Tips, Tricks and Handy Information from
Coastal Computer Care
Dana Point, CA 92629
Issue 45 March 2009
In this issue: Without the applications, you won’t including everything you want, then
Backups explained be able to open your data files on a contact your PC support tech for help.
Do you want a netbook? new or repaired computer, unless you
obtain new copies of the apps, either Where do you store your backups?
by buying or downloading, and often
BACKUPS EXPLAINED having to pay for them again. The most common way is on an
external hard drive, or sometimes on a
To paraphrase Highlander’s “There Don’t bother to backup applications, flash drive if you’re only interested in
can be only one!” there is only one unless you use imaging software such specific data such as QuickBooks
important part of your computer – as Ghost or Acronis. files. The problem is that most people
the data on it! No matter what leave the external hard drive
breaks, if you have the data backed up, Data files are what you want to back connected to their computer. If there
it can always be put back on to a new up. Where are these data files? Most is a fire or theft, then the backup is
or repaired computer, provided that newer apps now store their data files gone and useless. Keep your
you also have the software needed to in the My Documents folder in XP (or backups offsite!
open the data file(s). the Documents in Vista). But when
you set up your backups, don’t forget Another way to backup is using Mozy
First of all, there are 2 types of files on your email, internet favorites, and data (www.mozy.com) or SOSOnline
a computer: data and applications files on your desktop. (www.sosonlinebackup.com). These
(previously referred to as “programs”). are painless and store your data in
I tend to use the terms “program” and For your email: encrypted files on their servers.
“application” interchangeably. Unfortunately, uploading (sending)
Outlook Express stored email files in files over the internet is slow – assume
Applications are tools, and are files various locations. The best way to around an hour per GB, so your first
or sets of files that do things on a find out where these files are, is to backup will take a long time if you
computer. Firefox, Photoshop, Word, click on START > SEARCH and then back up everything, so only use online
and so forth are all programs. Think do a search for a file named backups for files that are important
of them as tools. inbox.dbx. Be sure to adjust your and changing, such as Quicken,
search to include hidden files. QuickBooks, Outlook .pst files, etc.
Data files contain information and
are created by applications. Your Outlook usually stores data in a file Here’s my personal method:
Word documents, .PDF files, photos, named Outlook.pst, and archived data
and so forth are all data files. in Archive.pst, although not always. 1. Every week or two, I do an image
Again, the easiest way to find out of my office hard drive to an
Before Windows, when DOS reigned where the .pst files are is to do a external hard drive.
supreme, you could (usually) just copy search for .pst files.
applications from one computer to 2. I periodically backup my data files
another. With Windows, this is rarely Other email clients such as Eudora to DVDs and store the set in a bank
possible, as almost all programs must and Thunderbird have their own deposit box.
be installed on Windows. For that locations – look them up by searching
reason, you should keep copies of all the internet (google, yahoo, etc) for 3. I use Mozy to automatically
applications in a place where they can Eudora backup, Thunderbird backup, backup selected data files
be retrieved. etc. (Outlook, Quickbooks, etc) to an
online server every night.
If you have only one computer, put all If you’re using only webmail, which
application CDs into a single box, means you always look for your email External hard drives often come with
along with the CDs that came with the on a web page such as hotmail, gmail, “lite” versions of backup software, but
computer. If you have 2 or more AOL (arrgggghhhh!), then you don’t be sure to read the box before
computers, put CDs with applications need to back up your email because purchasing an external hard drive,
into a separate box (or baggie) for it’s not stored on your computer. because not all packages include
each computer, unless the application software. The "lite" version works
is installed on more than one As for your other files, they can be OK but is limited in your choices.
computer. Then use a third box for anywhere. Use backup software to The nice thing is that such software
applications on multiple computers. make the task easier. If you think that usually backs up by category such as
your backup software still isn’t photos, documents, email, and so
forth. However, being a “lite” and any files that are either missing on
version, you sometimes can’t specify one, or where duplicate files (same The processor is a 633MHz Celeron.
