Complete Backup Solution

Most of us don’t back up our files as often as we should. As a result, we either lose important or irreplaceable photos and data, or we spend huge amounts of money trying to get them back.

WHY BACKING UP IS IMPORTANT

Hundreds of thousands of hard drives crash or die each year leading to partial or total data loss. Natural disasters such as fires, floods,

pcoverhaul-hard-drive-inside-view
This is what the inside of a hard drive looks like. The round discs are the platters where your data is stored. These platters are very sensitive and any damage can mean a loss of important files.

Power surges or other storm related damage destroy thousands more.

Your computer can also be infected with various viruses that can damage your files or even lock them and hold them for ransom.

One laptop is stolen every 53 seconds.

70 Million smartphones are lost each year, and over 3 million are stolen. And smartphones can be hacked and infected as well.

Family photos and videos, important documents (work related and personal), large music collections, saved emails, and other files could be lost forever.

Data recovery may be possible in some cases, but depending on the problem the cost can run between $100 and $2000. And in some cases, there’s no way to recover your data.

THE BACKUP RULE OF THREE

Here’s the rule of three (or the Backup 3-2-1 rule).

A 1TB USB hard drive, Blu Ray discs, and a 128GB USB flash drive
A 1TB USB hard drive, Blu Ray discs, and a 128GB USB flash drive

♦ 3 different copies (or more) of your files.

♦ 2 different backup formats. External drive + Cloud Storage, or DVD + SD card, or USB Flash drive + email account.

♦ 1 Backup in a different location.

A COMPLETE BACKUP SOLUTION

For some people, setting up a complete backup seems confusing or too time consuming, which is where my complete backup solution comes in.

♦  A 1TB external USB hard drive is included for local backups.

♦ I will configure your computer(s) for daily backups of your important files. In the event that you don’t have the drive connected and you miss a backup (or several), it will “catch 2016-05-09_9-36-08up” whenever it is reconnected.

♦ I set up a free cloud backup solution for photos & videos. The 3 I use most often are Google Photos, Flickr, and Amazon Photos (Amazon Prime membership required).

♦ Your smartphone will also be set up for the photo and video cloud solution. This can be set up on additional smartphones and tablets as well.

♦ I will burn a  BLU-Ray of your files (50GB included) . This is your “master copy”. You can think of this as the equivalent of photo negatives back in the old days. Additional copies $10 each. These copies are good for storing offsite because they are small and light.

This leaves you with a local copy that you can access quickly, a master copy stored offsite, and a cloud solution for photos and videos that merges all the photos from any desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones into one online account for easy viewing and sharing. All the back ups will run automatically on a regular basis, so there’s nothing to worry about.

Package cost = $200

Broken down over a year, that’s 55 cents a day for a complete backup solution that will go on for years.

If you have any questions or want to schedule a time to get backed up, please contact me.

 

 

 

Back up your iPhone

pcoverhaul iphone 1Having a current backup of the files on your iPhone is always a good idea, in case it’s lost, stolen, or damaged. Most iPhone users don’t know how to run a local backup and end up relying on the iCloud for their backups. iCloud can be a great option for small numbers of files, but the free account is limited to 5GB of files.

Backing up your phone to your computer is a better option because your computer’s hard drive is huge, so you can keep multiple backups of your files.

You can back up your iPhone using iTunes. In my case, I have a PC, but it works the same way on a Mac. Apple creates and encoded copy of your files and settings and puts them into a temporary folder. If you need to restore from the backup later, iTunes can copy all your information back to your phone, or to a new phone if you are upgrading or lost or damaged your phone.

pcoverhaul-backupiphone

iTunes will back up all of your Camera Roll Photos, SMS messages (texts), settings, contacts, and your app data. It will not backup any synced music, videos, or podcasts.

iTunes performs this backup automatically anytime you sync your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with your computer, but it’s a good idea to do it once in a while for backup purposes.

If you need help backing up your iPhone, please contact me and I’ll be happy to help you out.

 

Facebook App Permissions

Over the years you may have unknowingly given Facebook apps access to your personal information and photos.

Every time you install an app on Facebook, you agree to give the app access to certain parts of your profile. It makes complete sense that Google maps needs to access your location, or Instagram would need to access your photos.

google-maps-location-pcoverhaul

What we tend to forget are all the other apps we’ve given various permissions to over the years. Every quiz you’ve ever taken, or that old favorite app, “See who looked at your profile”, may have had access to your profile for YEARS.

