Is 123456 A Good Password? — and MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF (#2016-04)

Is 123456 A Good Password? – Apparently many people think that it is. The password “123456” once again reigns as the most commonly used password, as it has since SplashData’s first list in 2011, demonstrating how people’s choices for passwords remain consistently risky. The second most risky password used is; you got it, is the word “password”. To see a listing of the worst passwords for 2015 — CLICK HERE… The whole purpose of this annual publishing of bad passwords is to encourage “we the people” to use stronger passwords in an effort to protect our personal data and to improve internet security.

Worst Passwords

One of the options that I use to protect myself, due to the numerous passwords that I use, is to use a password manager. The password manager that I use and strongly endorse is the S10 Password Vault which is available as a Windows install, portable app (on USB Drive), iPhone app, iPad app, and Android app. Many folks have a tendency to use one of the cloud-based password managers; however, I personally just do not feel comfortable with piping the passwords to my personal accounts into the cloud and not knowing (for absolutely sure) that it will always remain protected. With S10 Password Vault, I at least feel I have some level of control.

MORE GREAT GEEK SQUEAK STUFF

How To Create A Bookmark For The Download List In Google Chrome – Open chrome://downloads in your browser. Click the star next to the link and then save it on your bookmarks bar. You can adjust the name of the shortcut to whatever you desire..

Google Chrome

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If You Have Windows 10 And Love Jigsaw Puzzles – Check out Magic Jigsaw Puzzles, a Windows app, that has some FREEBIE options built into it, as well as paid options. Featuring: Lot’s of  beautiful, high-definition puzzles; Downloadable content (including FREE puzzles); Constantly updated pictures gallery; 4 levels of difficulty (up to 280 pieces); Move pieces in groups; Rotation mode for a greater challenge; Create your own puzzles from your pictures; New special picture every day; Work on more than one puzzle at a time and see your progress; Easy-to-operate control and Easy preview. After installing and trying it out, I found there were some ads and a few freebie puzzles. There was an option to buy into a package for $9.99 that makes the ads go away and opens up many options. Nice jigsaw puzzle software (even for $10)…

Magic Jigsaw Puzzles

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Synchronize Your Folders and Drives In A Quick and Easy Way – I have been testing various FREE backup and synchronization software. One that is currently on my computer now that is leading the pack is Synchredible. The standard version is free for private purposes. What I really like about Synchredible is that it has a built in wizard that will walk you through configuring your sync jobs. Once these jobs are setup, performing synchronized backups is as easy as clicking a button.

Synchredible

Synchredible

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A “News Spread” Like No OtherCLICK HERE to see Newsola… I have featured Newsola on here before and decided to throw it out there at you again. Really neat way that the news is presented. You can set Newsola up so that it will auto refresh on a regular basis. Nice cloud based app that you can keep up on the screen when your computer is idle that will keep you up to date on the latest news.

Newsola 

Newsola

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Need A Router? Check This One Out – The TP-LINK TL-WR841N Wireless N300 Home Router is one of those routers I am seeing on Amazon that is inexpensive, but has a great number of customer reviews. At the time of this posting, this router was at the $20 mark.

TP-LINK TL-WR841N Wireless N300 Home Router

TP-Link Router

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Geek Squeaks (#2015-42) FEATURING — An Easy To Use Backup Program — and MORE GREAT STUFF

An Easy To Use Backup Program – Nearly every home based computer user that I have encountered do not backup their personal files. Most of what files people have stored on their computers they feel are files that are unimportant; until the moment comes that they lose those files. An example being, many people store family pictures on their computers. At the moment they may seem unimportant; however, when the computer fails (and it will), all of the sudden you realize that you lost precious memories. If you fall into this category, which most likely you do, please take the time to purchase an external hard drive (click here) and establish a backup plan. Finding an external hard drive and connecting it is the easy part. Finding a software solution is another matter. To help you along, a software solution that I use is called

To help you along, a software solution that I use is called Bvckup 2. If you visit the site you will see that it is software that you have to buy; however, to get around that option, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page where the download button is located, you will see “Looking for the last beta?”.  If you click on that link you can download the last beta version of Bvckup, which is FREE. By trying out the beta, you may be encouraged to purchase the software; however, I have found the beta’s of BVCkup 2 to work perfectly fine for our purposes. Bvckup 2 is easy to use (and learn) and it does not compress, encrypt or FTP files. It’s not a two-way sync nor is it a full system backup software. It simply makes a copy of your personal files from your computer to a designated location on the external hard drive; AND, the best part (by default), Bvckup will automatically perform these backups for you in real-time.

