Tech – for Everyone

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

Software Giveaway: Handy Backup

Folks, I am pleased to announce my latest software license giveaway drawing.

The folks at have asked me to run another giveaway of their highly regarded backup software, and this time have generously donated 7 licenses for Handy Backup Standard to me, to award to my readers. I sincerely thank them for that. (The first giveaway proved very popular!) So I am going to do a random drawing¹ contest from folks who “enter” by posting a comment (below). The drawing will close Thursday, October 6th, and the winners announced Friday. So act now!

Handy Backup ($39 retail) is a program for creating “backup copies” of the files on your computer – which regular readers know, is something I repeatedly urge people to do! With a backup program like Handy Backup, you can set-it-and-forget-it

I personally do not use “online backup” as my ‘solution’, nor will I ever. I use external drives (and/or discs) and software like Handy Backup. I do not trust “the cloud” to either be secure or always available. And with my method, I’m not renting, I’m owning. Below, I will give you my impressions of HB and some screenshots, but first…

CNet Editors say,
“Handy Backup Standard offers users an easy, streamlined approach to backing up important files and folders. Novice users will especially appreciate the program’s easy navigation.”

Publisher’s description:

Handy Backup™ Standard is an easy-to-use backup software designed to perform automated backup of your computer. User-friendly interface and a rich set of backup features make it one of the best PC backup software for home and small office use.

Handy Backup will automatically backup your data with the options of file mask filtering, backup compression, backup encryption, “native”, and other options. The application supports backing up to DVD/CD, Blu-ray, HD DVD discs, LAN/FTP and Online.

I found it easy enough for beginners, as it uses a “wizard” to walk you through the process of creating a “task” (a backup, or a restore) the first time it runs (but after that first time, you need to click on “New task”, which is not made obvious). I particularly like Handy Backup’s ability to automatically “span” a backup set across multiple CD/DVD discs (you must place a check in a checkbox, though), prompting you to insert a fresh disc when it fills up the current one. (One other note.. you need to place a check in “Verify the backup after burning” to help ensure a successful write. This should be the default, IMHO.) Handy Backup successfully handled every backup and every restore operation I tested it with. It is a full-featured backup solution.
One critique: it does not support “selective file restoring”.

To see the full Handy Backup slideshow, click here. (the article will open in a new window.)

How to enter? Residents of the US and Canada only may enter the contest drawing by simply clicking on “comment” (below), and entering a name and a valid e-mail (so I can send you a license key) in the form. Actually commenting is optional. And, I shouldn’t have to say this, but multiple entries will result in disqualification. (In this contest. Entry in prior contests doesn’t count against you.)

Again, I thank the folks at for making this giveaway possible. A 30-day free trial can be downloaded here, Download Handy Backup. Try it out yourself. (And then leave a comment. You may just win an activation key..)

¹ All entrants will be placed into’s “randomizer”, and the top 7 results will be the winners.

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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October 3, 2011 Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, free software | , , , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

5 Tips For Choosing A Cloud Backup Provider

Loyal readers know that I harp on having a good backup solution in place and working for you (to insure your data, and to make recovering from ‘disaster’ easier). And loyal readers have heard me say that my articles about ‘backups’ are real ratings bombs.

For example.. I wrote a rather informative article, A Parachute for Your PC | Advice about “online backup” solutions, (which included links to reviews of such services) and it got maybe 20 reads.

But this is an important topic, and online backup is a viable option that folks should be aware of, so .. the link above is a reco’d read, and also there’s this reco’d read: Five tips for backing up your data to the cloud

“Cloud backups may seem like an ideal offsite storage solution. But as Brien Posey discovered, you need to do your homework before selecting a cloud backup service.

In many ways, the cloud has solved the problem of storing data backups offsite. In spite of all the marketing hype the cloud has been receiving lately, though, it is not necessarily the ideal solution when it comes to backing up your network. Here are a few factors you may want to consider before you adopt a cloud backup solution.”

Now.. since I used the word “cloud”.. and”parachute”.. and it is the weekend…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

YouTube – Blue Angels, posted with vodpod

Copyright 2007-2011 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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March 5, 2011 Posted by | computers | , , , , , | 8 Comments

Like Clockwork

By no means am I the hardest working man in the tech blog business, (IMHO that title belongs to Bill Mullins) but I have been posting daily computer tips & tricks & and How To’s for over two years now — just a hair shy of 800 articles . I have answered reader questions, and I have tried to raise public awareness of how the cybercriminals are ruining the Internet, as well as offered advice on protecting your computers from their malware.

Loyal friends of this site will be able to tell you that I have a couple of “pet” topics which I return to, and will remember that once a month, like clockwork, I would run an article on the Windows disk cleanup and defrag tools, (such as, Revitalize Your PC With Windows’ Utilities*) and say that this is the proper way to “speed up your PC” and make it run like it did when it was new. (Or, add RAM.)

Sad Also once a month – like clockwork – I would polish up and re-post some article describing how many fewer unpleasant conversations I would have as a computer tech (my real job) if – repeat, IF – the person had made a backup copy of their files.

Once a month, I would remind people that perfectly good hard drives will occasionally up and die for no apparent reason.

Once a month, I would remind people that some of the “infections” they can get hit with are now so nasty that the only trustworthy “cure” for them is to erase the hard disk and start fresh (called a “reformat”) which is much less of a big deal when you have a clean backup copy of your stuff.

But about six months ago, or so, I gave up that monthly reminding.

Those articles didn’t get reads – real ratings bombs, they were – and… well, let me put it this way: about a year ago I mentioned that in all the while I’ve been running Aplus Computer Aid, only one client had answered “yes” when I asked if they had a backup.
Yesterday I finally had a second. But he is a noted Computer Security expert, and I would have been !!shocked!! if he hadn’t.

Once a month, like clockwork, I used to ask people if they didn’t have irreplaceable photographs, music they had paid for, tax records, etc., on their machines, and that was their only copy? Hard disks die, you know!

Sometimes I think I managed to write so convincingly that at least two readers said to themselves, “he’s right. I really need to burn some CD’s”.

But did they actually ever get around to it? I don’t know. I wouldn’t bet on it.

So, folks, what about it. Have you made a backup copy of your hard disk in the last .. oh.. say, two weeks? Two months?
Yeah. I know. There aren’t enough hours in the day…

Maybe these articles will help.
* How To Use Windows Backup Tool
* Enable ShadowCopy On Home Editions / XP
* Save Thousands With a Free Tool (You Already Have)
* Backup, Backup, Backup With Free DriveImage XML

Because, perfectly good hard drives will occasionally up and die for no apparent reason, and you may surf to the wrong site and have to do a reformat.

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

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September 1, 2009 Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, file system, how to | , , , | 11 Comments