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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Copy A Hard Disk Drive (HDD) To A Solid State Drive (SSD) With AOMEI Backupper Standard (FREE)

Recently I purchased and installed the Transcend Information 256 GB SATA III 6 Gb/s 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive in a Windows 7 based Toshiba notebook computer that was approximately 5 years old. The difference this upgrade made was very noticeable. Part of the upgrade process involved cloning the existing hard disk drive (HDD) to the new solid state drive (SSD). I had the option of using the Transcend cloning software; however, I opted for AOMEI Backupper Standard (which is FREE reputable backup software) that is renown for it’s disk cloning features.

AOMEI Backupper Standard allows for resizing of partitions during the cloning process and supports the copying of hard disk drives (HDD) to solid state drives (SSD). This program can make an exact and complete copy of a disk or partition directly from one disk to another.

AOMEI Backupper Standard

In the event (as I experienced), if you want to adjust the partitions size or location on the destination disk, there is an option that will allow you to select editing of the partitions on the destination disk.

Options available are:

  • Copy without resizing partitions: Do not do any changes.
  • Fit partition to entire disk: The destination disk partitions will be automatically resized to the entire disk, appropriate for the disk size.
  • Edit partitions on this disk: Manually adjust the partition size and location by dragging a slider bar.

In the end, I had a good result with using AOMEI Backupper Standard in the cloning process.

If you are looking for excellence in backup software, AOMEI Backupper Standard can do it all, such as:

  • Creating a system image to keep Windows and applications safe.
  • Backing up entire hard disk or specified partitions, or just cloning them.
  • Backing up or syncing your most important files and folders on a regular basis.
  • Saving time and effort with automatic, incremental, and differential backups.

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Make MailStore Home Part Of Your Email Backup Strategy

Most of us never think of backing up our email and really do not have a clue to go about it. This is especially true with online email accounts where there is a false sense of security that your email will always be there, when in fact, online accounts are compromised on a daily basis.

To make backing up our email an easy task, a company called MailStore has developed a FREE Windows based software application called MailStore Home that makes backing up (and archiving) your email an easy (on-going) task with the ability to perform lightning fast searches of the archive. Another option (that I really like) is that during the install process you can select to make MailStore Home a portable app, which I personally have included in my tech toolbox (as an option to assist others with downloading and archiving their email AND as a forensic tool).

MailStore Home

In my particular case, as an example, I use the portable version of MailStore Home to backup and archive my Gmail account. The cool thing about Gmail is that I use my Gmail account to pull my email from my other online accounts such as Yahoo and Hotmail. As a result, when I perform the MailStore backup of my Gmail account I am able to capture all my email accounts in one archive session. One thing to note is that on the first go round of using MailStore, the backup (archiving) process will take some time depending on the size and number’s of email you have in your account. Typically, I start of MailStore Home, start the archiving process and then let it run while I perform other tasks on my computer.

MailStore Home Supports:

  • Internet mailboxes such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail
  • Any POP3 and IMAP mailboxes
  • Microsoft Outlook XP, 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013
  • Microsoft Outlook ExpA Central Archive for All Emailsress and Windows Mail
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013 mailboxes
  • Microsoft Office 365 (Exchange Online)
  • Mozilla Thunderbird and SeaMonkey
  • .EML and other email file formats

For home users, emails are also a valuable source of information. A large amount of data and important files is saved in the form of emails. With MailStore Home you can backup all emails in a central archive, even if they are distributed across different computers, programs or mailboxes. You can do this either on your PC or on a USB drive as a “portable” option.

This way, you will never lose emails again and can search all of your emails extremely fast. You can still reply to or forward archived emails by opening them with a single mouse click in your standard email program.

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A FREE Backup Software Solution For Computers At Home

What I have found (over the years) is that most folks, who own computers at home, do not back up their files. The reason, in most instances, is that folks feel it is beyond their level of comprehension and is a difficult task.

Today, I want to share with you a FREE backup software solution that may be helpful, called Allway Snyc that is easy to learn, yet is powerful in what it can be configured to perform. I especially like that there is not only a Windows install version; but, also a portable app version (called Allway Sync ‘n’ Go). As a matter of fact, the portable version is what I use to backup my personal files to an external drive. Simply put, you enter the source path, determine what direction to perform the sync, and then enter the destination path. There are numerous configuration options (such as real-time automatic backups or syncs when file changes occur) to customize each backup job. The FREE version of Allway Sync should be enough to serve the moderate use of the typical home based user in the backing up of personal files. If not, definitely consider buying the Pro version.

Allway Sync

In a nutshell, this is what Allway Sync is about:

Allway Sync uses innovative synchronization algorithms to synchronize your data between desktop PCs, laptops, USB drives, remote FTP/SFTP servers, different online data storages, and more. Encrypted archives are supported. Allway Sync combines bulletproof reliability with extremely easy-to-use interface. Also Allway Sync can process Apple MAC data via Sync Gateway OS X software.

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DSynchronize – A Stand-Alone Utility That Lets You Periodically Synchronize Two Or More Folders On Your Hard Disk

With DSynchronize you should never again have an excuse for not backing up your files. This small utility rocks and is what I use to backup my main folders (such as Documents, Pictures, Videos, etc…) to my external drives. There is no installation.  Download, unzip and run. Simply select your source (the files/folders you want to back up) and select the destination (where you want to back the source files/folders to).

The only negative I see with DSynchronize, is that there is no help file; however, if you go with the “checked” settings (that I use), under General Options and Deleted Files, in the graphic below, you will be good to go. Once you have everything setup, click on “Synchronize”.

ALSO, to further help you, if you watch the YouTube video below, you will get a really good understanding on how DSynchronize works. This is really good software, is FREE, easy to understand and it just plain works. You can even set up DSynchronize to perform a realtime sync. Great job to the developer on this.

NOTE:  To download DSynchronize, visit [HERE], and scroll down the page and you will see it.

 

Dsynchronize

 

LIMITED TIME ONLY – Rack Up Free Gigabytes Of Online Storage Space

There are numerous online file storage options out there and the competition is fierce. I recently came across another NEW player in the field (called COPY), that offers (for FREE) an enticing 15 GB (or more) of online storage space to new accounts.

It doesn’t stop there… To celebrate the launch of COPY, they are offering 5 GB of additional space for every person that is referred to their service. The person who takes advantage of the referral also gets a 5 GB bonus on top of the 15 GB (for a total of 20 GB). From what I am reading, there is no limit to the number of referrals and you must install one of their apps (desktop or mobile) to take advantage of this opportunity in order to be credited for the 5 GB bonus.

To help me test this out; and, to help me add to my 15 GB amount, please click the link below to sign-up for your own 15 GB COPY account and install one of their apps (desktop or mobile). You should also receive the additional 5 GB bonus for signing up through this link. I have no idea how long this offer will last…

[ CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR YOUR FREE ACCOUNT TODAY ]

ADDENDUM TO THIS POST (1/17/2014) – As of date of this addendum, I was up to 60 Gb of space in my COPY Account (from the original FREE 15 GB); so, we can confirm the referrals are working.  Thank you very much!  Keep ’em coming…  Rick

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COPY is the product of network security and backup giant Barracuda, your files are stored on servers we control and manage, not with a 3rd party like most cloud storage services.

COPY - Online Storage

For increased security, your data is protected by multiple layers of encryption, including top-secret grade AES 256, both during transfer and while at rest on Barracuda’s enterprise-class cloud storage.

And with advanced features like secure sharing, source validation, and identity verification, you can breathe easy knowing your content can only be seen by the people you want.

