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TECH TIP – A Backup Strategy.

 

Last week we talked about the likelihood that every computer will have a system failure that necessitates reinstalling your system software.  And sometimes malicious software which is installed without your knowledge over the internet requires a complete reformat and installation of all operating system software, applications, and documents.

 

Having your computer rebuilt by a computer technician is very costly and may run into the hundreds of dollars.  So here is a backup strategy that will save you a lot of anxiety and money.  I would warn that this may not be for everyone.  For one thing, there is some expense involved in purchasing the required software and hardware needed to make your backups.  And also, there is a bit of a learning curve to mastering this operation. 

 

Here’s how it works.  With a software program called Norton Ghost (the same company that makes Norton Antivirus), you can make an image – or record a backup of your entire computer hard drive.  In the event that your computer stops working or has malicious software on it that you cannot get rid of, you simply restore the image to your hard drive.  Your computer will be restored exactly as it was before you had the problems – or at least to the last time you made an image.  It’s a quick and painless way to get your computer running again.

 

So here is what you need to do this. 

 

Now that will cost you some money.  70 bucks for Norton Ghost.  75 bucks to 400 bucks for the external hard drive (depending on how many gigabytes it is).  and around 15 bucks for the appropriate cable (you actually might get one with the external hard drive).

 

This backup strategy will work with Windows 98 through Windows XP.  You do need to have a USB port (plug-in) on your computer and external hard drive – either 1.0 or 2.0 or, better yet, a firewire port.  You plug the external hard drive into your computer through either the USB ports or the Firewire ports.  A firewire connection runs much faster than a USB connection but it is not on many computers.

 

In my personal computer, I can make an image of my hard drive or restore an image to my hard drive in around 15 minutes using my firewire connection..  It would take 30 minutes to 1 hour with USB – depending on which version of USB you have.

 

I make an image of my hard drive once a month.  I have restored the image twice due to malicious software I have received.  I was hijacked once and I caught a virus once. 

 

In the Marshall ABE computer lab, I made an image of one of the computers and have used that image 3 times to restore computers in the lab that have had system crashes.  It takes around 30 minutes to restore an image on the lab computers.  It would have taken 3 to 4 hours to reformat and restore software on one computer.

 

Depending on what kind of computing you do and how much you rely on your computer, you may want to check out this option for backing up and restoring you computer to peak operating condition.  It may pay for itself and save you a lot of headaches.  Visit any computer store technician and they will advise what you need and how to get started.

 

Links: 

Norton Ghost:

http://www.symantec.com/sabu/ghost/ghost_personal/

External Hard Drives at PriceGrabber.com:

http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_gen.php/form_keyword=external%2520hard%2520drive/topcat_id=1

Firewire vs USB

http://www.chips.navy.mil/archives/01_winter/firewire.htm

 

Happy Crash Free Computing!

 

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