Category Archives: Computer advice

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How Much Are All Your Pictures Worth?

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Rackspace.com cloud computing

Backing up your computer is one of the most important things you should do in today’s digital age.  Most people keep all their photos, videos, and music on their computers. One important thing that must be remembered is that computers do crash, and when they do everything on the hard drive stands to be destroyed and gone forever. Imagine losing all your photos in one second and there is nothing you can do.

Most importantly is how to backup.

  • External Hard Drive Backup – Using this method a person buys an external USB Harddrive and plugs it into his computer. Then you can use software tools to sync or backup your data to that drive at a daily interval. A good free software program to use to sync the files from your hard drive to the external is Toy Sync. This is a free project created by Microsoft. External Hard Drive Backup is a great place to start to backup your data. If your computer fails you have all your important files on your external drive. Make sure you keep your files in both places though, your internal and external drive. This way if one of the drives fail you have the others. The downfall to this backup method is that it does not help you in the case of burglary or fire, when a thief breaks into your home and steals your computer and the external drive connected to it.
  • Local Network Storage Devices – This method is pretty much like the External Hard Drive Method except that the hard drive is connected to your network and not directly to the PC. If you are going to deploy this method a good tip is to keep this device in a different area than your computer, this will help with the theft issue. A good backup software or sync software can also be used with this method.
  • Online Data Backup Service (My Preferred Method) – In this case you sign up for an account with one of the Online Backup Sites that backs up your data on their servers off-site. I use Mozy for my service, but Rackspace.com cloud computing and Carbonite are also leaders in off-site backup.  Once you are a member, a software service is put on your computer that monitors the folders that you want to back up. Every night the software pulls new files off you computer, encrypts them, and stores them on a remote server. If your system fails or is stolen, you can go online and download your archived files back on to your new computer. The big downfall to this method is the time it takes to upload your files to the remote server the first time. This process can take weeks initially, but after that your are good to go every night. It is nice to not have to worry if those pictures will be there after your computer crashes. (This Method Requires High Speed Internet)

The method I use, is to backup to an external drive for fast access to my files, and a nightly upload to Mozy for all my files. The one thing I don’t really worry about anymore is my computer crashing or getting stolen. I always have access to my important files.

Microsoft Free Anti-Virus

microsoft So I decided to go with a more main stream virus protection software aside from my ThreatFire Freeware. To my surprise I noticed that Microsoft has a free anti-virus package called Microsoft Security Essentials. This suite is free and is appearing to do the job. I have not witnessed any adverse effects to the install nor computer slowdowns. Maybe, just maybe, Microsoft has put out a solid anti-virus product that does what it is suppose to, keep my computer safe without bugging me about it. If anyone has any comments about this software, please comment below.

Remote Easy with Team Viewer Free

en_startscreen Do you ever get a call from a friend, relative, or co-worker that need help with their computer. Any time that I help a person with their computer I set up a great free piece of software on their computer called Team Viewer. Team Viewer is a free remote desktop type program that allows you to control a persons computer while they can still see it. It is similar to PC Anywhere, but it is free and very easy to use. With features in the latest version you can also keep track of all the codes you have installed on their computers. This gives easy access to help your friends out in a bind. Setting up is easy and takes no networking experience, Team Viewer is also very good at getting through firewalls and proxy servers to give access. I use it frequently to help members of my family with computer issues. This program also allows them to see what I am doing to help them out in the future. Make note that Windows 7 Home does not have remote desktop capability, this gives you access into those machines, a feature I use frequently on my laptop at home.

Beyond helping a friend, this program also has a quite robust advanced feature package. One feature that I really like is the offline local IP setting. This can be used to connect to computers from with a local network with no outside internet connection via the local IP address.

There are different levels of login access you can set within this program. The software can be installed as a service, in which the login credentials are static allowing the remote user to login upon boot up or any time there after. Or, a user can initiate a session from their desktop and a unique password is generated each time. In this example the user opens the software and gives the unique login information to their remote user over the phone. The pass code will expire as soon as that session has been completed.

The benefit of this free product is in it’s simplicity. Team Viewer Website Link