FREE 15 GB or more

  • Windows, Mac, and Linux friendly
  • iOS, Android and Windows mobile apps
  • Share files with others
  • Electronically sign 5 documents per month

[ COMMENTS ARE WELCOME – CLICK HERE ]

Today’s Geek Squeaks – October 4, 2013

A summary of Today’s Geek Squeaks:

Squeak #1 – (AOMEI Backupper – “No brainer” Disk Backup and Imaging Software) – You may well know that in the coming upgrade release of Windows 8.1 you will have to really dig deep to get to the disk imaging component that was in Window 7. To remedy this issue, I went on the hunt and found a disk backup and imaging program that I can attest to being very good, easy to understand and serves as a good backup strategy; especially for home-based users (SEE BELOW);

Squeak #2 – (Remember 1995 – The Windows 95 Game Called Hover?)–  You can go back in time in your web browser and play the same game and even play against 8 others (SEE BELOW);

Squeak #3 – (Desktop Client For Your 50GB MEGA Account): The September 28th Geek Squeak roundup, I featured a bit about MEGA and their 50GB online file storage offering. Today at Addictive Tips I learned that MEGA has BETA released a desktop client where you can sync folders on your computer with your MEGA account (SEE BELOW); and,

Squeak #4 – (Online Streaming of Movies and TV Shows ): I am a big fan of Amazon and I am really liking the idea of their Prime Membership that gives you access to their movie collection, TV Shows, Kindle books and more (SEE BELOW)

[ CLICK HERE TO LEAVE A COMMENT ]

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 ]


Protect System & Data in Windows PC and Server with FREE Backup Software

AOMEI Backupper

image

To prevent system failure or data loss, backup is important and necessary. AOMEI free backup software provides basic and advanced features to ensure the safety of your system and data.

  • One-click backup your system drive to ensure system security
  • Backup disk & partition, create disk images and clone hard drive
  • Support Windows 8/7/Vista/XP and Server 2003/2008/2012 (32/64-bit)

GET IT HERE FOR FREE


Microsoft Lets You Relive Your Windows 95 Years Through Any Browser

@ABC News

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A game called Hover! shipped on all Windows 95 installation CD-ROMs. As of today you can play that game again right through Internet Explorer 11 or any other browser that supports the Web GL development standard, including Chrome and Firefox… READ MORE


Official MEGA Client For Windows Appears; Syncs Multiple Local Folders With The Cloud

@ Addictive Tips

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What makes MEGASync outsmart the competition is its ability to synchronize multiple folders in your MEGA cloud storage with different locations on your local storage via linking each folder to a specific cloud drive nodes… LEARN MORE HERE


Amazon Is Doing It Right With Their Prime Membership

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Stream thousands of movies and TV shows for $0.00. Unlimited instant streaming… CHECK IT OUT HERE


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Today’s Geek Squeaks – September 29, 2013

A summary of Today’s Geek Squeaks:

Squeak #1 – (All Of The Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts) – Into keyboard shortcuts? If so, then you will appreciate the list that Microsoft has compiled for us (for Windows 8). Below you will find how to get to the list and note that there is even a bigger list (SEE BELOW);

Squeak #2 – (Gmail For Android Getting A Cleaner Look) – I have tried several different Android email clients to pull down my mail and I don’t learn. I keep going back to the Gmail client. I can’t wait to see the new version on my phone (SEE BELOW);

Squeak #3 – (Backup And Image The Partitions On Your Computer): When you create an image of your disk partitions you are getting an exact copy of the disk at the time you create the image. To do this you need specialized software.  Makes for an excellent backup strategy (SEE BELOW);

Squeak #4 – (A Highly Sophisticated Mouse): Check out the SteelSeries Sensei gaming mouse (SEE BELOW);

[ CLICK HERE TO LEAVE A COMMENT ]

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 ]


New keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8 and Windows RT

image

With Windows 8 and Windows RT, you can use the keyboard shortcuts you’re already using, and you’ll find new ones too. For example, the easiest way to search on the Start screen is to simply start typing. Not on the Start screen? Press the Windows logo key‌ Windows logo key and you can quickly switch between Start and the app you’re in… READ MORE

NOTE: If you’re not familiar with keyboard shortcuts—or you’d like to see a list of shortcuts in one place—see the bigger list of keyboard shortcuts.


Cleaner Conversation View For Gmail On Android

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Gmail for Android is getting a new, cleaner design for its conversation view. The update also includes a number of additional design tweaks such as checkmarks for multiple message selection so you can easily see what messages you are about to move, archive or delete… READ MORE


Backup Your Disk Partitions With Macrium Reflect
(FREE EDITION)

@ Snapfiles

image

Macrium Reflect Free Edition enables you to create complete backups of your disk partitions, including operating system, installed programs and all your settings. Using disk images instead of simple file backups allows you to restore your system to the same state in the event of a system crash or hardware failure… GET IT HERE

 


SteelSeries Sensei Gaming Collection

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Based off the critically acclaimed Xai gaming mouse, the SteelSeries Sensei is a top of the line laser gaming mouse dedicated to suiting tournament level players. It features a highly sophisticated firmware that allows for multiple adjustments of the sensor functionality, as well as complex macros to customize the mouse to the user’s specific desires… CHECK IT OUT HERE


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Today’s Geek Squeaks – September 21, 2013

A summary of Today’s Geek Squeaks:

Squeak #1 – (How to get to the Windows 8 event logs): I ran into a situation with my computer where I needed to get to the Windows 8 event logs to perform some troubleshooting. Do you think I could remember how? Guess it is age or I don’t troubleshoot enough. Take a minute to read how to get to this log in Windows 8 and take a look at what the log looks like. You may need it in the future (see below);

Squeak #2 – (A Pill That Turns Your Body Into A Password): A friend of mine put me on this one. You can’t make this stuff up, because this is real. Motorola has revealed a stomach acid-powered pill that will literally will use your body for password authentication. I can see it now in the workplace; “Did you take your password pill this morning? If not, please proceed to HR for a suppository.” (see below);

Squeak #3 – (Remotely Change Your Password On Your Android Device):  Ever lose your android smartphone? Google recently came out with an update to their Android Device Manager that gives you the ability to remotely change the password on your phone or tablet, in the event it is lost or stolen (see below); AND,

Squeak #4 – (128 GB Flash Drive): It amazes me how flash drives are slowly evolving into excellent backup strategy options by the amount of space that is being developed for the drives (see below)…

[ CLICK HERE TO LEAVE A COMMENT ]

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 ]


Finding the Windows 8 System Log

@ Computer Performance (CP)

image

Launch the Windows 8 Event Viewer – To get started with the Event Viewer press Winkey +w, this launches the Search box with the focus on Settings.  Now type: “ev” you should see ‘View event logs’… READ MORE


Google-owned Motorola reveals stomach acid-powered tablet that turns your body into a password

“The tablets contain a small chip with a switch and something that amounts to an inside-out potato battery,” Wired UK explains. “After swallowing it the acids in your stomach act as electrolytes, which power the battery and turn the switch on and off in a sequence.”… READ MORE

 


Google now lets you change your password remotely on an Android device

 @ TechHive

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Google has begun rolling out an update to its Google Play Services that includes the ability to remotely change your phone unlock password—a major addition since the search giant released the Android Device Manager last month… READ MORE


SanDisk Cruzer Glide 128 GB USB Flash Drive

image

Store and protect everything from cherished photos and videos to sensitive work files with the Cruzer Glide USB Flash Drive. This 128 GB drive comes with SanDisk SecureAccess software, which lets you password-protect and encrypt files you want to keep private while permitting access to files you want to share. Additionally, Cruzer Glide’s 2 GB of secure online storage make it easy to safeguard your most valued files. The compact drive features a red slider that glides shut to shield the USB jack… CHECK IT OUT HERE


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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

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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

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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 20, 2013

A summary of Today’s Geek Squeaks:

Squeak #1: The future of textbooks is here. Leave the backpack behind and go digital with your textbooks (see below);

Squeak #2: Managing the file structure on an Android device can be a challenge. Eliminate the challenge with ES File Explorer.  One of the best out there for Android file management. I especially like that you can access your local area network; your online storage at  Dropbox, Box.net, Sugarsync, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Amazon S3, Yandex and more, directly from ES File Explorer (get it below);

Squeak #3: Ah yes, Google Glass… How I would love to get my hands on these. TechCrunch has a nice post on how Google Glass can be potentially used by police, firefighters and first responders (read more below); AND,

Squeak #4: There is no reason in the world for not backing up your personal files. Today’s featured computer gadget is a Seagate portable hard drive that will get the job done for you!