Bvckup 2

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Turn Your Android Smartphone Into A Digital Bubble Level – Our smartphones have many other purposes other than making calls and texting. For example, did you know you can turn your smartphone into a bubble level that comes in handy when you need to make sure a picture is hung straight on the wall, or a length of lumber is level, etc… If you search the Google Play store you will many bubble level apps available. The one that I settled for is an app developed by a company who actually makes levels, called Rigid. The app that they have developed is called Rigid Digital Bubble Level. This app features a calibration mode that will allow you to use this app in three views: Bubble View (the standard bubble level you’re used to); Horizon View (a horizon line that twists as you rotate. Enable the camera feature in this view to level things from afar.); and, Flat View (placing the phone on a surface activates this view where an optional beep can indicate how level the surface is without needing to look at the screen.)…

Rigid Digital Bubble Level

Cover art

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A Gizmodo Field Guide To 9 Google Now Voice Commands to Take Control of Your Smartphone – I am sure, if you own a Google based Android phone, you have used the “ok Google” feature where you speak to your phone by saying “ok google” and then tell (speak to) the Google Now Assistant to perform searches, etc… I am still trying to get used to this, but when I do use it I am really amazed of the accuracy and the results. Along with performing searches there are other commands you can give. Gizmodo has put together a nice field guide to “9 Google Now Voice Commands To Take Control Of Your Smartphone” that you need to learn. Commands such as turning your wi-fi on/off; the flashlight on/off; read text messages; etc…

9 Google Now Voice Commands
To Take Control Of Your Smartphone

9 Google Now Voice Commands to Take Control of Your Smartphone

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verykool Sleek, Contemporary Unlocked GSM Phones – I was focused on smartphones when I visited Amazon and what I came across is a smartphone brand that I have never heard of (called verykool). What caught my eye and made me look more than twice was the unbelievable super low pricing. Based on the low number of customer reviews (which, by the way are high ratings), verykool must be a newcomer at Amazon. I will definitely be keeping an eye on this smartphone brand that just may change the whole landscape of things when it comes to smartphones.

 verykool

verykool

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GEEK SQUEAKS – Featuring A Windows 8.1 Update Install Marathon On A HP Computer (following a hard drive failure).

[FEATURED GEEK SQUEAK] A Windows 8.1 Update Install Marathon On An HP Computer (following a hard drive failure) – This squeak is from a personal experience that I will keep short; therefore, a chopped up description.

Windows 8.1 Update

Have you ever ran a marathon and you thought there was no end? To me the experience below was unbelievable and was like running a marathon.

My Father’s All-In-One HP computer, running Windows 8.1, still under warranty, had a hard drive failure. Called HP, patched to India, on the phone for an over an hour to run the diagnostics and listen to them trying to scare me into buying the extended warranty. Hard drive failure confirmed, patched to another person in India who kept telling me how wonderful I was. Hard drive shipped (within 3 days), and installed (in less than 15 minutes); then, the real fun began.

The drive shipped with HP’s Windows 8 recovery software.  My objective was to get the machine up and running, then upgrade to Windows 8.1…

Long story short, started at 6 pm and finished after 1 am.  Over 7 hours to run the recovery, download all of the Windows updates, and download/install Windows 8.1.  The time involved did not include the other tweaking required to get my Father’s PC back to the point he originally was at (i.e. printer install, third party software installs, cosmetic changes, etc…).

I am definitely, at my next visit, going to image the disk…  Has anyone else experienced this?

 [ COMMENTS ARE WELCOME – CLICK HERE ]


MORE GEEK SQUEAKS

[MICROSOFT OFFICE] Microsoft Launches Cheaper Office 365 Personal – First unveiled last month, Office 365 Personal lets you run Microsoft’s cloud-based document creation and editing suite on one PC or Mac and one tablet for $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year. Office 365 Personal is available online, at Microsoft stores, and through online and retail partners… @PCMag

[REMOTE PC ANDROID APP] Chrome Remote Desktop – Securely access your computers from your Android device. On each of your computers, set up remote access using the Chrome Remote Desktop app from Chrome Web Store. On your Android device, open the app and tap on any of your online computers to connect… @Google Play

[COMPUTER ACCESSORIES] Vantec CB-ISATAU2 SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter Supports 2.5-Inch, 3.5-Inch, 5.25-Inch Hard Disk Drives – The SATA/IDE-USB Adapter gives you the flexibility of connecting almost any type of drive to your computer via USB.  SATA, 3.5-inch IDE, 5.25-inch IDE, and 2.5-inch IDE drives are all supported and can be easily hot-swapped to your system.

[ CLICK HERE ] 

Vantec CB-ISATAU2 SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter

The included external power adapter will allow you to power your drives outside your system giving you the ability to quickly add or swap between drives without opening your case.  The SATA/IDE-USB adapter incorporates 3 interfaces to one USB adapters… @Amazon

[COMPUTER BACKUP SOFTWARE] FREE Backup Software Protects System & Data of Your PC – Back up your most important files and folders on a regular basis. Create a system image to keep Windows and applications safe. Back up entire hard disk or specified partitions, or just cloning them. Save time and effort with automatic, incremental, and differential backups… @AOMEI

[WEB APP] Zenpen – A minimalist writing zone by Tim Holman, to get you into that zone, where you can focus on the writing – with none of the distractions… @ZenPen

[HOW TO] Windows 8.1 Update tip: Clean up that disk space nowNow that you’ve had about a week to play around with the update—which brings the taskbar to the modern UI, among other welcome additions—the next few days present a good time to clear up extra space on your hard drive by getting rid of some Windows Update files.How much space you’ll recover depends on whether you’ve ever run the Disk Clean-up utility, and the number of different Windows versions you’ve ever run on your PC… @PCWorld


Learn a byte at a time with Geek Squeaks’ — featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it… I just plain love tech!

Be Sure To Visit Bookmarks4Techs.com

Bookmarks4Techs.com

GEEK SQUEAKS – Set, Forget, Simple and Fast Backup Software

I actually forgot about this software being on my PC. It is called Bvckup; and, it is designed to make maintenance free backup copies of files and directories.

