Tech – for Everyone

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

How To Make A Copy Of Your Favorites List

Loyal readers of this site know that I am a huge fan of making backups of your digital stuff. Making a copy before you need it, and keeping it off to the side, makes bouncing back from “glitches” so much easier. And it prevents the anguish and frustration of “data loss”.
Backups are “good” and you want them.

Tip of the day: Today’s tip is a quick and simple action that “exports” a copy of your Internet “Favorites” (aka “bookmarks”) from Internet Explorer. You can then “import” the copy (copy back) at a later date, or transfer them into IE on a different machine.

1) Internet Explorer calls Website bookmarks “Favorites” and you access your list by clicking the gold star icon (upper left), and you add websites to your list by clicking on the icon right next to it — the gold star overlaid with the green + sign.
That is also the icon that manages your Favorites, so click that.

Imp_Exp

2) click on “Import and Export”.

3) Now a “wizard” will open and tell us how helpful it can be to us. Click “Next” to get to the actually helpful page.

ExportWizard

4) Click on “Export Favorites”, and then click “Next” all the way through the wizard. Now you will have a file called “bookmark.htm” in your Documents folder — that is your backup copy.
[note: you can “browse” to a different Save location if you prefer.]

That’s it. You’re done. Now you can repeat this process but choose “Import” to copy it back into IE if you ever need to.. or transfer it to another machine’s Internet Explorer.

For more of my Internet Explorer tips, see Quick Tips for Internet Explorer.

Today’s free link: Firefox users interested in this type of ability will be interested to know that the process is almost identical to the steps above.. or they may be interested in a more comprehensive tool, The easy way to backup your Firefox profiles…

Today’s free download(s):
Today’s first free download is for Mozilla users and is contained in the link directly above.
For a truly comprehensive backup tool, see Backup, Backup, Backup With Free DriveImage XML

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

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June 30, 2009 Posted by | advice, browsers, computers, how to, IE 7, Internet, PC, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

How To Use Windows Backup Tool

Wizard Automatically Copies Your Daily Changes

You’ve all heard it; you can’t say you haven’t been told, can you? You want to back up your data. A back up copy of your music, pictures, records, and correspondence [your memories] can be a lifesaver (well…maybe not a life-saver, but how about a tears and sorrow-saver?).

In my previous article on defragmentation, I showed you how to use Windows’ built-in Task Scheduler to solve the problem of file fragmentation using a ”set it and forget it” method. Today I’m going to show you how to use basically the same tool to create a backup of your system, for use as a means of recovering from a “really bad” glitch.

Tip of the day: If you follow the steps I outline next, you will set up an initial system backup, and then, and this is the best part, Windows will each night make a backup of any changes and additions you’ve made during the day– automatically.

[note: One thing you should know before we begin is, it is pretty important that you store this back up copy some place other than your Windows drive (usually, your “c: drive”). This can be on another “partition” on your hard drive (not so good), or on a seperate hard drive — such as a “storage drive” attached to your machine with a USB cable, or a network drive (best). For this example, we will use an USB-attached drive identified by Windows as “e: drive”.

If you do not have another partition or attached storage available, you can use the first steps of this article to create a system backup, and then use a utility like WinZip or WinRAR to make CD (or, better, DVD)-sized subdivisions which you can burn to disc(s), after that, make a routine of monthly (or more often) backups of your My Documents folder to disk as well.]

Step#1: open the Windows Backup utility by clicking Start >Programs >Accessories >System tools >Backup. A window will open welcoming you to the Backup Wizard.
* Click “Next” and it asks if you want to make a backup (default) or restore from a back; we’re making a backup so click next.
* Now we’re asked what we want to back up, and here you want the bottom option, “Let me choose what to back up”. Click “Next” again.
* On the next screen, expand the My Computer on the left-hand panel, as shown below.
backup1.jpg

Look to the left-pane again and you will see that I have placed a check in the box next to Local Disk (C:) [my hard drive] and System State. That causes all the other checks to appear. That’s what we want, so now you do it — click on the plus sign next to My Computer, and then click inside the Local Disk and the System State boxes. Now click next.

* Now we’re asked which location you want to store the backup copy at. Click on the browse button and navigate to the (hypothetical) (E:) drive (your actual location will vary). The default file name is acceptable, so hit next.
* Follow the Wizard all the way through the next few “next” buttons until you get to Finish, and you’re done with Step 1.

You now have a copy of your whole computer that you can use to restore it to this moment in time, should disaster strike…or should you buy a larger hard drive as a replacement, load the new drive with your settings and data.
[note: It is a very good idea to also burn this to disc(s). Use a zip program, in conjuction with your burning software, to get the Backup.bkp onto your CD’s or DVD’s]

Step #2: Here’s where we use launch the Backup Wizard again and this time use the Advanced Mode to schedule an automatic daily “incremental” back up. An incremental backup will look at your files and folders and make a copy only of the new, or modified files you added since the last incremental backup. In this way, you’ll always have a complete copy of your present set up ready to come to your rescue should you ever need it.

To begin, once again open Windows Backup, Start >Programs >Accessories >System Tools >Backup, and this time click on the blue link that says “Advanced Mode” when the Welcome window appears.
* Then click Next, and then click on the top button of the new Backup Wizard Advanced Mode page, the one that says “Backup Wizard (Advanced)”. Then click Next.
* Now choose the middle radio button, on the What to back up page, that says, “back up selected files, drives, or network data” and click Next.
Here again you want to expand My Computer and check Local Disk and System State. Click Next, and again navigate to (hypothetical) drive “e:” and click next again.