For example, I opened up my apps on the left and chose the “Cities I’ve Visited” app (which I only used once).  Let’s take a look at what this app has been able to see on my Facebook profile.

cities 01

cities 02

cities 03

cities 04

This app can see virtually everything on my profile, and it needs to be removed.  By clicking the privacy at the top right of my Facebook page, I can access the Privacy Checkup.

pcoverhaul-privacy-checkup-facebook

 

Hit “Next” to go to step 2 where you can review your approved apps.

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I’ve scrolled through to find the “Cities I’ve Visited” app. Click the X next to the app to remove it.

pcoverhaul-privacy-checkup-facebook-step3

You can repeat the process with as many apps as you’d like, and when you’re done, click next and then finish to exit the Privacy Checkup.

 

 

FastCustomer

Nobody likes to wait on hold for a long period of time, no matter how good the hold music is. This handy app will call you once a human being is on the phone, saving you all the wait time!

FastCustomer lets you reach a real person at the companies you call most, without waiting on hold.

Source: FastCustomer

 

How to prevent mobile malware in 3 easy steps | PCWorld

Mobile malware tends to loiter in a few “bad neighborhoods” online that you should stay out of anyway.

Source: How to prevent mobile malware in 3 easy steps | PCWorld

 

How to Backup Your Facebook Data

If you’d like to backup all the data on your Facebook account, this post is for you.

To see the full list of data you can download, check out the list here.  Photos are probably the main thing most people wan to backup, followed by private messages, and those are included in the download.

Click on the little down arrow at the top right of your Facebook page and go to settings.

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Directly underneath all your general account settings is an option to download a copy of your Facebook data.

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Click on the green Start my Archive button to get the process going.

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Depending on the size of your archive, it can take a long time to create the archive. Facebook will send an email to your registered Facebook email address when it’s ready.

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At the bottom of email is a link to the archive.

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Verify your password and the download should begin.

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Once you have downloaded and extracted the .zip file, you’ll see some folders with your archived files inside them.

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A look inside my html folder shows some of the many files you can back up. Obviously these will vary depending on how much you use your Facebook account and what you do with it.

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It’s amazing some of the information you can get from these archived files, like all the IP addresses you (or anyone else) have used to log into your account. The main thing lacking from this archive is the information for all your contacts. For some reason, Facebook doesn’t allow you to back these up. Still, if your goal is to back up your messages and photos, this will do the trick.

 

World Backup Day

Have you backed up your data recently? Every day people and businesses lose huge amounts of
valuable data because they fail to run a backup of their files. World Backup Day is set aside
as a reminder to back up those important files.


If you have files that are important to you and can’t be easily replaced or recreated, you should have some sort of regularly scheduled backup. Hard drives can crash. Computers can be infected with malware and viruses. And your smartphone can be damaged, lost or stolen. Losing irreplaceable and valuable documents or photos with no way to recover them is a nightmare scenario.

pcoverhaul-files

No matter how new or secure your smartphone or computer is, it’s important to back up your
files, because even new hardware can fail. Some polls have shown that almost 40% of people
don’t have any type of backup at all, and another 15% only backup 1-2 times a year.

Malware and viruses infect roughly 1/3 of the world’s computers. There’s a whole class of
viruses that will lock your files and hold them for ransom. In most cases, even paying the
ransom won’t get your files back. If you have a current backup, you can completely wipe your
computer’s hard drive to rid it of the virus and restore your files from your backup copy.

The hard drive on your computer can also fail or crash. In those cases you may be able to recover the files by sending them to a professional data recovery lab, but that type of service is expensive. Depending on the exact problem, the cost could be anywhere from $300- $2000 and you may not even get back 100% of the data.

This laptop was damaged beyond repair in a house fire, and all the data was lost.
This laptop was damaged beyond repair in a house fire, and all the data was lost.

Any natural disaster that strikes your home or business can damage or destroy your computer and with it, your files. Fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes can eradicate your data permanently with no chance of recovery.

Computers can be stolen, whether they are laptops, desktops, or even servers. Your data may or may not be valuable depending on who the thief is. In many cases, they wipe the hard drives to conceal who the original owner is before they sell the computer, so even if you can recover the system, your files may be gone.

More than 3 million smartphones were stolen last year- that’s more than 100 smartphones stolen every minute, each day. Another 1.4 million phones are lost every year and never recovered. Smartphones are prime targets for thieves because even more so than computers, smartphones hold loads of personal information like banking and credit card info, photos, emails, and even your whereabouts thanks to GPS location. The thief may be after your
identity or financial information and not your documents or photos, but you’re going to lose them regardless of the motive. Phones are also small and easy to conceal in a pocket or handbag, and they have a high resale value. And the first thing they will do is wipe it clean of all traces of your files.