Bvckup

Once you perform the initial setup (which is very easy to do), Bvckup will do the rest of the work for you. For example, I have four main (root) folders on my PC that contains the bulk of my personal files. After performing the initial setup, Bvckup will automatically perform backups of these files and folders in real time (anytime a file or folder changes). The program will also alert you to any errors it may encounter. I discovered, as a result of running, Bvckup that I had some directories (or folders) where there was some file corruption going on.

Bvckup is currently FREE and is in the Beta stages of development.

[ COMMENTS ARE WELCOME – CLICK HERE ]


MORE GEEK SQUEAKS
FROM AROUND THE NET

[NEWS] The Windows XP Death Threat Notice is 2934207 – Many of you already know that Microsoft is releasing a pop-up alert as part of March’s Patch Tuesday. The pop-up produces a recurring (every 8th of the month unless disabled) notification for Windows XP users that states the OS’s expiration date (April 8, 2014) and provides a link for those who just didn’t know to read more. The link sends clickers to a page that explains the end of support and offers Windows 8.1 as a migration choice (despite Windows XP not being upgradeable directly to Windows 8.1)… @WindowsITPro

[GIVEAWAY] Win a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 OC 2GB GDDR5 Video Card – DomsTechBlog.com, in partnership with Elite Gaming Computers is giving away a Gigabyte GeForce GTX 660 OC 2GB GDDR5 PCI-Express 3.0 DVI-I/DVI-D/HDMI/Displayport SLI Ready Graphics Card. This is an awesome card that boasts a 4.7/5 star rating on Amazon… @Dom’s Computer & Tech Blog

[BROWSER EXTENSION] Streamus turns YouTube into the music player – It’s a Google Chrome extension that makes streaming YouTube refreshingly easy… @Streamus

[HOW TO] How to zip and compress files on Android with ES File Explorer – If you’re storing files locally on your Androiddevice, compressing them can save you precious storage space. If you need to send files over a mobile connection, compressing them beforehand may also keep your data usage down. One of the easiest ways to compress files on your Android device is using the app ES File Explorer@c|net

[WALLPAPER] Sailing Ship Against The Moon… @Wallbase

Sailing Ship Against The Moon…

[VIDEO] Jimmy Fallon, Idina Menzel & The Roots Sing “Let It Go”


Learn a byte at a time with Geek Squeaks’ — featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it… I just plain love tech!

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Today’s Geek Squeaks – September 7, 2013

A summary of Today’s Geek Squeaks:

Squeak #1: I cannot stress the importance of backing up your personal files and having a backup strategy in place. There are numerous (FREE) backup programs out there, but the one I rely on is FreeFileSync (which is available as a full install or as a portable app);

Squeak #2: If you are A T-Mobile customer and are currently subscribed in one of their legacy value plans (under the 2 year contract agreement), you may want to look into migrating to their Simple Choice plan which starts with unlimited talk, text, and web (including up to 500 MB of high-speed data) on their advanced nationwide network. The reason I bring this up is that I took advantage of the migration, gained web access on my wife’s phone (my phone already had it), at the same cost I was paying for the value plan. When my contract expires I will simply remain in the Simple Choice plan and not be tied to any contract (see below);

Squeak #3: We all agree that the clarity of HDTV (high definition) is awesome and that nothing can beat it, right?  Wrong! Going to teach you something here. The next buzzword out there is 4K TV… It is HDTV on steroids (see below); AND,

Squeak #4: A 3 TB external, portable hard drive, that boasts military-grade protection against water, pressure, vibration, and dust. The price will surprise you (see below)…

[ CLICK HERE TO LEAVE A COMMENT ]

Plan on seeing  a lot more of Geek Squeaks’, featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it;  from my favorite tech web sites… I just plain love tech!

See An Endless Stream Of Geek Squeaks’ [ HERE ]


FREE Open Source Software That Helps You Synchronize Files And Folders

FreeFileSync

image

It is designed to optimize user productivity and runtime performance to help get your files in sync quickly and reliably. FreeFileSync aims to provide high-quality software with a strict zero open bugs policy. This is achieved by quick turnaround times and free 24/7 support for everyone… GET IT HERE


TMobile – Value Plan Customers Can Migrate To the Simple Choice Plan

image

Can an existing Value plan customer migrate to the Simple Choice plan without a migration fee?

Yes. Existing Value plan customers can migrate to the new rate plans without a migration fee. However, you’ll keep your current annual service contract commitment end date… READ MORE


You’ll Never Want to Stop Watching 4K TV

@ Mashable

image

A 4K Ultra HD display (like a television set) has twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of a typical 1080p HDTV. That means it has four times as many pixels and has a resolution of 3840 pixels x 2160 lines. This means that you can get the clarity you get on your smartphone or tablet — but on the big screen… READ MORE


The Price Is Right On This
Military Grade Portable External Hard Drive

image

  • USB 3.0 Super Speed (High transferring rate up to 5 Gbps/sec)
  • Standard Compliance: USB 3.0 / 2.0
  • Anti-pressure and anti-dust function
  • In compliance with US military grade MIL-STD-810F 516.5 procedures IV (Transit drop test) and IEC529 IPX7 water resistant test
  • LED indicates power on and data access
  • Delicate cable storage design
  • SP Widget free download software features seven main functions to maximize your SP Portable Hard Drive
  • Supported operating systems: Windows 7, Windows Vista, WinXP, Win2000, Mac 10.3.X above, Linux 2.6.X above

