets/software/SyncBack_Setup.zip     (which is free, but SyncBackPro is not) to do your backups.  For CD or DVD use the writer of your choice. Most people seem to  use Nero. Syncback and nero will copy whatever you want to have copied, but a copy of the operating system and programs will not work. They must be installed unless you use one of the separate drive imaging programs. Make sure they also copy all of your data and not just the programs.
  
When to backup – manually at least about once a week. Daily automatically, it takes about 2 hours or more.
  
Internal Backup, One Disk approach. For an existing  particularly large hard drive, the hard disk can be partitioned so that one partition may be used as a repository of backup data. For this type of backup, you can use automatic backup software, which will do the needed daily backups of data you have specified or a full backup of your active partitions. You can also manually copy your essential  files from your active drive partition to your backup drive partition as long as you do this regularly. This is one of the least advisable forms of backup out there, because the backup partition becomes as useless as the main partition if your hard drive ever crashes. And one day it will. With only an internal hard drive when the data is corrupted or the OS corrupted, both drives corrupted. 
  
” I had 2 hard drives in my system and was backing up data files from one to the other thinking that the chances of both drives failing at the same time would be astronomical. Then the power supply failed and when I installed a new one both drives would not boot. Apparently the power supply put out too much voltage that zapped the circuit board on both drives. I’m backing up to an external hard drive now “.
  
Internal or external Backup, Multiple Disks approach. You can also set up another hard drive for backup within or preferably an external, removeable, plug and play hard drive to your computer. With only an internal hard drive when the data is corrupted or the OS corrupted, both drives corrupted.
  
This second removable external hard drive is a separate entity from your first, active hard drive, so it presents greater protection and data security in the likely case your active hard drive is corrupted. 
 
In both of these these case you can use a software PROGRAM  to create a mirror image of one hard drive on the other hard drive automatically or manually. The advantage of the manual disconnect APPROACH is that your data is completely safe if you suffer a hard drive crash, and this will  protect you from a virus or spyware secondary infection, as the infection will not be written to the separate backup drive right along with the good data. A good anti virus program  should help to prevent this or to deal with this.

 

For very serious work.. “I would strongly recommend that you back up your data. I am a photographer for our church and I am responsible for photographing all programs and activities. About a year and haft ago I switch to a digital camera. Since the hard drive in the computer was not large enough I purchase a Maxtor OneTouch 250 GB USB drive. I had about four thousand pictures on it. The drive was running fine and I was real happy with it. I knew that I needed to back it up and planned on getting another external drive to mirror the data on. One day a couple of months back I was going to download some photos from my camera and when I started the computer and external drive, the Maxtor drive would not power up. The drive was still under warranty and I contacted Maxtor. They sent me a replacement drive. Because some of the pictures were critical to our building program I needed to recover them. I contacted a data recovery company and it cost us $1200 (the data recovery company quoted me $1200 to $3500) to recover the files on the drive. We were fortunate that it was only the electronics that failed and the data was still available on the disks. This was a costly mistake but it could have been worse. There was no warning, one day it was working fine and the next day it didn’t. I strongly recommend that you analyze your data on your computer and if any of it is valuable and irreplaceably then you had better back it up. I now have two external hard drives that I store the data on and I burn a copy onto DVD disk to store in another location just in case a disaster happen to our church. I make two back ups of the data. I decided that I would mirror the hard drives so I could have faster recovery in case one failed. I also made backups on DVD’s.  I buy two different brands of blank DVD’s and make one copy on each of the brands and  then store them in two different locations (miles apart) just in case of a natural disaster.   “ 
  
Firstly I do have a Backup  computer with the same capacity. I  backup of all my important  data on it about once a month  (about 100 GB )  This ensures that even if the main computer  crashes and burns (i.e, the defective power supply kills both drives), I still do have a ”live” electronic copy and back up computer to use.
  
I also do a Backup to DVD. About once per quarter, I  also do make backups onto DVD of important data.
  
I also personally still firstly do like both of the computer’s entire HD backed up. And you can make a good  backup program do what you want it to do. If something happens Next I simply insert the Acronis backed up HD and I am up and running again. With the external portable hard drive I have been backing up from one computer to another as well.