[ 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 ]


Leave Your Backpack Behind and Rent Digital Textbooks

@ Google Play

image

Access your textbooks anywhere–from phone, tablet, or web, on Android or iOS–and trade your notebooks for a new Nexus 7: you can search, annotate, and highlight directly inside your books with our free reading app. To find specific titles, visit the Textbooks Store and search for books by ISBN… LEARN MORE HERE


ES File Explorer Is A Free Full-Featured File
and Application Manager For Android

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Android File Manager – Manage your files like you do on your desktop or laptop using Multiple Select, Cut/Copy/Paste, Move, Create, Delete, Rename, Search, Share, Send, Hide, Create Shortcut, and Bookmark; operations can be performed on local files (on your Android device) or remotely (on your computer)… GET IT HERE


Google Glass Gets An App To Power The Cyber Cops And Futuristic Firefighters Of Tomorrow

@ TechCrunch

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Mutualink is demoing one such app today at APCO, a conference for public safety communications, with its Glass App for police, firefighters and first responders. The app would allow public safety officers and officials to communicate in real-time via streaming video from the scene… READ MORE


A Pencil Thin Portable Hard Drive

Seagate Slim 500 GB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive

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The Seagate Slim portable drive is lightweight and about as thin as a pencil, plus the anodized black or silver metal design will slide easily into a pocket or backpack for your on-the-go lifestyle… SEE MORE HERE


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A FREE and EASY Offline Browser Utility That I Use To Backup My Web Sites

I currently maintain two public sites and one private site using WordPress.com, Weebly.com and Blogger.com. Each of these services provide a back door option to backup a web site; however, these backup options (with the exception of Weebly) are somewhat proprietary and difficult to follow.

My primary concern with using these FREE services is that you are at the mercy of the provider and could be at risk of waking up one morning to find you are locked out of your site. To help keep my sanity, due to the amount of content I do have posted (on all three sites), I use a FREE utility called HTTrack Website Copier.

HTTrack

HTTrack Website Copier allows you to download a World Wide Web site from the Internet to a local directory, building recursively all directories, getting HTML, images, and other files from the server to your computer. HTTrack arranges the original site’s relative link-structure. Simply open a page of the “mirrored” website in your browser, and you can browse the site from link to link, as if you were viewing it online. HTTrack can also update an existing mirrored site, and resume interrupted downloads. HTTrack is fully configurable, and has an integrated help system.

HTTrack Website Copier may appear to be non-user friendly, when in fact it is actually pretty easy to use. You can get a quick step-by-step rundown on using it [HERE]What I primarily use HTTrack for is to copy the main content of my sites in the event I need to move elsewhere.

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Online Photo Sharing Vs. Online Photo Storage

Tips for Writing a Headline to Bring in Traffic

How to Back Up Your PC

Rosewill 45 Piece Premium Computer Tool Kit

Rosewill 45 Piece Premium Computer Tool Kit

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How To Save and Print A List of Installed Programs On Your Computer

I recently experienced a situation where a person’s computer, that was several years old, required a complete factory restore. When asked, “What programs did they have installed on the computer?”, the person was at a loss. Following this occurrence, I started to wonder if there was an easy way to view, save or print the programs that we have installed on our computers? This would be especially handy as a reference in the event of a computer crash. I know myself, there are many software packages I have installed; and, trying to remember what programs I installed (in the event of a computer failure) would be a real challenge, even for an ole’ geek like me.

I am sure there may be other options or methods to accomplish this task, but what I came across was a small software utility, that is portable, called MyUninstaller (by NirSoft). I know you are wondering, what does an uninstaller utility have to do with what we want to accomplish?

MyUninstaller

First, let me explain that MyUninstaller is in fact an alternative uninstaller utility to the standard Add/Remove applet of Windows operating system; HOWEVER, built into MyUninstaller is a menu options that gives you the ability to either save the list of all installed applications on your computer into a text file or HTML file (that can be viewed in your web browser).

To save the list to a text file, click on the File Menu and select Save Selected Items. To save and view the list as a HTML file, click on View and select HTML Report – All Items.

After using the options in MyUninstaller to generate a list of the programs on my computer, it has now become part of my overall backup strategy.

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Tech Product of the Week: U32 ShadowTM 1 TB External USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive

How would you like a 1TB (terabyte) external drive that is economically priced; carries a 3 year warranty; is the thinnest on the market; can be easily carried in your pocket; can dissipate heat by design; is USB bus powered (no power adapter required);, and, when connected to a USB 3.0 port is 5 times faster than USB 2.0?

Is so, then you need to check out the U32 ShadownTM 1 TB External USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive. These little drives are made by a company, based in St. Paul Minnesota, called Oyen Digital.

A drive such as this is a perfect backup strategy device to backup your personal files and then store the drive off-site.

Get the specs from the manufacturer – [ HERE ]

U32 ShadowTM 1 TB External USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive

Oyen Digital is an innovative developer and manufacturer in the portable storage industry, specializing in professional A/V and RAID storage.

Customer Reviews: See what other people are saying about the U32 ShadownTM 1 TB External USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive[CLICK HERE]

Readers: To keep the blog interesting, I plan to feature a tech product of the week that will feature a direct link to the manufacturer for specifications and a link to Amazon to see the customer reviews (and how the product is being rated).

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MediaFire App Now Available For Android

MediaFire is an online file storage and sharing service that most computer users at home are not familiar with. With MediaFire you are given 50GB’s of space (for FREE) with a 200 MB file upload size limit. Compared to the other online storage services (which typically offer much less FREE storage space), MediaFire is very generous in their offering. I have maintained an account with MediaFire for nearly 2 years and have never experienced an issue.

MediaFire

The complaint you will hear coming from people about MediaFire is that they will remove your account is your account is inactive. There is some truth to this; however, the rule is that if you must access the MediaFire API (your account) from either the Web, your Mobile platform or your desktop platform at least once per year and if you do that, your account will never be removed.  This is a pretty easy rule to follow; especially, that you are getting 50 GBs of online storage space.  If your account is in jeopardy you will receive sufficient notice via the email account you signed up with.

The one downfall to MediaFire, that I was experiencing, was no Android App available to access and manage my MediaFire files from my tablet. This has all changed within the past couple days (prior to the writing of this article).  MediaFire now has an Android mobile app available in the Google Play Store that can be downloaded to your Android phone or tablet.  You can get the MediaFire App [HERE] .

The MediaFire mobile app lets you access all your documents, photos, and videos from anywhere. Securely store, organize, and share all your data on the web and through your Android device.

MediaFire Mobile App

Features:

• Keep all your important files at your fingertips.
• View docs, spreadsheets, presentations, video, and listen to audio.
• Take and upload pictures and videos directly in the MediaFire app.
• Upload Android gallery images.
• Create and manage folders of files.
• Share files on the go via email, SMS, through other Android apps, and with copy and paste links.
• Quickly search all your MediaFire files and folders.

MediaFire Android App:  Requires Android OS 2.2 or higher

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A FREE Registry Backup Tool For Windows 8

Just talking about the Windows Registry can make the hair stand up on one’s neck; however, if you work in IT there is a high probability, at some point, you will need to dissect the registry to make a system configuration change or to repair a registry setting that has been targeted by malware.

To those who have no idea of what I am talking about; the best and simplest definition I could find to describe the Windows Registry, for those at home, was at WikipediA.

The Windows Registry is a hierarchical database that stores configuration settings and options on Microsoft Windows operating systems.

Most folks at home are unaware of the registry and the method to edit the registry; which should only be performed by the skilled hands of a computer tech. To put the registry into perspective; ”mess up the registry and you mess up the operation of your computer”.

This is why backing up the registry should be part of your backup strategy. A program, that is FREE, I recently started to use for registry backups is called Registry Backup (go figure) by Tweaking.com .

Screenshot

Registry Backup

When I upgraded to Windows 8 I wanted to make sure I had a compatible registry backup program and Registry Backup was the surefire solution.  Note:  Registry Backup is compatible with Windows XP, 2003, Vista, 2008, 7 & 8 (32 & 64 Bit).

I recently started using this program for several primary reasons:

Registry Backup uses the Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service to backup your system registry, which allows for perfect backups of the registry files and profiles on your computer.

Registry Backup is a full scale backup and restore program that has the ability to restore a backup from safe mode.

Registry Backup has a built-in scheduling option that can perform unattended backups.

