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Backups; what are they
and why should I care?
Many people use antivirus software to protect their computers but
this simply is not enough protection. Personal computers are at
great risk, and people that do not backup their computers can lose
everything, all it takes is a simple virus attack that gets
through, a mechanical failure, a few mistaken key strokes, or theft,
and everything that you store on your computer can be gone.
Lost data can usually be recovered, even deleted and damaged files.
However this can get expensive, if the drive is mechanically damaged
“broken” rather than being infected with a virus or accidentally
deleted, then the repair will jump from hundreds of dollars to over
a thousand $$$.
deal with broken computers on a daily basis, and most of these
computers are not backed up. When I ask why, the client usually says
something like, “my computer
was working fine yesterday, so I thought it would fine today as well”.
Now all these people know that computers are completely
unreliable for long-term storage.
Simply put, a backup means 2. Sounds obvious but many people think
that burning pictures to a CD then clearing them off the computer is
considered a backup. Some people will also copy important files from
one folder to another folder in their computer and call that a
backup. Neither of these approaches are safe. In order to safeguard
your pictures and other files, they need to be duplicated
somewhere outside of the computer.
What to Backup
problem is that it's difficult to know what to backup. Unless
you’re very familiar with computers, and you have a lot of spare
time, you should always use an automated system that backs up
everything for you.
complete automatic backup will allow you to fairly quickly restore
everything when things go wrong.
Even the Windows operating
system can be backed up, but that’s another story (cloning), for
today we’re just talking about saving all your personal files. If
you manually copy folders and files to a CD or flash drive, I
can almost guarantee you that at least one file you wish you had
backed up will be missed and lost forever.
most important files to backup are your documents, pictures, music,
and other user files, but they are not the only files that you need
to backup. Let’s walk through some of them.
should backup your entire documents folder all the time. This should
be a no-brainer.
you’ve paid lots of money for MP3 downloads, you’ll probably be sad
to lose them. Make sure to include this folder. Note: if
you’re an iTunes user, you should make sure to backup your iTunes
folder, which is thankfully usually inside this directory.
Pictures & Videos: It’s
really sad when I get emails from people saying their hard drive
died and they lost all their pictures of their family. The photos
might not have actually cost you anything, but you’ll probably be
more sad about losing memories than paying for music downloads
Desktop Email: If
you’re using Outlook or Windows Live Mail, make absolutely certain
that you’ve backed up the files from these applications. Email is
usually stored in the AppData folder which is normally hidden
Application Settings: If
you look within the AppData folders, you’ll see directories for each
and every application you’re running. These settings can often be
restored from a backup so you don’t have to tweak everything again.
Just head into C:\Users\Username\AppData\ to see the Local, Roaming,
and LocalLow folders that contain many settings for your
browsers other than Internet Explorer actually make it difficult to
backup your bookmarks using Windows Backup, but the much better
option is to sync your bookmarks to the cloud. If you’d rather use
local backup, you can simply backup the application settings folder
and restore that—this works especially well for Firefox in our
There is an easier way!
Instead of trying to find all those locations, backup your entire
Users folder, which is at C:\Users\Username in Windows 7 or
Vista, and C:\Documents and Settings\Username for Windows XP.
Remember that these folders are normally hidden,
so you will
have to un-hide them first.
Files You Should Not
Bother Backing Up
There’s simply no reason to backup these directories:
almost never a reason to backup your Windows directory, as you’re
going to have to reinstall the whole thing anyway, so this backup
will likely do you no good.
Program Files: You’re
going to have to reinstall your applications if your computer dies
and you have to reinstall. Why bother backing up all these files?
It’s worth noting that if you create a system image backup
(cloning), you won’t have to reinstall all of your applications,
and backing up these folders would be pointless.
save several hours of reinstalling programs after a hard drive
Why Don't People
Regularly Back Up
There are many reasons why people do not regularly back up their
computers. One of the top reasons is the lack of a simple
easy to use solution that can be automatically set up without
needing any real computer technical knowledge, and one that
effortlessly backs up computers regularly. That is where
Backup comes in – there is no easier solution available anywhere in
the world for protecting the photos, music and data files saved on
can and should use flash drives (memory sticks) as well. These are
especially useful for smaller backups like documents and financial
files (QuickBooks, Simply Accounting). These little gadgets are
cheap and easy to use ($20 - $60), however they can’t take the place
of a complete automatic backup device (portable hard-drive).
Clickfree devices are
range in price according to their size and feature list ($80 -
There is now an added feature available to users of the
latest C6 Clickfree,
click here to read about automatic cloning of
Thanks for taking the time to read this article, please feel free to
contact me with any questions you may have and for current pricing
for the backup device plus setup and a simple demonstration of how
George Rettich, Owner of
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