other locations. name AND location) exist the dates That’s right – only 633MHz. That’s
are different, the newer files are because this slow processor doesn’t
Backup software means that all files copied to the other drive. A one-way use much electricity and runs cool, so
on the source are copied to the synchronization is the same, but in it doesn’t need a larger power supply,
destination. One problem is the only one direction - typically the heatsink, and fans. For internet use,
accumulation of data that you have source overwrites only the destination. however, it’s quite sufficient.
deleted, since most backup software This is similar to a backup but not
won't delete anything from the quite the same if you give it some It has 512MB of memory, which
destination drive. However, you can thought. A good example of again, is sufficient for many purposes,
write whatever you want from the synchronization is when you sync data unless you have Windows Vista as the
destination drive to a CD or DVD and on a PDA (Palm, etc) with on a operating system. Here we come to
then delete it, and since it's not on the computer.” the good part (my opinion!), which is
source drive, it won't be put back onto that it comes with a Linux operating
the destination drive. I could write many more pages system that closely resembles
detailing backups, but I think this is a Windows XP, so it doesn’t take much
Better backup software will do full, good place to stop. Call or email me getting used to.
differential, or incremental backups. if you have any questions about
backups. Because it’s a Linux OS, you won’t be
A full backup is just that - able to install your usual Windows
everything is copied to the applications on it, such as MS Office,
destination. Whenever a file is WHAT IS A NETBOOK? etc. However, there are thousands of
backed up the "archive bit" on the file comparable applications designed for
is set to on, so that software knows it In response to the One Laptop per Linux, including the OpenOffice.org
has been backed. Whenever you Child project, some very basic and alternative to MS Office, Adobe
change a file or create a new one, the inexpensive notebook computers Reader and other PDF file readers,
archive bit is set to OFF so that emerged. Then it became a Firefox, etc. Don’t be intimidated by
backup software knows it should be movement. For you trivia buffs, the this – the versions of Linux used on
backed up. This is important only for Palm Folio, released in 2007, was netbooks are probably more like
supplemental backups, which are probably the first netbook, but it didn’t Windows XP than is Vista, so it’s an
differential an incremental backups. survive long. Then, about a year ago, easy change.
other manufacturers starting coming
Differential Backups backup only out with netbooks, and since then they They are small, which means that the
new or changed files (with the have taken off so much so that keyboard is cramped and takes some
archive bit off). This is good for (depending upon your source of getting used to, but certainly much
archiving, although since it doesn't information) around half of all new better than trying to access the internet
reset the archive bit, differential notebook computers are netbooks. on a smartphone such as the Samsung
backups get larger and larger as time So…just what is a netbook? Omnia, Blackberry Storm, or iPhone.
goes by. Typically you would do a
full backup on a week-end and A netbook is an inexpensive, small, Is a netbook for you? Only you can
differential backups on every other lightweight, and slightly slow determine that. But if you’re
day of the week. notebook computer. The term interested in a small, inexpensive,
netbook is probably because this notebook computer that you can easily
Incremental Backups are like computer is really designed mostly for take with you, then take a look at
differential backups and are used internet use – checking your email, some netbooks.
the same way, except that the browsing, etc – and only secondarily
archive bit is changed, so that only for normal PC chores.
files that are new since the last full This newsletter is a service to clients of Coastal
or incremental backup are copied. Computer Care. Please remember us when you
And I do mean inexpensive. Most need professional computer support or tutoring.
This is more efficient than a netbooks are selling for between If you are not currently a client but wish to
differential backup, although it does $350 and $450. receive this free newsletter, send me a request
make retrieval of data from any given via email and I’ll be happy add you to the
day more cumbersome. However, distribution list
The ASUS Eee PC and MSI Wind
backup applications usually make this are getting the best reviews, with the Disclaimer: Coastal Computer Care presents
type of a restore easier. ASUS Eee PC usually coming out on information in this newsletter as a courtesy.
top. Since most netbooks are very The recommendations are made in good faith
Synchronization differs from and are believed to be reliable and safe. CCC
similar, let’s look at an Eee PC. cannot, however, foresee every possibility and
backup is that it looks at the dates assumes no responsibility for any problems that
on files. With a 2-way The 80GB, hard drive should be may be encountered as a consequence of the
synchronization, all files on both the plenty of space for most people, while recommendations. Always backup your
source and destination are compared computer and make sure that System Restore is
traveling. set to On.