I particularly keep registry backups around in the event of a malware infection, which in today’s world of computer, the registry becomes a prime target.  Also, during those rare occasions where I do make registry edits, I feel more comfortable making the edits knowing my bacon is covered with Registry Backup.

 Registry BackupFeatures List:

  • The program is 100% free.
  • One click backup and restore.
  • Can restore from Windows Safe Mode.
  • Portable version can be ran from a thumb drive and keep backups of multiple systems.
  • Automatic cleanup of older backups.
  • Set and control scheduling options.
  • Can backup & restore all user profiles on the system, not just the ones that are currently loaded.
  • Control which registry files are backed up or restored.
  • Detailed logs are saved with each backup.
  • Multiple easy restore options.
  • Online videos showing how to use the program and how to use the different restore options.

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Perform Much Smaller Mouse Movements or Touch Swipes To Close A Windows 8 App

Recently I posted an article, The Easy Way To Close A Windows 8 App, that explains how to close an app in Windows 8 by positioning the mouse pointer at the top of the app screen (where the pointer turns into a hand); then, dragging and dropping the app to the bottom of the screen.

On a desktop computer where the screen can be quite large and the travel distance (or threshold) to drag and drop the app (to close it) can be an exercise in itself. It was at this point I wondered if there was not a way to close the app quicker using less travel distance. Sure enough, using the analogy of “if you can think it, someone else has done it”, I came across a small portable utility called Close Threshold for Metro Apps.

Close Threshold for Metro Apps

By using Close Threshold for Metro Apps, if you set the sliders to the left, save the settings, you will find that you will not have to drag an app to the bottom of the screen. The travel distance to close an app is reduced dramatically resulting in a more efficient and faster method to close the app.

There is also an additional feature where you can completely disable the “drag and drop” method of closing an app all together.

With Close Threshold for Metro Apps you will able:

  • to speed up Metro apps closing with mouse
  • to speed up Metro apps closing with touch gestures
  • to disable Metro apps closing with mouse
  • to disable Metro apps closing with touch

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FREE Image Backup Software for Windows 8

This week my posts have been focused exclusively on Windows 8; due in part I just installed Windows 8 and I am like a kid in a candy shop.

As I continue to learn more about Windows 8 and customize my computer the more I realized that I needed to create a backup of my system. Yes, I could take the risk and hope all goes well and simply reinstall Windows if all fails, but that (especially in my case) would be a very time consuming process. This is where a good disk imaging program comes into play. In this case, by circumstance, Paragon’s FREE Disk Imaging Software for Windows 8 fell onto my plate.

FREE Image Backup Software for Windows 8

When you see FREE for disk imaging software, I become skeptical; however, when I see FREE in conjunction with Paragon I know I am getting a good product. What this software does is walk you through the process of creating an exact image of your entire system. Like any imaging program and depending on the file content and disk size of your system, creating an image is not a fast process; BUT, it is definitely worth the wait. Also, you should use an external drive to make the backup to. Paragon will walk you through the entire process of selecting the volume you desire to backup, to rebooting your system to begin the backup, to rebooting your system back into your Windows environment.  To restore your system you must create a Paragon boot CD so that when your PC goes belly up you can insert the CD in the CD Drive and boot your computer into Paragon’s powerful Linux/DOS environment. From that environment you simply select the image you backed up to restore your computer back to the same level it was when you created the backup image.

Paragon’s Image Backup for Windows 8 is a disk-imaging tool for Windows 8 and Server 2012. It employs Microsoft VSS and Paragon’s patent-pending technologies for consistent point-in-time copies of the whole disk system or separate volumes. For recovery purposes it includes a powerful Linux/DOS environment. But its power is its support of the innovative ReFS.

Key Product Benefits

  • Support of the latest Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
  • Support of the brand-new ReFS (Resilient File System)for backup, restore, and browsing under Windows and Linux
  • Live Windows backup. Create an image-based copy of the whole disk system, or separate volumes and place it locally, to CD/DVD/BD, or on the net. The use of the disk-imaging mechanism and Microsoft VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Service) tackles the problem of backing up running applications and system locked files
  • Flexible recovery. Restore the whole backup image, or only particular files under Windows or from the Linux/DOS recovery environment
  • Additional maintenance functions. The Linux/DOS recovery environment includes basic functions for initializing, partitioning and formatting hard disks

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Move Your Stuff From One Cloud Based File Storage Service To Another With Backup Box

I happened across this service called Backup Box that gives you the ability to backup and transfer files (and folders) from one cloud based file storage site to another.  For example, let’s say you want to move from Dropbox to Box, then Backup Box is a service that can make the transfer happen in a seamless manner. You can also use Backup Box to schedule and automate backing up files from one service to another.

Backup Box helps you transfer anything to anywhere. We support transfers between cloud storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, Microsoft SkyDrive, and things like (S)FTP servers and databases!

Switch cloud storage providers

Feel like moving from Dropbox to Box? Or from Google Drive to SkyDrive? Use Backup Box to make the process a snap!

From anywhere to anything

Like from your website to Dropbox. We support FTP, SFTP, Dropbox, and many more.

Backup your entire web site

WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, databases? No problem, back it all up!

Automate your transfers

Easily create schedules to handle transfers when you’re not around.

Iterated transfers

Archive and timestamp your transfers to keep historical data.

Never install a thing!

No plugin, scripts, or any nonsense to worry about. Manage everything from our awesome web interface.

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TODAY ONLY – Seagate Expansion 500 GB Portable External Hard Drive

When the holidays roll around you can really find some decent deals on computer and technology products. One tech bargain that jumped out at me was at Amazon (TODAY ONLY) that can be a real benefit to everyone is the Seagate 500 GB Portable External Hard Drive.

[ click here ]

image

I cannot overstress the importance of backing up your personal files (such as pictures, documents, videos, etc…). The cool part about this particular drive is that it is designed with portability in mind. No power adapter is required. Simply connect a single USB cable and you are ready to go. These types of drives are useful in backing up your data, then moving the drive to an offsite location. Another factor with this drive is that it is Bus-powered USB 3.0, backwards compatible with USB 2.0.  So if you have USB 3.0 technology built into your PC, then file transfers will occur at lightning speed.  Again, this deal is TODAY ONLY!

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Alert! Existing SkyDrive Users – Sign In To Keep Your 25 GBs

If you are an existing Microsoft SkyDrive User it is important that you sign into your account and acknowledge that you desire to keep your 25GBs of online storage space. Failure to do so could result in your 25GBs being reduced down to 7GBs of space.

image

Any registered SkyDrive user *who has uploaded files to SkyDrive* as of April 22nd can opt in to keep 25GB of free storage while still getting all of the benefits of the new service.

If you are already using 4GBs of space on SkyDrive you will automatically keep your 25GBs.

This all may sound like a dirty trick, but Microsoft is working toward making SkyDrive better (with new apps) and making SkyDrive accessible from Windows Explorer. For example, they recently came out with a preview of SkyDrive for the Windows Desktop which gives you the ability to seamlessly sync your files (from Windows Explorer).

Here’s where you go to try SkyDrive today:

As a result of these new changes I suspect Microsoft is gearing up for an anticipated increase of people using SkyDrive (thus the reduction in the online storage space). According to Microsoft, currently 99.4 percent of current SkyDrive subscribers use 7GBs of space or less (thus the reasoning for the 7GB level). If 7GBs of space is not enough for your situation, they are offering a tiered pricing model to increase that space.

You can read more about these changes [HERE]

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Sync Box, Google Docs, Evernote and More With SocialFolders

If you use Box (online file storage service) and Google Docs, then you are well aware that there is no easy way to sync your online files (and folders) with your computer; UNTIL NOW!

SocialFolders

I came across an online service called SocialFolders where you can sync your files at Box, Google Docs and more (such as Evernote) from one location. You can also transfer files from one service to another and the cool part is that it acts just like any other folder you are accustomed to in Windows explorer. SocialFolders performs the sync tasks in the background while you are working on your computer giving you an automated way of backing up your files (online and offline). – (see video below)

SocialFolders enables you to sync (nerdy word for synchronize) the Windows Explorer with your online accounts: social networks, photo sharing applications, online storage services, etc.