  

 

   
One of the most important things you need to remember about backup is that files still do  need to be checked for consistency.  Any file transfer can go poorly and only copy part of your data over, leaving you with a corrupt file that’s now next  virtually useless.  If you use automatic transfer, you still should check your files about once a week or so.  Make a habit of it.  Remember that your files are only safe if  you can actually now also see that they’re safe.
 

 
Unison is a file-synchronization tool for Unix and Windows. It allows two replicas of a collection of files and directories to be stored on different hosts (or different disks on the same host), modified separately, and then brought up to date by propagating the changes in each replica to the other.  Unison runs on both Windows and many flavors of Unix (Solaris, Linux, OS X, etc.) systems. Moreover, Unison works across platforms, allowing you to synchronize a Windows laptop with a Unix server, for example.   MSVC Windows version (GTK+, at least version 2.12, and text versions in each zip file): 2.26.14, 2.27.57 (2008.01.20, stable), 2.28.34 (2008.01.20, unstable), 2.30.4 (2008.06.28, experimental)  A GTK+ 2.12 runtime environment, needed to run this version, may be downloaded from the Pidgin project. http://alan.petitepomme.net/unison/index.html
  
Dropbox   Dropbox Syncs and Backs Up Files Between Computers Instantaneously Store, Sync, and Share your files online. Freeware application and web service. Dropbox instantaneously backs up and syncs your files over the internet and to any computer. http://www.getdropbox.com/downloading
  
SyncToy2 for Windows XP   SyncToy helps you copy, move, rename, and delete files between folders and computers quickly and easily.
  
ComparerCmd 0.0.2.0   Comparer is files compare application which uses Total Commander’s WDX plugins. Download
This is console version of application from above. It should be unpacked into Comparer’s directory because it uses the same config file.
Total Commander  is a Shareware file manager for Windows® 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista, and Windows® 3.1. Official site of TC you can find at http://ghisler.com. Get more   plugins (WLX) for Total Commander  http://en.totalcmd.pl/download/wlx
  
On top of that you can encrypt the hard drive back up in case the external hard drive gets stolen so no one can get access to your data too. Norton Ghost and Acronis have that option.
 
EncryptOnClick  DOWNLOAD [Freeware: 1.48MB]  http://www.2brightsparks.com/assets/software/EncryptOnClick_Setup.exe    EncryptOnClick v1.3.1.3 is a program that lets you securely encrypt and decrypt files. Ensure the files you want to keep safe and out of view from others stay that way. The program is very simple to use and features military grade 256-bit AES encryption. Note that you are entirely responsible for remembering the passwords you use when encrypting your files with EncryptOnClick.  No one next cannot tell you what your password is if you forget it, and we have no method for retrieving lost or forgotten passwords.
 
One of the most important things you need to remember about backup is that files still do  need to be checked for consistency.  Any file transfer can go poorly and only copy part of your data over, leaving you with a corrupt file that’s now next  virtually useless.  If you use automatic transfer, you still should check your files about once a week or so.  Make a habit of it.  Remember that your files are only safe if  you can actually now also see that they’re safe.

 

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Many applications still don’t work with Vista, so why not keep a copy of Windows XP? With separate drive partitions, you can install several operating systems and have a choice on startup.
 
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Other Tips
 
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Dealing with Viruses, Trojan Agents a list of tools and utilities that I too also would  like to suggest to people. This list is full of great tools and utilities to help you understand how you got infected and how to keep from getting infected again.
 
Customizing Right-Click Menu Options in Windows  This document gives step by step instructions for customizing the options that appear on the right-click menu for various file types.
 
How do I configure Internet Explorer to download more than two files at a time?  By default, Internet Explorer limits the number of files that you can download at a time to two. This can really slow things down for you if you want to download more than two files at a time. This article helps you increase the number of files that you can download at a time to 10. To have us fix this problem for you, go to the “Fix it for me” section. If you would rather fix this problem yourself, go to the “Let me fix it myself” section.  Note This procedure is for information only. Changing the maximum number of connections beyond two is against Internet standards. We do not recommend this procedure for use on public networks.
 
Got any better suggestions, recommendations?
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