Oct 29, 2009

Should I backup online?

Until recently I kept all my files on an external hard drive. So far, so good. Last year my laptop just stopped working. One day it was fine and the next day kapowee it won't boot up. Lost everything. Luckily I had copied a lot of my files onto Microsoft's SkyDrive so that was great. But I hadn't been diligent about keeping it updated and unfortunately lost a lot of information. After that happened I decided to stop using my local hard drive and use an external hard drive. I was feeling pretty smart about that when one day my husband brought up the idea that ... even an external hard drive can fail. Duh, why didn't that occur to me? Now I'm using Microsoft Mesh. It's a free service and I'll admit it doesn't give you much space and isn't real easy to figure out but at least I could recover my files if I needed to.

What's your story? Are you backing up your files? According to a recent article by Kim Komando
  • 43% of people lose irreplaceable files every year
  • Only about 3 out of 100 stolen laptops are recovered
  • Thousands of files are lost every year to disasters like fires, floods, etc.
  • Up to 13% of hard drives crash in their first year
Kim recommends an online service called Carbonite. We like using MozyPro for our business and may be switching for our personal use as well. But what ever you decide to use - just use something. Don't find yourself in that 43% category with no backup of your data. Here are a few ideas:
  • Online backups (like Carbonite, or MozyPro)
  • Online backups for free - Microsoft's SkyDrive, or Mesh
  • Copy files to an external hard drive
  • Copy files to a CD or DVD
One further note I would add is to be sure and backup your email and contact information. That is one of the things I lost when my laptop crashed - I still don't have all the contacts back - and there were lots of emails that I was keeping and now can't recover.

Oct 27, 2009

Windows 7 Upgrade Confusion

Read an article from ComputerWorld by Gregg Keizer about some confusion with upgrading to Windows 7. Evidently a company called Digital River was offering discounted downloadable upgrades to students for Windows Version 7. 100's of customers complained that they were receiving an error message when trying to install the upgrade. According to Digital River and Microsoft, the problem occurs when students purchased a 64 bit version of Windows 7 to download onto their 32 bit existing versions of either Vista or Windows XP. I have to admit, I probably would make the same mistake and was curious about the difference between 32 bit and 64 bit. So I typed into Google (gotta love that!) "Difference Between 32 bit and 64 bit Windows". Amazingly an article from Microsoft popped up and I read all about it! Evidently some 32 bit computers are capable of running 64 bit but some are not able to. I decided to check out my own laptop. Here were the instructions: Open your Control Panel (by clicking first on the Start button) and go into Systems Maintenance. Click on Performance Information and Tools. View and Print Details. In the System Section you can read if you are running 32 or 64 bit and whether your computer even has the capability of running 64 bit. Be sure to check it out before downloading your upgrade. Digital River mentioned they would give refunds so if you ran into this problem read the article - it gives instructions on how to get that refund.