Syncing means that the content of your websites will be updated when you update it in your local folders, and vice-versa.

To get started using Social Folders:

  • Download and Run the install package and follow the instructions.
  • Once SocialFolders is installed, a dialog box will appear inviting you to sign up. Fill in the required information and the application will launch automatically.
  • Right click on the SocialFolders icon in the systray to get started with SocialFolders.

image

  • At this point you can select the services you desire to sync with.

SocialFolders currently supports Facebook, Flickr, Google Docs, Instagram, Photobucket, SmugMug, Box, YouTube, Picasa and Twitter. Appears SkyDrive support may be in the works… From what I can tell, it appears that SocialFolders allows you to sync up to three services with the free version.

Note that YouTube allows only uploads, whereas Instagram allows only download. All the other services work both ways.

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FREE Software to Synchronize Files/Folders with Google Documents

I am currently using (and testing) a FREE Windows based software application called Kumosync that gives you the ability to synchronize files on your computer with Google docs (and vice versus).  So far, what I am seeing I like. Kumosync gives me another option to backup files on my PC to the cloud and make good use of my Google Docs Account.

Kumosync

After you install Kumosync, you will be prompted to sign into your Google Account.  After you sign in, go into the Kumosync settings by right clicking on the Kumosync tray icon.  From the settings you can setup what folder(s) you want the synchronization to occur and can even setup drive mapping.  Kumonsync can sync your files either manually or automatically (at prescribed time intervals).

As a precaution with any software of this type, until you become familiar with it, backup your files you intend to synchronize until you are comfortable with the software. Do not let this scare you from using Kumosync; I typically take this precaution with any software I install and use that involves any of my personal files.

KumoSync™ is a Windows application used to synchronize local windows and files/folders with Google Documents. You can sync ANY document/file format.

KumoSync will automatically track your changes in Google Documents and your local Windows file system. It will synchronize these changes automatically on a regular interval allowing you to access your files on your computer, the Google Documents “Cloud” and other devices that can also access Google Documents.

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Make Your Photos and Videos Automatically Fly From Your Camera to Your Computer

I spend much of my obsession for technology, by looking for the latest technology in computers and computer accessories on Amazon. It is such a vast resource that you can literally spend hours upon hours browsing their site.

Today, I came across a technology that I did not know about that is just downright impressive. I am sure many of you out there have digital cameras that use the SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity Cards) in your camera. Typically, after you take your pictures you manually have to transfer the pictures to your computer by either connecting the camera to the computer or by removing the SDHC card from the camera and copying the pictures to the computer.

Well, appears there is a new technology available that allows you to wirelessly (and automatically) transfer or upload JPEG photos & videos fast through your home Wi-Fi network thanks to built in 802.11n speed. You are probably asking, how does this work, my camera does not have wireless (wi-fi) built into the camera???

How this does work is that you can purchase an SDHC card (reasonably priced in my opinion) that has a wireless transmitter built into the SDHC memory card. It is called, Eye-Fi Connect X2. Appears that the cards are available in a 4GB and 8GB’s.

Eye-Fi Connect X2

[ CLICK HERE FOR SPECS ]

Eye-Fi Connect X2

I am definitely putting one of these on my Christmas list. I love the idea that I can walk into the house with my camera, after a photo session, and my camera’s SDHC card will automatically transfer my photos to my PC. Doesn’t get any easier than that…

System Requirements

SDHC-compatible digital camera

Computer with Mac OS 10.5 or later; Windows SP3/Vista/Win7

100MB of free space

Wi-Fi router 802.11 b/g/n 2.4Ghz

Technical Specifications

4GB SDHC Memory: (up to 2000 photos or 1.5 hours of video depending on camera model , file resolution and other factors)

Class 6 read and write speeds

Wireless: 802.11b/g/n 2.4Ghz

Range: 90ft+ outdoors, 45ft+ indoors

Wi-Fi security: Static WEP 64/128, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK

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In My Opinion – This Is The Best FREE File Sharing Service Out There

If you are looking for a simple file sharing platform to share photos, docs, music, videos and whatever else; that has no hidden agendas, is absolutely FREE, then you need to check out Minus.

Minus

Personally, I do not think it gets any better than Minus. Need a way to create an online portfolio of your work, then use Minus.  Need a simple way to share documents, slideshow presentations, photos and videos, then use Minus.  Need a way to publish and ebook, then use Minus.  There are so many ways that you can use Minus that I cannot begin to list them all.

Not only can you make your files public, you can also make them private.  For example, if I am working on a project, I will backup my project files to Minus and then make them private so that no one else can see them.  Then, on the other hand, if I need to share one of those project files with an associate, I simply send them the link to the file. Once you upload a file it will remain indefinitely until you delete it.

By establishing an account with Minus you are entitled to the following:

  • Get 10 GB of free space
  • Upload files up to 2 GB
  • Unlimited Downloads and Transfer
  • Profile to publish and share your files and folders ( example)
  • Follow friends to see what they are sharing
  • Use Dashboard to manage your files and folders
  • Search and discover public folders
  • Browser, desktop and mobile tool options

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[Geek Squeaks’] – Evernote, Streaming Music App, FREE Security Suite, Backup to DVD, and A Home Theatre Sound System

Evernote
Remember things big and small from your notable life using your computer, phone, and the web.

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Use The Western Digital My Passport Essential SE Series Portable External Hard Drive to Backup Your Files

I cannot stress the importance of backing up your personal files (such as your documents, pictures, and videos).  A surefire way to get this done is by purchasing an external hard drive; and, to really make it easy I suggest one of the portable external hard drives that you simply plug in the USB port and start using it. The beauty of the portable external hard drive is that you can easily move it from one PC to another; PLUS, you can then store the drive off site (in the event disaster at home would occur). Many of the portable external hard drives are small enough to easily fit in a briefcase and even your pocket.

A good choice to take a look at is the Western Digital My Passport series of drives (e.g. My Passport Essential SE 1 TB USB 3.0/2.0). The key feature with this drive is that it features dual USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 compatibility. If you are not backing up your files, here is a good way to start. Believe me, I have seen people turn ghost white, cry, yell, and stomp when told there files are gone.

Western Digital My Passport Essential SE Series

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Restoring Your Contacts List or Address Book In Gmail

Google’s Gmail has been a very popular online (web) email client for years; and, rightfully so. It continues to improve and offer features that you would typically find in email software that you would install on your PC. As a matter of fact, I no longer use email client software on my PC at all and have come to rely on my Gmail account for my email communications.

When it comes to email software, the most important component that people fail to backup is their contacts list (or address book). The contacts list is a cumulative database of peoples names, email addresses, phone numbers, work and home addresses, etc… that continues to grow and ends up becoming a vital component to your email communications. Lose your contacts list (or address book) and I will guarantee that you will not be a happy camper. I can personally attest from experience, using email software, there are no easy ways to backup your contacts list (or address book); OR least a method that is easily understood to the everyday computer user.

One feature that I really like about Gmail is the built in backup versioning feature of the contacts list. Gmail actually does the backup of your contacts list for you in the event you make a change and you need to undo the change. As a matter of fact you can go back in time up to 30 days to do a restore from a previous version of the contacts list.

Restore Contacts

You can restore your contacts from a earlier saved version in instances such as; when accidental deletion occurs, a sync failed, an import failed or a merge failed.

You will not find any email client software that I know of that will give you this bailout in the event you lose your contacts.

To restore your contacts to a previous version, just follow these steps:

  1. Click Contacts.
  2. From the More actions drop-down menu, choose Restore contacts.
  3. Choose the time you’d like to revert your contacts list to (e.g. 10 minutes ago, one hour ago, one week ago, etc). We suggest that you also make a note of the time that you restore your contacts, in case you’d like to return to where you started.
  4. Click Restore. You’ll see a confirmation at the top of the screen when the rollback is complete.

To undo a restoration:

When the operation completes, a notification bar will appear that gives you the opportunity to immediately undo the restore. This notification bar will disappear if you leave Contacts or make edits to your contacts.

If the notification bar is no longer there, you can always re-run the Restore Contacts tool to take you back to where you started. Just set the tool to take you to the time just before you started the whole process.

