Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Computer Tip of the Day

Baby’s first steps. Graduations. Birthday parties. Wedding ceremonies. Today’s topic came from a comment during a conversation with a friend of mine– “That’s what life is; an accumulation of memories”–   and it got me onto to thinking about Deep Things.. and yes, I took a little stroll down my own Memory Lane…

But this is, after all, a tech site, and I am a World Renown Tech Journalist, and so I will not get all nostalgic on you. But I will point out to you that more and more frequently, we are coming to rely on our computers to help us ‘remember’.

What do I mean by that? Well, now that we have digital photography, the odds are pretty good that the pictures you take — of baby’s first steps, graduation, B-Day parties, etc. –are not in a shoebox, or photo album, but are on your hard drive. Your “home movies” too.
Perhaps your computer is the only place you have those pictures/memories?

Tip of the day: Loyal Friends and True to this series know that once a month I remind my readers to make a backup copy of their important files and to store those copies someplace else. That’s because hard drives fail. (Not all that often, I grant you that, but they do die.) They can also get corrupted by malware, or erased by a virus or hacker, or…

If — for some bizarre and mysterious reason — your computer (or, just the hard drive) croaked and started pushing up daisies, would you lose the only pictures you have of Junior’s birth? Of your graduation? Of your Grandmother?

Well, don’t let your heart get broken because you just “never got around” to making backup copies. Make copies today! Burn some CD’s/DVD’s and one other form of storage– another (external, maybe) hard drive, or perhaps online.

To help you, I refer you to two prior articles–
1) Windows has a built-in Backup Utility, found in Programs> Accessories> System Tools and my How To for using it is here,
Apple has a built-in Disk Imaging ability that is just great, but often overlooked:

2) Instead of buying an external drive, you might prefer to take advantage of an online storage service.. of which there are many. My article on selecting one is here,

Folks.. there are many, many reasons to make backup copies, and one reason not to (can you guess what it is?). Almost everyday in my real job I get calls from desperate people in a panic.. they’re panicked because they only have the one copy of their important stuff: don’t be one of them!

Today’s free download: Perhaps you would like a backup tool other than Windows’ own.. SyncBack is worth taking a look at. From C/Net Editor review, “This straightforward backup utility makes it a snap to safeguard and synchronize your files, and its freeware price just sweetens the deal. Surprisingly flexible for a free program, SyncBack can save your files anywhere: on external hard drives, in ZIP archives, on network drives, on CDs (using UDF), or transfer them via FTP. Recovering from a drive loss is also cinch, with a convenient restore tool that replicates folder trees along with the files in them.”

Today’s free link(s):
Also, I remind you of a prior posting here– the free Windows disk imaging utility DriveImageXML. Read an excellent review and get the download link here.

And Rick Robinette has found a plug-it-in-simple backup tool and describes it, here.

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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March 10, 2009 - Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, how to


  1. TechPaul,

    Great article! You are true to your word about reminding everyone to perform backups… I can personally attest to that.

    I always tell people if it is something you saved or created, “back it up”…

    Syncback is great backup software… Another one is Idlebackup which will periodically do backups for you and is geared toward the home based user…

    Thanks for another great article of instruction on your part.



    Comment by whatsonmypc | March 10, 2009 | Reply

    • Thank you for your support, Rick. Backups and cybercrime are my “pet issues” (and they’re not unrelated!).
      They are so important, and yet so neglected.

      Folks, Rick is a ‘rising star’ in the world of Tech blogs, and his site’s popularity is literally ‘taking off like a rocket’. I often visit his site more than once a day (he sometimes sneaks fresh ideas/post up at odd times). Click here and find out why.


      Comment by techpaul | March 10, 2009 | Reply

  2. Do Hard Drives fail? You bet.

    In the last month alone, I have replaced 3 Hard Drives for members of my community. Not ONE person had backups!!

    In fact, in the last few days one of my own HD’s has started to fail – the usual message “This drive is operating outside the usual parameters”. This drive however, does not contain data that cannot be retrieved elsewhere.

    Users should be aware that failing HD’s do not always provide a warning such as, “This drive is operating outside the usual parameters”.

    Often, the first indication of a failed drive is the users’ inability to boot.

    Thanks for this informative article.


    Comment by Bill Mullins | March 10, 2009 | Reply

    • Mr. Mullins,
      As you know, in “RL” I am a computer help & support technician. Out of all the clients who have called on me for “HELP!”, exactly one has had a recent backup. (Exactly all of them have had irreplaceable files/photos.)

      Every single person said to me, “yeah, I knew I should do it.. but I never got around to it.”

      Folks, Mr. Mullins is the author of the very first blog to be posted on my Blogroll. I read him daily. Click here and take a look at his site, and find out why.


      Comment by techpaul | March 10, 2009 | Reply

  3. […] emphasize the importance of performing routine backups of your files; I encourage you to read this “Computer Tip of the Day”  by  [ Tech for-Everyone].  TechPaul, author of the “Computer Tip of the Day” enumerates backup options that are […]


    Pingback by Backing up the files you personally value… « What’s On My PC | March 11, 2009 | Reply

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