CHECK IT OUT HERE


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[SUPER BLOGROLL][GE GEEK][DOWNLOADS][TECH NEWS]

Today’s Geek Squeaks – August 10, 2013

A summary of Today’s Geek Squeaks:

  • I am always on the hunt for a method to secure the files and folders on my flash drive; and, today I may have found the solution with Wise Folder Hider;
  • Removing viruses and malware from a computer can be a daunting task. Something that you may want to keep available in your tech toolbox is the AVG Rescue CD (which is totally FREE);
  • You need to learn how to back up your computer or at least your personal files and folders. Check out the article below, from AllThatsNEW, that will lead you in the right direction of choosing a backup software option; AND,
  • If you are a Nexus 7 user, then check out the numerous accessories that are available.

[ CLICK HERE TO LEAVE A COMMENT ]

Plan on seeing  a lot more of Geek Squeaks’, featuring a round-up of tech products, news, software, apps, wallpapers, articles, you name it;  from my favorite tech web sites… I just plain love tech!


Hide Files and Folders On Your Flash Drive

Wise Folder Hider

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Wise Folder Hider enables you to easily hide any folders, file or removable drive. The hidden files and folders will be invisible and inaccessible, even if the drive is accessed from a different operating system. The only way to unhide the items is by running Folder Hider and entering the correct password… GET IT HERE


AVG Rescue CD (USB Flash Drive Edition)

@ Download Crew

image

The AVG Rescue CD is a portable environment that comes with a range of tools to help you clean up a virus-infected PC, fix hard drive problems, and get an unbootable system working again… GET IT HERE


8 Things to Look for in Backup Software

@ AllsThatsNew

image

Choosing the right backup software requires striking a delicate balance between what your company needs now –  and what it will need in the future. In order to do this, you’ll need to find a solution that offers customizable management and reporting features… READ MORE


Accessorize Your Nexus 7

image

If you are looking for Nexus 7 accessories, then this may be up your alley… SEE MORE


Be Sure To Visit Bookmarks4Techs.com

Bookmarks4Techs.com

Discover Breaking News As Soon As It Breaks

Another sad day in the United States. Two bombs exploded in the crowded streets near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three people and injuring more than 130 in a bloody scene of shattered glass and severed limbs that raised alarms that terrorists might have struck again in the U.S. – Source (AP)

I started thinking is there a service out there that can provide us with breaking news as it happens and push it out there to our computers, smartphones and tablets? Sadly, in today’s world, getting the news as fast as you can is important toward maintaining one’s safety.

The service I came across that pushes the biggest breaking stories as they happen, 24 hours a day, is called just that, Breaking News.

Breaking News App

Breaking News is part of the of the NBC News Digital Network; however, the service is a fully independent, agnostic news organization that brings you the biggest stories as they happen, 24 hours a day, from more than a 160 news and eyewitness sources across the globe. Breaking News also is available as an app that will work off of the Android, Kindle Fire, iPad, iPhone, Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Samsung Smart TV platforms.

Going back to this tragic event, my heart goes out to anyone that was a victim of this senseless act and I pray that the people of this country, who feel there is division, show the world that we are truly one nation under God that can come together in time of need.

GEEK BONUS AREA

Visit Bookmarks4Techs.com

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Windows 8 vs. Windows 7 – Performance Shootout

Google allows you to file a digital will
for your accounts

8 Things to Look for in Backup Software

Top Rated Android Apps

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A FREE Utility to Backup Your Gmail

Personally, I am a major player when it comes to using Gmail. I use Gmail as my primary email client (or service provider) instead of using a locally installed client such as Outlook, Windows Live Mail, or Thunderbird.  The only problem with my strategy is that all of my email transactions are stored in the cloud (on the internet) and not on my local computer.

To ultimately resolve this problem and to make my strategy whole, I found a FREE backup utility that is specifically engineered to backup my Gmail, called Gmail Backup.

Gmail Backup

Gmail Backup is very easy to use. Simply enter your full Gmail login address, your Gmail Password, select a Backup Folder, select a date range (or only the Newest emails) and click on Backup.

This program is aimed to backup and restore of your GMail mailbox.You will need to activate the IMAP access to your mailbox, to do so, please open your GMail settings and under POP/IMAP tab activate this option.

Keep in mind that the first backup you make, may be time consuming, due to the amount of emails (and attachments) it may have to download (or backup). Following that first backup, you can do incremental backups.

Downloading all emails from your Gmail Account every time you want to backup your emails would be a nightmare. In this case it comes in hand the incremental downloading feature of email.

Gmail Backup checks all emails in the Gmail Account whether their are already downloaded. If so than it skips them. It only download emails which are not presented in your local copy. However, the checking emails takes time too.

As result, we recommend to specify the date since you want to download emails.

The backup emails that are downloaded will be in the standard .eml file format which can be read by just about any email client. In my case I use PopPeeper for this purpose. Also, you can restore emails to your Gmail account, as well, with Gmail Backup.

This is another app that will only get better and is worth its’ weight in gold.

NOTE: Also check out A Backup Strategy for Your Gmail [ HERE ]

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My Technology Guide: Chance to Win Handy Backup Professional

When you have a chance to grab good commercial grade software for FREE, I say go for it… A blogging partner, My Technology Guide, currently is offering a chance to win 2 free licenses of Handy Backup Professional absolutely FREE. Usually the license costs $99 but you have a chance to get it FREE!

Handy Backup Pro

To enter this contest:


1. Subscribe to My Technology Guide Newsletter
which is FREE. You can subscribe to it using the Subscribe form given in the sidebar or using following direct link:

Subscribe to My Technology Guide Newsletter

P.S. Don’t forget to confirm your subscription by clicking on the verification email sent from Feedburner when you subscribe. If your subscription is incomplete and not confirmed you will not be eligible for the giveaway.

2. Leave a comment… While leaving your comment, make sure to use the same email address which you registered for My Technology Guide email newsletter, otherwise you won’t be eligible for the giveaway.

The winner will be randomly picked and announced onJune 25th, 2010.

Handy Backup™ Professional is a powerful backup solution for advanced PC users and small businesses with Microsoft Windows®-based IT-infrastructures. It provides a range of security and business-critical features. You can read more about Handy Backup Professional [HERE] .

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FREE Disk Imaging, Backup and Recovery Software

Paragon, a software development leader for over 15 years has available for non-commercial use (at home) a powerful disk imaging (backup) and recovery package (for FREE) called Paragon Backup and Recovery.

“Smart people backup; Backup & Recovery is smart backup.”

With Paragon Backup and Recovery you can create a backup image of an entire hard disk (including GPT-discs!) or system partitions to guarantee the operating system’s working capability.

[ SCREENSHOT ]

The “cool factor” with this application is the ability to perform a differential backup that will only archive changes since the last full sector-based image, thus saving backup storage space. In other words once you have made a complete backup image of your PC (preferably to an external drive), you can perform (select) subsequent differential backups that will only backup the changes from the initial full backup; thus saving time and drive storage space.

As with most disk imaging applications, make sure you create a recovery disk that can be used to boot up your system in the event your computer is no longer booting into Windows. With Paragon Backup and Recovery, you will have the option to create a bootable  USB Flash drive, CD or DVD to recover your PC on demand.

As you continue to read, you will notice that Paragon Backup and Recovery is loaded with numerous features that you typically do not see in other FREE comparable disk imaging applications. If you currently do not have a backup or disaster recovery plan in place, Paragon Backup and Recovery is a great option. If you want to learn more, I encourage you to take a look at the User’s Manual [ HERE ] that provides indepth and detailed instructions on “how to” use this software.  These instructions are also a great starting to place to learn about disk imaging software.

  • New Cyclic Backup – complete infrastructure for establishing a self-acting data protection system, fully compliant with the set-and-forget backup policy
  • NewSupport for the latest hardware as well as hard disk partitioning schemes.
  • NewSupport of all present day techniques to store backup images
  • Disk backup to save not only all on-disk information but also the system service structures. It is ideal for making a backup image of an entire hard disk (including GPT-discs!) or system partitions to guarantee the operating system’s working capability
  • Differential backup  to a sector image to only archive changes since the last full sector-based image, thus considerably saving the backup storage space. To restore this kind of backup you will require a full image and one of its differentials
  • Restore an entire disk, separate partitions image
  • Restore with Shrink to restore a backup amount of actual data of the image
  • Create bootable USB Flash drive, CD or DVD to recover your PC on demand
  • Differential Partition Backup (Create a differential image of a partition)
  • Recovery Media Builder: builds a new “recovery media” to boot from in case of an unbootable system
  • Check Recovery Discs: checks the recovery media for integrity and boot ability
  • Graphical representation of the data to gain a better understanding
  • Comprehensive wizards to simplify even the most complex operations
  • A context sensitive hint system for all functions of the program
  • Previewing the resulting layout of hard disks before actually executing operations (so-called virtual operations)
  • Create Partition
  • Format Partition
  • Delete Partition
  • Assign/Remove Drive Letter
  • Hide/Unhide Partition
  • Mark Partition as Active/Inactive
  • Modify: change volume label,Test Surface
  • Check File System Integrity
  • Add an archive to the database
  • Delete the archive from the database
  • Restore from the selected archive
  • Restore File From Archive
  • Differential backup
  • Check Archive Integrity
  • Mount/Unmount the archive
  • Backup Features

    Restore Facilities

    Advanced Backup Tasks

    Supplementary Tools

    User Friendly Fault Minimizing Interface

    Partitioning tools

    Operations with Archives

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Make An Exact Copy of Your Hard Drive

One of the most frustrating moments for any computer user is when your computer has crashed, all else has failed to work, and you forgot to make the restoration CDs (or DVDs) that came with your PC. The restoration CD (or DVD) option is your last ditch solution to fixing your PC when all else has failed. The restoration CDs (or DVDs) typically restore your system back to the day that you purchased it. Some manufacturers’ PCs provide an option to perform (initiate) the restoration process by hitting a key during the computer’s startup that will initiate the restore process by using files stored in a hidden partition on the computer’s hard drive. The restoration process varies from PC manufacturer to manufacturer and if you have a home brewed system, the restoration is typically a reinstall of the operating system using the operating system discs that you purchased. The whole point to this is just that you make sure you have a plan in the event disaster strikes… AND, BELIEVE ME IT WILL !

The problem with the restoration processes provided is that you are in for some work. I’m talking about reinstalling your software, performing your Windows updates, virus/malware software updates, personal customization, bookmarks, emails, etc… Most of the time when you have resorted to a complete restoration or reinstall of the operating system you will lose your valuable data that you may have saved over the months and even years.

One option to avoid all of this, and reduce the workload, is to use disk imaging software and a good external hard drive. Disk Imaging Software is software that you install on your PC and use when your computer is in a healthy state. The disk imaging software is engineered to make a backup (disk image) of an exact representation of your hard drive (or partitions) at the time you perform the imaging process. Don’t be fooled into thinking that your everyday backup software can make an exact copy of your hard drive and partitions. It can’t… The Windows operating system is like a living organism that is constantly evolving and changing when you start it up. Your typical backup software apps are unable to capture those changes. As a matter of fact Windows will not allow you to make a copy of certain critical system files without special software. Your typical backup software is great for backing up your personal files (such as pictures, documents, etc.) and should be used on a daily basis in addition to the imaging software that can be used on a less frequent basis.

As you well know, the What’s On My PC blog specializes in locating FREE software options.  In this case of disk imaging software, the FREE app that I use and recommend is the FREE Edition of Macrium Reflect

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Using Macrium Reflect™ Free Edition you can create an exact image of partitions on your hard disk for easy hard disk upgrade or complete/partial system recovery

Key factors to using imaging software, such as Macrium Reflect, is that when you perform the backup of your system it is critical that your system is in a healthy state and that you have an external source (with sufficient space) to store the image file.  Even though Macrium Reflect offers other backup media options to CD or DVD media, I suggest you use an external drive. Besides, the external drive will serve you in performing your normal daily backups.

Another important factor to using Macrium Reflect is that the first thing you should do is create a Rescue CD. This option is available in the Macrium Reflect software under the “Other Options” menu selection. The rescue CD is used to boot your computer and restore your computer from the image file when disaster occurs.

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For FREE imaging software, Macrium Reflect is a great option for home-based users and is comparable in performance and appearance with that of its’ commercial counterparts. Macrium Reflect is also regularly updated to meet the needs of the ever changing Windows operating system.

Features of the FREE Edition of Macrium Reflect:

Absolutely free! No strings! The only free XP, Vista and Windows 7 compatible disk imaging software with BartPEand Linux based recovery options.

  • Create a disk image whilst running Windows using Microsoft Volume Shadow copy Service (VSS).
  • Image to Network, USB, FireWire drives and DVD.
  • Built in scheduler.
  • 32 bit and native 64 bit versions.
  • Industry leading compression levels and speed.
  • Linux based Rescue CD with Network access and full GUI. Only 6.5MB in size!
  • Built in CD/DVD packet writing engine. Supports packet writing to DVD DL media with Windows Vista.
  • HTML log files.

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Another FREE Online Storage Solution

I am pretty picky when it comes to FREE online file storage.  Currently I am using LiveMesh (5 GB), SkyDrive (25 GB); and, my Gmail account (7GB) with a software client called Backup To Email, to meet my online storage needs. Today I just added another option, called CloudDrive, which is client software for the Adobe Acrobat Online Storage Service (5 GB). With this new addition, I now have a total of 42 GB’s of FREE online space, from well known sources, to play around with.  Not too shabby for FREE.

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To use CloudDrive, the first thing you need to do is subscribe to an account at the Adobe Acrobat Online Storage Service. After you have your account setup, download and install CloudDrive. Once CloudDrive is installed, the following will occur:

When you start up CloudDrive, it will ask you to input your registered email and password on Adobe Acrobat Free Online Storage Service to login.

After that, your mailbox will receive an email from acrobat. You MUST confirm your email by clicking the link in the email.

Now input your registered email and password in the login form and start to experience CloudDrive!

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When the first time you logged in, probably there are already several files in CloudDrive window; All of them are Acrobat’s ads, you can delete them all.

CloudDrive has an easy to use interface that gives you the ability to upload/download multiple files. You can either drag and drop the files or use the upload/download buttons that are build into CloudDrive.  Of any of the FREE online services I use, the CloudDrive client (with the Adobe Acrobat Online Storage Services) appears to be the fastest (in terms of upload/download speed); however, it did seem a little buggy at times.

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In the end, CloudDrive is a welcome addition to meeting my online file storage needs and is a keeper. This is another app that I see as serving a good purpose and will improve in time.

In closing, one point I would like to make about online storage. Any files that I store online, I encrypt the file(s) before I upload them. This provides an added level of protection  An easy to use application to accomplish that task, on-the-fly, is Axcrypt. Use Axcrypt to encrypt the file as an .exe file, before you upload it. This option gives you the ability to download, open and decrypt the file from any location (without the Axcrypt software).

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A FREE and PORTABLE File Synchronization Tool

If you have been hedging on backing up your personal files because you do not understand the in’s and out’s of backup software, then take a look at FreeFileSync.

FreeFileSync is an open source application, that is FREE, that is available as a portable app, looks good, is fast, and just plain gets the job done.  This application is a good starting point for those who want to backup their computer files (such as documents, pictures, music, movies, etc…) without the heavy learning curve.  I currently use this software at my part-time job (with the IT Manager’s blessing) to backup the office data files (to a portable drive for off site storage) and also use it at home to backup my personal files to external drives.  The only way to learn how backup software works is to jump right in and play around with it.

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Key Features of FreeFileSync are:

  1. Compare files (bytewise or by date) and synchronize them.
  2. No limitations: An arbitrary number of files can be synchronized.
  3. Unicode support.
  4. Network support.
  5. Built-in support for very long filenames (more than MAX_PATH = 260 characters)
  6. Synchronization database for propagation of deleted files and conflict detection
  7. Support for multiple folder pairs with distinct configuration
  8. Full support for Windows/Linux Symbolic Links and Windows Junction Points.
  9. Lean & easily accessible UI: Highly optimized for speed and huge sets of data.
  10. Algorithms coded in C++ completely.
  11. All progress indicators optimized for maximum performance!
  12. Create Batch Jobs for automated synchronization with or without GUI.
  13. Focus on usability:
    1. Only necessary functionality on UI: no overloaded menus or icon jungle.
    2. Select all folders via drag & drop.
    3. Last used configuration and screen settings are saved automatically.
    4. Maintain and load different configurations by drag & drop, load-button or commandline.
    5. Double-click to start external application (e.g. show file in Windows Explorer)
    6. Copy & paste all grid data as text
    7. Delete superfluous/temporary files directly on main grid.
    8. Right-click context menu.
    9. Status information and error reporting
    10. Sort file-lists by name, size or date.
  1. Support for filesizes larger than 4 GB.
  2. Option to move files to Recycle Bin instead of deleting/overwriting them.
  3. Ignore directories “\RECYCLER” and “\System Volume Information” with default filter. (Windows only)
  4. Localized versions are available for many languages.
  5. Delete before copy: Avoid disc space shortages for large sync-jobs.
  6. Filter functionality to include/exclude files from synchronization (without requiring a re-compare!).
  7. Include/exclude specific files from synchronization temporarily.
  8. Create sync jobs via GUI to synchronize automatically (can be scheduled or executed via double-click).
  9. Handle daylight saving time changes on FAT/FAT32 volumes correctly.
  10. Portable version (.zip) available.
  11. Native 64-Bit version.
  12. Check for updates from within FreeFileSync automatically.
  13. Copy locked files using Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service. (Windows only)
  14. Create regular backups with macros %time%, %date% within directory names
  15. Copy file and folder create/access/modification times when synchronizing

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#38)

Another great roundup of articles from the What’s On My PC blogroll community.  If you are a person that is looking to get an edge on the latest in information technology and computers, I highly recommend that you visit these sites on a daily basis.

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Tech-for Everyone
Media Center Recordings Filled Disk

Scoroncocolo Tech Pages
How to Use Google Wave

Snakebytez
FreeCommander : An Advanced File Manager

Carputers News and Computer Tips
Internet Explorer 8 and Compatibility View

TTC Shelbyville
How To: Setting Up Active Directory Group Policies –
Network Computing

The Abbey Rose
Universe Firefox

I Love Free Software
Eraser: Permanently Delete Files from Hard Disk

Technize
Download Yahoo Messenger 10 Final

Worthy Tips
Handy Backup –
A Cost Effective Life Insurance For Your System

Mrintech
Best Collection of Aero Wallpapers for your Desktop!

Freeware Elite
Check whether a blog is down with “IS MY BLOG WORKING?”

Free PC Security
Malicious Sites November 24

AskBillFirst
Online Holiday Shopping Tips

Rarst.net
Run web app in dedicated window of Firefox or Chrome

Lifehacker
Hands-On Look at What’s New in Office 2010 [Screenshot Tour]

Crazy World of G
Gov K. Says No LNG Investigation

Computer Too Slow
How to control a desktop remotely

thePC Security
12 Tips to Avoid Phising –
Protection From Phishing Emails and Sites

AKS-Feel The Change
Resize Images Automatically with Dropresize

Carol’s Vault
Online storage services still around

411-Spyware.com
How to Remove Enterprise Suite

Plato On-Line
Fake Facebook Uncovered

Evilfantasy’s Blog
GoogleGoogleGoogleGoolge

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
5 Free Microsoft Programs – Really!

Technogran’s Tittle Tattle
Live Photo Gallery v Google Picasa.round 4.

Canadian Tech News Blog
CNET: Top 5 Tech Turkeys

TuneUp Blog
PDC09 – L.A. Day 1 Coverage

Freeware Pharmacy
Essential Apps For…

What’s On My PC…
Microsoft Office Templates

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The Way a Backup Program Should Work

Backing up personal files (pictures, music, documents, videos, etc…) on our computers is probably the one maintenance function we neglect the most. To prove the reality of it all; I have assisted numerous individuals with their computers and I can not think of one person that was actually performing routine backups of their personal files. As a matter of fact, I have witnessed the look of despair on people’s faces when they are told their data is lost.

I truly believe the reasoning behind this is that the majority of home based computer users’ do not know the “how to’s” when it comes to setting up backup software; using an external drive, etc…  To all the Tech’s out there that assist people, we need to change that. We assist and fix; but, fail to recommend prevention measures such as performing backups and actually showing how it is done.  Let’s face it, backup software is very intimidating and foreign to most computer users.

What software do I use for backup software? Here of late I have been experimenting with and testing several different backup software product options and finally settled with Yadis! Backup.

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Yadis! Backup, in my opinion, is the way a backup program should work.  You install it, select the folder (s) you desire to backup, point it to your external drive and it does the rest.  Yadis! Backup will backup your personal files in “real time” and does not rely on a schedule.  Once it is setup, Yadis! Backup will copy all of your files to the backup destination; after that, you do absolutely nothing. As a matter of fact, you will not even know it is there.  If you add or change a file, Yadis! Backup knows to back it up. If for some reason the destination source or drive is not available, Yadis! Backup knows to hold the backup until the destination drive becomes available again.

What I really like about this application is that it is easy to setup and is a good option for the everyday home user’; plus, it is just downright smart.

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A File Backup Program Inspired by Star Trek

One of the fictional Star Trek innovations, back in the ‘60’s, was a machine called a Replicator that was capable of creating (and replicating) objects. In 2002, approximately 36 years after the show debuted, Karen Kenworthy developed Karen’s Replicator, that was inspired by the original Replicator that was featured on Star Trek.

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Who is Karen Kenworthy and what is Karen’s Replicator?

Karen was the writer of a newsletter (called Karen’s Power Tools) that was featured in a national tech magazine called Windows Magazine (Winmag.com). Windows Magazine, one of my favorites, went belly up when it was sold to a larger publishing firm (which was a shame). Karen was also the developer of the Power Tools software (utility software) that was featured in Windows Magazine. Today, Karen continues to promote the newsletter and the Power Tools software on her very own web site called Karenware.com .

Back in 2002 when I was managing my Star Trek fleet of PC’s I needed a file backup program that I could setup and the user could launch a batch backup job by simply clicking an icon on their desktop (or run it at a scheduled time). This is where Karen’s Replicator came to the rescue.

Karen’s Replicator is a FREE file backup program that can be configured to automatically backup files, folders, even entire drives! Karen’s Replicator cannot duplicate objects (like in Star Trek), but it can duplicate files AND it does it very well. The files you backup will maintain the same file attributes and dates. After you setup and run that first backup, subsequent backup times are fast with minimal impact to your computer’s resources.

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Today, in 2009, Karen continues to develop and improve Karen’s Replicator. It is not the prettiest backup program out there, but is an excellent example of a good software product that focuses, not on vanity, but on getting the job done. Today, seven years later after Karen’s Replicator came to my rescue, I continue to use it as a  backup option on my PC. It has never let me down… As a matter of fact, this article is my way of simply saying, “Thank You” to Karen Kenworthy. I encourage you to visit Karenware.com to explore all of Karen’s Power Tools.

Karen’s Description of Karen’s Replicator:

Automatically backup files, directories, even entire drives! Karen’s Replicator copies selected files from one drive/folder to another. Source and Destination folders can reside anywhere on your network.

Options include repeated copies at intervals as short as a few minutes, or as long as several months, copy only files that have changed, and the replication of folder and file deletions.

New features allow you to specify which files should not be copied, and also which days a file should be skipped!

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Backing up the files you personally value…

A pointed question to my readers:

“Do you backup the files on your computer?”.

I find that the common answer is “NO”. Many will say that the files they created or saved (e.g. documents, photos, videos) are not that important anyway. What I have found is that when users create or save files, whether it be their internet favorites, email, a document, photo, video, etc; the human element of ownership and personal value enters the picture, whether they know it or not. I know that to be the case; especially when their computer crashes and that look of despair and helplessness appears. I find that most people do not know how to backup their PC; let alone files they have saved. I am a major advocate of backing up files and have already posted one article “Backup or Cry…” , which provides a software option. If you have anything on your PC that you hold close to you, I suggest you explore the many backup options that are available.

Usually my blog is focused on software options that are free, but due to the importance of this topic I started exploring other options for users that are looking for that “easy button”. Well, I found just that… The solution is a device called “Clickfree Transformer”… This solution is not designed to backup the entire computer (such as system files); but is designed to backup the files that you have created or saved; the files you value the most (i.e. photos, documents, videos, etc…).

Clickfree Transformer

You will need an external hard drive to make this work or you can purchase one of the combo packages from Clickfree that includes the drive. Cost may be a hindrance, but the thought of knowing that your personal files are backed up will outweigh the cost. Just remember, when backing up your personal data files to an external hard drive, it is a good idea to purchase a drive that is at least twice the size of your internal hard drive. In this case where you are backing up personal data files you should be able to get by with less; however, this is something that you should analyze and/or consult with an IT person. There is no software to install or setup with the Clickfree Transormer. You plug the Clickfree Transformer into an USB port on your computer, then plug any external USB drive into the other end of the Clickfree Transformer. The Clickfree Transformer will automatically locate your data files and back them up to the drive. You can even do multiple computers with one Clickfree Transformer.  There is an automated software option included with the Clickfree Transformer that will allow you to modify the automated backup strategy.  I also found numerous news reviews, from credible sources, supporting Clickfree [ click here ]

Clickfree Automated Backup

This backup strategy may not be the “textbook” strategy that is supported by professional IT managers; but, it is better than nothing at all and is a great concept for home based users. You can learn more about this product by clicking on any of the “Clickfree Transformer” links in this article.

Addendum (March 11,2009) – As an enhancement to this article and to further emphasize the importance of performing routine backups of your files; I encourage you to read this “Computer Tip of the Day”  by  [ Tech for-Everyone].  TechPaul, author of the “Computer Tip of the Day” enumerates backup options that are freely available to the end user.

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