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How to Easily Backup All of Your Google Doc Files To Your Computer

Recently we all read where some folks who had Gmail accounts went to open their accounts and their email was gone. Google subsequently went to work to rectify the problem; however it put a scare into everyone that uses the variety of Google services (such as Google’s online storage for documents, pictures, files, etc…).

One area that I had a concern for was my Google Docs. I use Google Docs for a variety of purposes and my opinion it is an awesome option to storing, managing and editing documents online. It keeps getting better and better; however, it would put a crimp in things in the event I found all my documents missing.

An option, and habit to get into, is to periodically backup your Google Docs.  How do you do this?

  1. Simply pull up the listing of your Google Doc files.
  2. Using your mouse pointer highlight (do not click) any of the files. As you are highlighting a file in the list, you will see on the right side of the highlight bar, the word “Actions” appearing.
  3. Click on “Actions” and a dropdown menu will appear.  Click on “Download” on that menu.
  4. When you click on “Download”, the following box (see below) will appear. In that box, click on “All items” tab. At that point you have some really neat options to download your documents. You can download them, “as is” or convert them all to the MS-Office format, the Open Office format or the Adobe PDF format. When ready, click on “Download”.

Convert and Download

You are only permitted to download up to 2 GBs at a time and the files will be packaged into what is called a zip file. If you have a large file cache stored on Google Docs and you do not want to wait, Google Docs can automatically email you with a web link when the files are all zipped up and ready for download.

Zipping Files

If you are a user of Google Docs, this is a good habit to get into and can save your butt.

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Software To Sync a Folder On Your PC with Google Docs

I have been using and testing Google Docs to determine if it is a practical resource and solution for the everyday home computer user.

Google Docs is a free, Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, form, and data storage service offered by Google. It allows users to create and edit documents online while collaborating in real-time with other users. – Wikipedia

During my testing I have been creating documents, primarily using the word processor and spreadsheet components of Google Docs. I am finding that for what the home based computer user would need, Google Docs is a practical FREE solution. So before you go out and spend hundreds of dollars for Microsoft Office, give Google Docs a try.  As a matter fact, Google Docs and Microsoft Office (i.e. Word and Excel), at the basic level of document formatting, work together nicely.

As a result of my testing, one feature that I believe is needed is the ability to automatically sync (or backup) your Google Docs to your PC. Google has yet to address this concern; however, if I know their strategy, this is something that we will eventually see happen. Keep in mind Google Docs is in constant development and when advancements are made, they are very noticeable. You can give Google Docs a try with Google’s online demo [HERE]

In the meantime, the best solution I could find (for FREE) that allows  you to sync your online Google Docs to your PC is an application called Syncplicity.

Syncplicity

Syncplicity instantly syncs files across your Macs, PCs and Google Docs, so that your files are always available across all the computers you use and the Web. Instant sync with automatic back-up to our cloud ensures you have access to your data wherever you are, and that your days of worrying about manual back-ups and data loss are over. Our instant restore means you can recover deleted or lost files immediately.

Once you install and setup your online Syncplicity account, you will see in the file browser of Syncplicity a tab titled, “Google Docs”.  This is where you begin the process to setup the sync between Google Docs and your PC.

Once you have everything setup, it may take awhile for any Google Docs that you have stored online to show up on your PC. Now that I have Syncplicity up and working, any Google Doc files I work on, from any location in the world, will now sync with the folder I have setup on my PC.  Same goes, with any Google Docs I work with from the PC level will automatically be synced with my online account.

Syncplicity

To learn more about Syncplicity and what it can do, click [HERE] . For my situation Syncplicity has worked seamlessly and gets the job done. Who knows, this may be the next cloud app on Google’s payroll.

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A FREE Tool to Backup The Windows Registry in a Few Seconds

Built into the Windows Operating System is a central hierarchical database, called the Registry, that is the lifeblood of the operating system. Any corruption to that database can, and will, result in an operating system failure. The registry, dynamic in operation, stores the information that controls every aspect of your computer. Windows continually references, and writes to the registry, and is important in maintaining the overall health and integrity of the operating system (and your computer).

What I am trying to say, to those who are trying to understand, the Registry is one of the most important aspects of Windows. As a result, it is as important to regularly backup the registry as it is to backup your personal files. Windows does maintain backups of the registry with its’ System Restore utility; however, from my experience I question its’ integrity.

To backup the Windows Registry, I use a third party tool called Regbak – Registry Backup & Restore Tool. I typically run Regbak prior to any software I install on my computer or at least once a week. Regbak is a light-weight and simple to use utility that creates backups of the Registry files to a location of your choice. In the event the Registry on your computer becomes corrupted simply open the backup destination folder and run the restore utility called Regres. Typically, you would run the restore utility in such instances where your computer has become trashed as a result of a malware infection and/or as a result of a software install that went south.

Regbak

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Backup and Restore Desktop Icon Positions

Have you ever went to the tedious task of arranging the icons on your Windows desktop to only find they lost their placement following a computer crash or as a result of a screen resolution change?

A solution to this anomaly is a little program called IconRestorer. What this little gem does is place the icons back to their original location on the Windows desktop when needed. It is basically a backup and restore program for the placement of desktop icons; and a whole lot more.

IconRestorer

IconRestorer also has the capability to: Save and restore the desktop wallpaper with the icon positions AND automatically restore icons position when the screen resolution changes.

IconRestorer

Features:

  • Windows Vista™ and Windows 7™ compatible.
  • Works on 64-bit systems (XP, 2003, Vista, 2008 and Windows 7)
  • Manage icons position separately for all screen resolutions
  • Automatically restore icons position when resolution changes
  • *NEW* Automatically save icons position when Windows shutdown or program exit
  • Multiple backups for each resolution

Note: There is a Standard version of IconRestorer and a Supporter’s version. The Supporter’s version, where a donation is accepted, provides additional options such as unlimited backups and autosave.

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An Easy Way to Backup the Windows Registry

Ah yes, the Windows Registry… In comparison to the human body where our brain is the data storage component that controls our thoughts and bodily processes; the Windows registry is similar in this fashion. Just like the brain, if injury or damage occurs to the registry, the impact can be great and ultimately result in a crash of your computer.

The Windows Registry is a hierarchical database that stores configuration settings and options on Microsoft Windows operating systems. It contains settings for low-level operating system components as well as the applications running on the platform: the kernel, device drivers, services, SAM, user interface and third party applications all make use of the Registry. The registry also provides a means to access counters for profiling system performance. – [Source: Wikipedia]

Now the good to this is that the Windows registry can be backed up (even sections of it) and the backups can be used to restore or heal the registry. I am a big advocate of backing up my registry on my computer; especially when installing or testing software. These backups are also especially helpful in the event of a malware infection where malware will hook into the registry unbeknownst to the user and will ultimately cause havoc.

Backing up and/or restoring the Windows registry is a process that is not an easy process. I know of many techs that even get the jitters when you even talk about the registry.  The Windows Restore function, does try to perform backups of registry changes so that the user can try to recover from a mishap; however, in my opinion this is not the most reliable option.

If you want an easy way to backup your Windows’ Registry, I suggest using ERUNTgui .

ERUNTgui is a graphic user interface for the popular registry backup and restore program “ERUNT” created by Lars Hederer.

ERUNT – current versions 1.1j are still compatible with Windows 7, but as in Vista, they will only work correctly if you turn off User Account Control in Windows’ Control Panel (move the slider to the lowest position).

This utility is pretty easy to use. Simply select, “Backup The Registry” and you will be prompted for a location to save your backup. Once the backup is saved, you can also use ERUNTgui to perform a restore in the event your registry becomes corrupted. There is also an “Optimize the Registry” button; however, if you do try this, make a backup of the registry first.  See, I even get the jitters when I know I am messing with the registry.

ERUNT.gui can also be used as a portable app on your flash drive. I currently have this utility in my tech toolbox and will often use it to make a registry backup on other computers that I know I will be getting down and dirty with.