Now you’re on the “Completing” page but do not click “Finished” just yet; instead click on the Advanced button. Now you’ll see the Type of backup (By default it will say “Normal”) page — use the drop-down arrow to set it to “Incremental” and hit next. Put a check in the checkbox marked “Verify data after back up” and hit Next. Leave the radio button on “Append this data to existing backups” and hit Next.

Now we set the schedule. Select the radio button labeled “Later” and the schedule windows will activate. Give the “job” a title, like ‘daily’, and click the Set a schedule button.

backup2.jpg

Set it to Daily, and set a time that won’t interfere with your using the computer…say during your lunch hour. Click on the OK button and a “run as” window will open. Make sure the user name is an account that runs as an Administrator, and give this job a password (and ‘confirm’). Hit next. Verify, and hit Finish.

Done!

I realize that this may seem like a daunting number of complicated steps, but really all you’re doing is following a wizard. Once you’ve done this process though, you can rest in the comfort of knowing that there is an up-to-date copy of all your important files and folders available to you in case of digital dire straights. If you’ve ever had to wipe a hard drive and reinstall Windows, you’d know just how valuable a backup like this can be!

Today’s free link: I have located a Startup Manager that passes muster, which I added as an update to my “answers” article, and will repeat here in case you missed it. Ashampoo StartUp Tuner 2

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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October 28, 2008 Posted by | advice, Backups, computers, file system, how to, PC, storage, tech, Vista, Windows, XP | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

You’ll Thank Me One Day*

Baby’s first steps. Graduations. Birthday parties. Wedding ceremonies. Today’s topic came from a recent 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, nor ‘share’ some of my favorite recollections. No, I won’t. 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 (Ahem), 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.. and not just from old age.) 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 hard-earned 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 advice for using it is here, https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2007/07/02/automate-your-backup-and-get-some-peace-of-mind/
Apple has a built-in Disk Imaging ability that is just great, but often overlooked: https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2008/04/03/how-to-use-apples-disk-imaging-tool/.

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, https://techpaul.wordpress.com/2008/04/26/online-storage-for-data-backup/

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(s): 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.”
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.

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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September 17, 2008 Posted by | advice, Apple, Backups, computers, file system, PC, software, tech, Windows | , , , , | 5 Comments

Extracting text from Web pages*

Today’s quick tip was inspired by a reader question. The gentleman used to use an old technique to “print” webpages to text files so that he could edit and incorporate the text into his documents, and he wanted to know if he could still do this, but in a more modern way.
I would like to take a moment here to remind my readers that I do answer questions sent to me; and also that if I believe the question-and-answer will benefit “everyone”, you could very well see it posted here.

Q: How do I copy the text on a webpage to my document?
A: There is actually a couple of different ways to do this, including the old “print-to-file” method that DOS users remember. The trick is to get just the text and information you want, and not all the advertising and hyperlinks and graphics/logos that most webpages incorporate.

1) If all you need is a small portion of text from a webpage, the easiest way to get it from your browser to your word processor is to ‘highlight’ the sentence (or paragraph) on the webpage, press Ctrl+C to Copy, click on the place in your document that you’d like to insert the text and hit Ctrl+V to Paste the selection into your document (you may have to change the font and text size to match the rest of your document’s format).
Sometimes, it can be a little tricky — working in the browser — getting your cursor to change from an arrow (navigation) to the vertical bar and selecting the page’s text. But rest assured that you can ‘select’ the text on a webpage. Usually you have to get the point of the arrow very close the edge of the first letter, and make small, gentle mouse movements until the cursor changes. You could also try clicking in an easier part of the text, and use your arrow keys to move the cursor to where you want it.
(As a writer, I simply must express my hope that you will pay some mind to the concept of Copyrights, and original work, and properly attribute your “borrowed” material.)

2) But if you want all the information on the webpage, and you want it to be available as a file you can reference at your leisure, the Copy>Paste method is not the best and another technique will serve you better.
Some people prefer to download the webpages in a method called “Offline webpages”, which is a whole ‘nother topic. Offline gives you the whole webpage — logos/graphics, links, ads — as if you were connected to the Internet, and this is more info than we need for today’s topic… we just want the text.

In Firefox and the older Internet Explorer 6 (Please, folks; IE 6 is quite probably the most hacked program ever written– update to IE7, or use an “alternative” browser), you can click on the “File” menu on your browser’s toolbar. IE7 users (who haven’t re-enabled the old Menu bar) should click on the “Page” button. Whichever manner you used, now click on “Save As”.
pgopts.jpg

Now the Save As window will open, and here is where we will make our important decisions.
sa.jpg

As usual, you will be presented with the ability to select the “where” the file will be Saved, and give it a name. But the primary thing is to select the “Save as type”, so that we will have a file we can use as we want to– in this case, a text file (.txt).
Once the webpage is Saved as a text file, you will be able to Open it with any word processor. And you will be able to edit it to your heart’s content.. and it will be available whenever you need it.

*If you decide to Save the webpage as one of the other options in the “file type” (or, made a mistake here) selection, and Save the page as an *.htm,*html file or even a “archive”, you will still be able to Open it with a word processor [by default, it will open with your browser] and edit it… it will just contain a whole bunch of junk-looking code, as well as the text you want.

Today’s free link: I am not a real big fan of free all-in-one “optimization” programs, but I do have one that I like and can recommend. Advanced WindowsCare Personal. From publisher: “is a comprehensive PC care utility that takes an one-click approach to help protect, repair and optimize your computer. It provides an all-in-one and super convenient solution for PC maintenance and protection.” (Vista compatible.)

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved.jaanix post to jaanix

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August 26, 2008 Posted by | advice, computers, how to, IE 7, Internet, software, tech | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments