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Boulder Computer Maven Newsletter - May 2006

Dear Friends,

Thank you for letting me help you with your computer needs. This is my customer newsletter, containing tips that I hope you'll find interesting and helpful.

This month's topic is backing up your files to protect them from loss. Backup is especially important for irreplaceable files such as your family's digital pictures and financial data. If a file is lost or damaged, you can restore it from the backup location. I'll be happy to help you set up the best backup solution for your needs.

If you don't want to receive this newsletter, let me know, and I'll remove your name from my mailing list. Previous issues are available on the newsletters page of the Boulder Computer Maven web site. If you change your E-mail address, please send me your new one.

Please call me at 303-444-8247 with questions or to schedule an appointment. I want to help you get the most from your computer.

Best Wishes,
Steve Winograd

Helping People Use Computers in Boulder for Over 20 Years

Why You Need Backup

The hard disk inside your computer stores files that contain your personal data (documents, pictures, music, videos, E-mail messages, address books, favorite Internet sites, etc), the Windows operating system, and programs that you've installed. Like all electronic and mechanical devices, the hard disk can stop working, without warning, at any time, making your files inaccessible. Even if the disk is working properly, the files stored on it can become damaged or lost if:

How to Back Up Up Your Files

Here are some ways to back up your files:

Store a backup CD or DVD at a location outside your home, such as your office or safe deposit box, to protect your files in case of a disaster in your home.

Tools for Creating and Automating Backups

CD and DVD burners typically come with a backup program. File synchronization programs like Second Copy, GoodSync, and Karen's Replicator make it easy to automatically back up files on a schedule or whenever you connect a USB flash drive to your computer. For more complex backup needs, such as backing up your entire Windows installation, use a program like BootIt Next Generation, Acronis True Image, or Backup MyPC.

Backup Strategies

Here are some examples of backup strategies for common situations:

  • Copy the contents of your My Documents folder to another folder or to a USB flash drive.
  • Send your financial data to your web-based E-mail account.
  • Burn your digital pictures to a CD or DVD.
  • Copy your iTunes or other digital music collection to an external hard disk.
  • Back up your entire computer, including the Windows operating system, to a second internal hard disk.

More Information

See the backup web pages written by Malke Routh and Patty MacDuffie, my friends and fellow Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals. See the Microsoft web page on How to back up manually or by using Windows XP Backup utility.