ERUNTgui

ERUNTgui

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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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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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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!

login pic

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.

main window

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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Comodo Time Machine – A Powerful System Restore Utility

Comodo Time MachineIf you are looking for an utility that will literally save your PC’s butt, then Comodo Time Machine may be the answer you are looking for. What this innovative utility does is take snapshots of your PC and archives those snapshots so that if you experience a computer problem (like a malware or virus attack), you simply revert back in time to one of the snapshots you had previously taken. In other words, if you mess up your PC and you have the Comodo Time Machine software installed, you can go back in time to restore your PC to a previous good state.

image

Comodo Time Machine (CTM) is a powerful system rollback utility that allows users to quickly restore their computers to an earlier point in time. CTM ‘snapshots’ are a complete record of your entire system (including the registry, critical operating system files and user created documents).  As part of a layered security strategy, users can schedule automatic snapshots to be taken at regular intervals then roll back to the last known working state in the event of virus attacks or crashes. It is also recommended practice to take snapshots of your computer before large installations or system maintenance like installing a Windows service pack, security updates or new drivers. Software Developers and testers can easily restore test systems to the default configuration after each deployment  without the need to manually uninstall each application. Home users can even let the kids run amok on the family PC for an afternoon and be safe in the knowledge that any damage can be instantly undone and all files recovered.

Comodo Time Machine is an excellent replacement for the “System Restoration” function that is built into Windows.  As a matter of fact, on my main PC, I turned “off” the Windows Restore utility, to reclaim disk space, and started using Comodo Time Machine as my main PC restore (rollback) utility.  Comodo Time Machine is a much more capable restore utility than the restoration function that is built into Windows; AND, what I find amazing is that there is no excessive disk usage bloat (like with Windows Restore).  This utility, when properly managed, could be a lifesaver to you.  I am now using Comodo Time Machine, on my main PC, as a layer of protection in conjunction with my disk imaging and backup software.

Layered Security

  • Schedule automatic snapshots to be taken at regular intervals
  • Roll back to the last known working state in the event of virus attacks or crashes
  • Take snapshots of your computer before large installations or system maintenance

It also comes in very handy when I am testing software. I simply install/test the software; then, instead of uninstalling the software, I revert back in time, using the Comodo Time Machine.  If you have multiple users (like kids) using one PC, this software may help you keep your sanity.

I am not going to get into all of the capabilities of the Comodo Time Machine; however, I highly recommend that you read the “User Guide” [ Click Here ] before you make the decision to use the software. Personally, from what I can attest thus far; Comodo Time Machine is a great innovation and is what the Windows restoration should be.

Why should I use Comodo Time Machine?

  • Easy to use – even beginners can quickly create system snapshots with a few mouse clicks
  • Provides instant and comprehensive system recovery after virus or spyware infections
  • Instantly reclaim your machine after devastating system crashes
  • Rollback the changes to ALL your documents – not just changes to system files and the registry
  • Boot-up console allows you to rollback even when your system will not boot to Windows
  • Test new software and network configurations in the knowledge that you can quickly switch back if problems develop
  • Completely remove unwanted software installations without the need to uninstall or clean the registry
  • Flexible restore options allow you to mount and browse snapshots to recover individual files or folders
  • Right click on any file or folder to synchronize it with a snapshot version
  • Schedule regular system snapshots to ensure highly relevant restore points
  • Network administrators have another way to quickly fix user or software problems
  • Libraries, Internet cafes and other publicly shared networks can schedule a total system restore at the end of each session

Supported Operating Systems:

Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit)
Windows Vista (32 and 64 bit)
Windows XP with service pack 2
or higher (32 and 64 bit)
Windows Server 2003
(32 and 64 bit)
Windows Server 2008
(32 and 64 bit. Except Windows Server 2008 Core)

Minimum Hardware:

Intel Pentium III Processor or higher
128 MB RAM

Free disk space:
4 GB (minimum) / 10 GB (recommended)

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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.

Screenshot

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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What is Dropbox?

Dropbox Is a File Storage, Syncing and Collaboration Tool [ Link ]

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Every once in awhile I love to link to articles that have been posted by others; especially those who are members of the What’s On My PC blogroll.  Steve, over at Scoroncocolo has put up an excellent in-depth article [ Link ] about using the cloud storage app called Dropbox.

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What is really intriguing about Steve’s writing is that he just does not give you bits and pieces; he give you the whole loaf.  He tests out the apps he writes about, then tells you how to use those apps in an easily understood manner. His Dropbox article is an excellent example of this. If you do not know what cloud storage is or Dropbox, I encourage you to read Steve’s article titled;

Dropbox Is a File Storage, Syncing and Collaboration Tool

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#42)

It is unbelievable, especially the older we get, just how fast a week seemingly passes by; but, one thing I look forward to each week is Geek Squeaks’.

Geek Squeaks’ is a compilation of articles, created within the past 7 days, by the members (bloggers) associated with the What’s On My PC blogroll (at the right side of the blog). If computers and information technology is in your blood, then these sites (or blogs) are the ones to follow.

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Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
FreeFixer – A Free, Powerful Anti-Malware Tool

Plato On-Line
Facebook vs. Suicide Machine

411-Spyware.com
How to Remove Antivirus PC 2009

AKS-Feel The Change
Merge two or more PDF files

thePC Security
Freeware PC Security Software Download – Rising PC Doctor

Crazy World of G
You Have Wave

Lifehacker
Memorize Makes Virtual Flashcards and More [Flashcards]

Rarst.net
SuggestRSS.com – finds sites like those in your feeds

Sugarloaf Tech
Remote wipe your BlackBerry without BES

Tech-for Everyone
How To Make Word Open A Normal Blank Page*

AskBillFirst
Those Green Doublelined Words on a Web Page

Free PC Security
Online Armor Free Firewall V4

TuneUp Blog
Survey: Replace Rather Than Clean Up a PC?

Computer Maintenance
Data Backup

Canadian Tech Blogger
IE Usage Down, Chrome Surpasses Safari

Mrintech
Free ASCII Art Designer Software for your PC!

Worthy Tips
Idea To Convert Your Photo To Hand Draw Sketch On Your Desktop

Technize
3 Ways To Test Your LCD Monitor For Defective Pixels

I Love Free Software
WeBuzz.IM – Use Gtalk, Yahoo, ICQ, AIM from Browser

TTC Shelbyville
Repair Internet Explorer

Carputers News and Computer Tips
Learn how to research online…

Snakebytez
Easily and Safely Optimize Vista
by Disabling Unnecessary Windows Vista Services

Freeware Pharmacy
MCE Buddy

What’s On My PC
FREE Online Virus and Malware Scanners

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Geek Squeaks’ of the Week (#40)

If you have an obsession for information technology and computers, then you need to follow these blogs.  Listed is this weeks Geek Squeaks’; a sampling of articles (from the past 7 days) from the bloggers that are on the What’s On My PC blogroll. Talk about a great community of bloggers; none like it around!

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411-Spyware.com
How to Remove Antivirus Live

Plato On-line
How and Why Twitter is Addictive

Evil Fantasy’s Blog
The Ultimate Geek TaskForce!

Bill Mullins’ Weblog – Tech Thoughts
Infected by Scareware? Get Your Wallet Out!

Snakebytez
IEHistoryView : Track websites
recently visited in Internet Explorer

Carputers News and Computer Tips
IBM Lotus Symphony goes portable…

TTC Shelbyville
Duplicate Your Hard Drive

The Abbey Rose
Security Applications

I Love Free Software
Sweet Little Piano: Play Piano on your Computer

Technize
Remotely Control Your Phone from Computer

Worthy Tips
Download 30+ Free MP3 From Amazon in This Christmas

Mrintech
Import Contacts to Yahoo! Mail from Google Account

Freeware Elite
Symbols, Accents, Weird punctuation –
Do you know how to type them?

Canadian Tech Blogger
Google DNS vs OpenDNS

Technogran’s Tittle Tattle
Talking about the new Bing Bar

TuneUp Blog
Disabling Dr. Watson: Does It Really Improve Performance?

Carol’s Vault
5 websites to find your perfect Christmas recipes

Free PC Security
K9 Web Protection Free

AskBillFirst
Is It Disk or Disc?

Tech-for Everyone
How To Remove FinallyFast (PC SpeedScan Pro, Performance Center, Active Speed, etc.)