There are dozens of other things that can happen to your files. A regularly scheduled backup
gives you peace of mind in those situations. There are several methods you can use to backup your files.

An external hard drive.
An external hard drive.

If you’re backing up a computer and have a relatively small amount of data, you can use a USB flash drive. If you have larger amounts of data you probably want to use an external hard drive. External drives are portable so they can be thrown in a laptop bag or backpack. They also allow quick access to all your files at once. There are downsides to external drives though. The drives are affected by all the same things computers are- they can be lost, stolen, damaged by natural disasters, get infected by malware and viruses and they can have mechanical failures. If your data is very valuable you should use more than one external hard drive.

Cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive/Google Photos are popular for both smartphone and computer backups. They give you a small amount of space for free, and can be
accessed from anywhere on any device (desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone, PC, MAC). The problem is, one glitch and your files are gone, because there’s only one copy of your files there. If you accidentally delete a file, that deletion gets synced up to the cloud and there’s no way to get it back.

If you have an iPhone, you can back it up right to your computer using iTunes. This is nice because you only get 5 GB of space in iCloud so all your files may not fit there. Your computer probably has a ton of free space, and an iTunes backup is a complete backup of all your photos, videos, music, documents, SMS messages, call logs, contacts and apps. If you ever lose your iPhone or upgrade, just plug the replacement into your computer, open iTunes and you can restore your entire configuration from your last backup.

A Cloud Backup Service is different because it offers the ability to keep multiple versions
of your files, so if Tuesday’s backup is corrupted or encrypted from a virus infection, or
deleted by mistake, you can get the files back from Monday’s backup. You do have to pay for a
backup service like that, but if the data is important or irreplaceable, it’s well worth the
cost. If you have a large number of files to back up, you’ll find cloud backups are slower than backing up to an external hard drive. And if you ever need to retrieve a large number of files it may take hours or even days to pull them down from the cloud.

A sound backup solution would combine all these methods.

The accepted rule for backup best practices is the three-two-one rule. It can be summarized as: if you’re backing something up, you should have:

  • At least three copies,
  • In two different formats,
  • with one of those copies off-site.

    pcoverhaul-google+photos
    I use Google Photos to automatically back up photos from both my smartphone and my wife’s phone whenever we are in WiFi range.

I have multiple external hard drives for my most important files, which happen to be photos. These are backed up daily. Everything is also backed up to the cloud via Google+ Photos and Amazon’s Prime storage service. I also burn Blu-Ray discs so I always have a “negative” that can’t be deleted, and store a copy of these with a relative. Both my smartphone and my wife’s smartphone are set to automatically backup to Google and Amazon whenever we have WiFi access.

Whatever method you choose, please be sure you backup your files. If you’re overwhelmed and you don’t know where to start, I’ll be happy to help you out.

 

 

US considering using Internet, smartphones for 2020 census

Newsobserver.com is reporting the US Census may use smartphones and the internet in 2020

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— The days of the census taker with clipboard in hand may be numbered. The Census Bureau plans to test digital tools in preparation for the 2020 census, a change that could save millions of dollars.

People may be asked to fill out their census forms on the Internet instead of sending them through the mail. Census takers may use smartphones instead of paper to complete their counts.

You can read the rest of the article here.
 

How to Back Up Your iPhone

Having a current backup of the files on your iPhone is always a good idea, in case it’;s lost, stolen, or damaged. Most iPhone users don’t know how to run a local backup and end up relying on the iCloud for their backups.  iCloud can be a great option for small numbers of files, but the free account is limited to 5GB of files.

Backing up your phone to your computer is a better option because your computer’s hard drive is huge, so you can keep multiple backups of your files.

You can back up your iPhone using iTunes. In my case, I have a PC, but it works the same way on a Mac. Apple creates and encoded copy of your files and settings and puts them into a temporary folder. If you need to restore from the backup later, iTunes can copy all your information back to your phone, or to a new phone if you are upgrading or lost or damaged your phone.

 

pcoverhaul-backupiphone

iTunes will back up  all of your Camera Roll Photos, SMS messages (texts), settings, contacts, and your app data. It will not backup any synced music, videos, or podcasts.

iTunes performs this backup automatically anytime you sync your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with your computer, but it’s a good idea to do it once in a while for backup purposes.

If for some reason iTunes won’t cooperate, or you prefer an interface where you can choose which files are backed up, I suggest taking a look at Appandora.