Sugarloaf Tech
Trouble upgrading to AVG 9.0 Free Edition

Rarst.net
SimpleDesktops.com – minimalistic wallpapers collection

Lifehacker
Chrome Extensions Gallery Officially Opens [Chrome Extensions]

Crazy World of G
Free Rip

Computer Too Slow
How to Diagnose Keyboard Problems

thePC Security
Free MP3 Manager Software Download | Music File Management

What’s On My PC
Trusting the IT Guy

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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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Portable Utility to Backup and Archive Your Email

Here of late I have been on a kick with testing backup utilities; and today I came across an interesting application, called MailStore Home, that will allow you to archive (or backup) your email. If you are an email packrat and you are looking for something to archive (or backup) your email to your computer, then this app may be for you.

First off, MailStore Home is FREE and is designed to archive (or backup) email from:

Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft Exchange
AVM Ken! Mailbox
Mozilla Thunderbird
Mozilla SeaMonkey
Windows Mail
Windows Live Mail
Google Mail
IMAP Mailbox
POP3 Mailbox
Email Files

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MailStore Home can either be installed on your PC or you can go with the NEW portable beta version that can be run without installing the app  and can be run directly from your flash drive (or from a folder on your PC). For the sake of testing this app, I went with the portable version and ran it directly from a folder on my PC.

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I am an email packrat in the sense that I use an online webmail account that harvests emails from my numerous other email accounts so that I have a backup. As a matter of fact I have approximately 4 GB’s of email stored in that backup account. The only problem with this strategy is that my emails (and attachments) are stored on the internet and not on my PC. MailStore Home is the solution to this problem and has given me the option of archiving and saving all of my emails to my PC.  As a result, I can clean out my online account and feel more comfortable knowing that my email data is now safe on my PC.

The cool factor with MailStore Home is that when you perform the backup, you have option of leaving the email on the server (on the internet) or you can tell MailStore to delete the email on the server after it has been safely archived (backed up).

MailStore Home will pluck those emails, attachments and all, and save them to your PC in the form of a data file that can be read  and searched by MailStore Home and backed up to other locations (such as an external drive, flash drive, etc…). 

Main features I found that you may be interested in:

Archive all email messages centrally, securely and permanently

No storage limitations

Search your email in a fraction of a second (incl. attachments)

Integrated CD/DVD burning, backup archives with 1 click

Conserve disk space; MailStore Home saves only a single instance of mail and attachments

Preview saved messages directly in MailStore and reopen them in your local mail client (e.g. Microsoft Outlook)

Your email can be exported to a variety of destinations

Messages are stored MIME-compatible, and can be recovered at any time without information loss (e.g. to import them in other applications)

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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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A Simple Solution to Backing Up Your Browser Settings

The everyday computer user primarily uses the computer to browse the internet. As a result, the web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, etc.) becomes one of the most important pieces of software on the computer. Over a period of time, based on the user’s surfing habits, the browser cumulatively collects bookmarks, cookies, history, toolbar settings, extensions, add ons, etc. that the user ultimately becomes dependent on. The problem occurs is when the computer crashes or the user moves to a new computer AND all of those cumulative browser gatherings by the user are lost. I have actually witnessed users that were more upset that they lost their browser bookmark settings, when their computer crashed, than personal documents they may have had.

To prevent this mishap from occurring there is a backup solution, called FavBackup, that will backup your bookmarks and any other settings that are browser specific (e.g. history, cookies, user preferences, extensions and other elements).

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FavBackup is a portable app that requires no installation and has the capability of backing up the browser settings for various versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera, Safari and Flock.  One point to make is that you will be see two different type of backup and restore options:

(1) – Backup or Restore – allows you to select what you desire to backup or restore

(2) – Full Backup or Full Restore – will perform a backup or restore of all settings in one fell swoop.

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FavBackup is very easy to use, fast and efficient; AND is must-have software for any computer user who is tied to their browser. If anything, make FavBackup part of your normal backup routine and use it to at least backup your bookmarks.

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How to backup and filter files using your Gmail account…

The blog “AKS-Feel The Change” recently featured an article [ Link ] about a really neat utility called “Backup To Email”. This utility enables you to backup files to just about any email account, including Gmail. To point out here, Backup To Email is not a full featured backup program designed to backup your whole computer. It is designed to supplement the backup routines that you should already have in place.

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I use Backup To Email, to backup and store project files that I am currently working on or other files that are important to me. For example, while drafting this article, I sent a backup copy to my Gmail account using Backup To Email. This is added insurance that if disaster strikes (computer crashes), my project files are backed up off site. If I think the file(s) I am backing up are sensitive in nature, I will often encrypt the file prior to uploading it to my Gmail account. The program I use for encryption purposes is, Drag’n’Crypt Ultra.

Nearly everyone these days has a Gmail account with approximately 7 GB’s of space. If you want to maximize the usage of that space, here is a neat way to use the Backup to Email program with your Gmail account to filter out (separate) the backup files from your regular email. The reason I lean toward using Gmail is that I can open the majority of my backup files right inside my Gmail (using Google Docs). Utlimately, If you are going to backup a lot of files, you could also setup a separate Gmail account to strictly store files.

To make this all happen, you must have Backup To Email installed and configured to recognize your Gmail account. This may look more difficult than it is, but it really easy to do and in the end your backup files are automatically separated from your regular email that you receive in your inbox.

  • Log into your Gmail account and click on Settings at the top right corner.
  • Click on Labels
  • At the bottom, type in the word “Files” where it says Create a new label
  • Click on Create (the Files label should show up)
  • Next, Click on Filters (at the top)
  • Click on Create a new filter
  • In the From box, type Me
  • In the Subject box type BackupToEmail (all one word)
  • Click on Next Step
  • Put a Check Mark next to Skip the Inbox
  • Put a Check Mark next to Apply the Label and select Files from the drop down box
  • Click on Create Filter and you are done.
  • Test to see if the filter is working by backing up a file using Backup To Email.  If it is not working properly, recheck the filter settings.

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Learn About FREE Online Backup Strategies

image Backing up your data to the cloud… What are your options?  Is it costly? Is it hard to do? Should I do it?

If you have a desire to get answers to these questions, I encourage you to visit Scoroncocolo to learn more about FREE On-Line Backup Strategies AND how you can take advantage of them. The article is very well written for us everyday folks to understand.  Be sure to check out the nice listing of online storage services that offer “FREE” storage space.

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A “What’s On My PC…” Web Clip!

imageSeptember 27, 2009
[Source: Scoroncocolo]

Cloud Computing is a buzz phrase we hear a lot these days. All Cloud Computing means is using your Web browser instead of your hard drive to run applications to do the work you do everyday. It won’t be long until this is the norm rather than the exception.

SkyDrive and Syncplicity are not the only cloud backup I use. I also have music, photos and files backed-up on Adrive and Box.net.

One thing you might want to keep in mind about using cloud storage providers is that they could go belly-up at any time. You may recall that this happened to AOL-owned Xdrive in or around August 0f 2008. With this in mind, you may not want to consider using backing-up in the cloud as your only method of securing your data.

Once you have music, pictures and documents stored on Google Docs, SkyDrive, ADrive, Box.net or Amazon, you can download and install Gladinet Cloud Desktop to keep track of everything. Gladinet Cloud Desktop allows you to access files stored in the cloud as if they were in a local folder.

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[Source: Scoroncocolo]

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Commercial Grade Backup and Recovery Software for FREE

GFI, a Microsoft Gold Certified partner, and leading software developer of network security, content security and messaging software is offering for FREE a Home Edition of their backup software (called GFI Backup).

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If you are not performing backups of files that are important to you, then minimize the risk of losing those files with a good backup solution. What I like about GFI Backup is that it is a full featured backup solution that has an easy-to-use backup wizard option that is great for new users who may have found backup software to be intimidating.

GFI Backup 2009 allows you to back up all your important documents, photos, music, emails and program settings using a simple but smart wizard-driven interface to nearly every storage device (including local and external disk drives, LAN, CD/DVD, removable devices, remote FTP servers, etc.). Download and use GFI Backup 2009 today – a FREE easy-to-use backup software solution, designed for secure backups of all your important data.

To learn more GFI Backup, I encourage you watch the video below to see how a backup of files is performed using the GFI Backup Software.

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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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