If you lost all of your data right now... What would you do?... Backup Plan For Home Users and Very Small Businesses

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2 2 If you lost all of your data right now... What would you do?... Backup Plan For Home Users and Very Small Businesses As the Story Goes... At seven pm, I received a distraught phone call on my cellphone... Hi Scott, I'm having trouble with my computer. I cant get my System to start Windows. It locks up during boot and the computer is making a certain whining noise now... I have all my data on this thing can you have a look at it? A new customer found me on the web searching for data recovery experts. Apparently he was not Backing up his data, and from the sound of it, his computer hard drive was failing. I explained that it would be best to shut down the computer now to prevent further damage. After he shut the computer down we talked about a bit about the specifics. In this situation there if there is a problem with the drive, there is a chance that the data might not be able to recovered. Moreover just booting it up could further damage the drive in which case if its extremely sensitive data you should contact Drive Savers for the full treatment costs and all as they have the proper facilities to recover the data without further damaging the drive. Normally I can recover the data, but only if the drive is still relatively functioning at the time of the recovery. Since he didn't want to pay the high prices we decided that I should have a look. After six pm I usually like to wind down from all the technical problems that come up during the day, having run into this type of customer time and time again, I knew he was concerned about not being up and running the next day and really needed my help. I decided based on his situation that he bring his computer to me and I would have a look. After the customer dropped the computer off, I set it on the bench pulled out the hard drive and connected it to one of my test machines so

3 3 I could run some non-destructive diagnostics. After getting half-way thought the test the drive stopped responding. It was at this point I knew that the drive was in the process of failing. I immediately contacted the customer, explained the situation that It should be possible to Backup the drive before it fails. He authorized the work and I started the process of imaging the data of his drive to external media. Fortunately I was able to recover 90% of the data. The customer was very happy, he bought a new hard drive and we transferred the data to the new drive and rebuilt the computer. This was a successful case of data recovery. In reality one out of every five data recover jobs I do end up as positive as this. Some times the data is completely unrecoverable and has to be taken to a special facility for advanced work costing thousands of dollars. Over the years I've decided to talk to about the importance of pro-actively backing up important data. I have done extensive research on Backup Software and Hardware and I'm going to sharing this information with you in the following pages. When I was a kid, our house caught on fire due to a outdoor grill accident. When it was over all that was left was some cinders and the cloths on my back. You don't know what you've lost until its gone. If you remember any details out of all of this, remember this: The continued successful operation of your computer can be vulnerable to a myriad of conditions that can for the most part be beyond your control. Do not wait until your computer crashes, by then its too late. Where it beings... Lets talk a little bit what kind of computer person you might be and about different types of data your computer uses to store information. I just do and word.. As a Basic User if you store your mail online using a Web Mail based System such as Gmail, Yahoo, or MSN you are agreeing to let that provider store your mail for you. Please be aware that your can be lost. Don't assume they will have it covered for you, always have a Backup of your information under your control. If you use Outlook Express, Outlook or Thunderbird like Applications then your mail is stored on your computer unless the mail account is configured for IMAP, and its possible a copy is stored on the server. Word documents are stored also stored on your computer unless you are using a online

4 4 storage service or a mapped drive on the network. In your case you would only need to make a selective Backup from time to time stored on some type of removable media in case your computer crashes such as a DVD or memory stick. As long as you have the software that came with your computer to reinstall Windows and your productivity applications you are in a good situation. My Computer is my life.. Definitely a power user. You check , work with images, listen to music, or write dissertations. If you lost your Personal Data or your System went down you would be dead in the water. Data Types There are three main areas that are critical for you to be able to function on a day to day basis. The first area is your Personal Files, Important things like Documents, Spreadsheets, Pictures, Music, and Financial Information. Losing this data can have life long consequences. Especially when you have been storing this data for years.

5 5 The second area is the Operating System. If you are running, or your computer came with Microsoft Windows, you need this Software to continue work with your data. If the software crashes because of a hard drive, or some other failure and you lose that data its recoverable so long as you have the media it is stored on such as a CD and have time and experience to restore the software. It can take between 20 minutes and 3 hours to recover in this situation and hopefully you have enough experience if you run into problems. The third area is any applications you use to access personal data which is separate from your Operating System. Some computer manufactures give you an application recovery disk. But that is no guarantee that it will reinstall all of the applications that you use. You might have installed other applications over time that you downloaded from the Internet or purchased from a retail store. There are a couple of reasons why you would want to Backup your applications: 1. you are a power user and it would take way to long for you to manually restore all of your applications one by one. 2. You don't have the media any longer to reinstall with. 3. You don't know what Applications you need to reinstall in case your computer does crash. 4. You want to transfer your applications to another computer. Selecting a Backup Plan that is right for you... Depending on your storage requirements your Backup plan will depend on how much space your data is taking up on your hard drive. You can obtain this information by going into your computer right clicking on your C: or System Drive and selecting properties. The used space contains your storage requirements. You need at least twice that amount of space to Backup on each device so that if your data changes consistency so you have enough space to add more data in the future.. What you will need At least two secondary storage devices for data redundancy:

6 6 A CD or DVD Writer and multiple Writable/Re-Writable Disks (for more information about the pros and cons of CD/DVD media please visit the forums on my web-site.) CD Price: pack $10-$30 (Subject to change at any time) CD Storage Capacity 700megs per Disk. Recommended Use DVD Price DVD Storage Capacity Recommended Use Suitable for personal data storage and Backups pack $20-$40 (Subject to change at any time) Single Layer:4.7gigs per disk Dual-Layer: 8.4gigs per disk Suitable for personal/system data storage and Backups. A USB Memory stick or some kind of Solid State memory storage device (for more information about this device please visit the forums on my web-site.) Price: Storage Capacity Recommended Use $10-$200 (Subject to change at any time) 128 megs to 64gigs of data. (Subject to change at any time) Suitable for personal data storage and Backups. A External USB or Firewire Hard Drive (for more information about this device please visit the forums on my web-site.) Storage Capacity Recommended Use Price: between $80-$300 60gigs and 2terabytes of data. (Subject to change at any time) Suitable for System and Personal Data Backups on one computer. A Network Storage Device (for more information about this device please visit the forums on my web-site.) Storage Capacity Recommended Use Price: between $150-$2000 -AND/OR- -AND- -AND/OR- -AND/OR- 160gigs and 8terabytes of data. (Subject to change at any time) Suitable for System and Personal Data Backups on multiple computers. A Online Backup Service (for more information about this service please visit the forums on my web-site.)

7 7 Basic Users If you are a basic user you have simple needs. You can get by with a cheap, low cost Backup solution. Just make sure you identify what you can't lose. Think about what you do with your computer on a day to day basis and ask yourself, where is this data being stored? If you don't know the answer to this question do some digging, ask around, ask me. Ill be glad to help you get familiar with how your data is being stored. If you are running Windows Vista or Seven, you can get away with using the internal Backup software in windows or you can give SyncBackSE a try. Its a good program which gives you a 30 trial period and costs $30 which is reasonable for the amount of features it has. Power Users If you are a power user, your needs can be much more complex. Lets go over some of the areas you might be concerned about: 1. You want to make a Backup of your personal data on a regular basis, also you don't have or want to spend time reinstalling your Operating System and Applications if something happens to your computer. 2. You want to just Backup your Personal Data, You have time and experience to reinstall your Applications and Operating System. Option 1: I need everything backed up.. If you are interested in maintaining Data and System integrity I'm going to recommend two options. If you are running Windows 2000 or Windows XP I recommend True Image, Home Edition from Acronis. For $50 dollars you can have a full fledged Backup program that handles most Backup tasks flawlessly, and makes it very easy to do secure Backup and Restore tasks with either Personal, Applications or Operating System data. You can schedule tasks to Backup your System and personal data and as it runs in the background it takes up very little resources. Protecting your data without it getting in the way of your day to day tasks. It also capable of warning you when your data is not being backed up. Windows Vista and Seven have a built in backup program, but it is somewhat limited. I still recommend Acronis True Image either way. For Operating System Backup and Recovery, Acronis True Image works in

8 8 the background while you work by taking snapshots of any drive you tell it to. You can compare the term snapshot to how a camera operates, just as a camera takes a complete picture of anything you point it at. Acronis takes a complete picture of any drive and saves that picture to a file on some other storage device. In the event of a System crash where your System Drive is corrupted. Acronis can allow you to recover by transferring that snapshot back to the existing or new hard disk, resulting in minimal downtime. If you didn't have this type of Backup, you could spent countless hours re-installing and configuring your Operating System, and any Applications you need to to function. It saves a lot of time in my business. Option 2: Just the personal data, please... Acronis also just lets you Backup your personal data. The question that arises is... Where is my personal data stored? And that is a tough question to answer. Let me try and point you in the right direction. Some Applications store the data in other locations then the default. If you need more information about this please contact me or visit my website. The first thing you need to do is make a list of information you want to Backup. A list could look like this. 1. Word Documents, Excel Spreadsheets, Calendar, Accounting data, Access Databases Pictures 4. Music 5. Movies Then open up each Application where you save personal data and identify the program name. Every program you open has its name located at the top left in the title bar. This list is also useful if you have to re-install or hire someone to help you here is a example of what this second list might look like. Word Documents, Excel Spreadsheets, Calendar, Accounting data, Access Databases. 1. Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, and Access 2. My schedule information is in Outlook. 3. Accounting Data uses Quickbooks Outlook Express 2. Outlook Pictures 1. Hp Photo Suite 2. Picasa 3. Creatacard Gold 8 Music 1. Windows Media Player 2. Real Media Player 3. Itunes

9 9 Creating a backup of your personal data... Once you have created a list and have located the Applications you use to work with your data you can create a backup. When you launch Acronis True Image to back up your Personal Data it Recognizes the default locations your system uses to store your data and lets you select these folders very easily. Windows Vista or Seven Backup And Restore Center has a similar selection process.

10 10 Some folders or locations that store your Personal Data will not be easily accessible to you within the backup program. For instance, if you store your mail with MSN, Yahoo or Gmail, your mail will be stored online and you will have to download your mail to your computer first. For more information about this please visit the Forums on my Web-Site. Data Archiving and Redundancy The most important feature in Acronis True Image is the Backup reserve copy option. Since Acronis stores data in its own proprietary archive format if the archive gets damaged, there is a good chance that you might have problems retrieving the data. The reserve copy option allows you to store a second copy of any Backup in a non-proprietary format such as a compressed zip file or flat files/directories to easy retrieval. For personal data purposes you definitely want to have a backup of your personal data in multiple formats and locations. The idea is that if one location or archive gets damage you have an alternate you can retrieve from. Since you cannot rely on technology to operate consistently, redundancy is the only way to have some form of security that your data will be there for you when the time comes. When data security is a concern... One of the things you need to be aware of when storing data for backup purposes is that its susceptible to theft. If you store your backups on some removable media and that media falls into the wrong hands, you could be in very serious trouble. Acronis True Image allows you to store your data in an encrypted archive using AES 256bit encryption. If your media gets lost or stolen, its near impossible to crack 256bit encryption without some serious hardware that only the government could really afford. (Over time it will become easier to crack this level of encryption.) Final Conclusion With the low cost of storage and the significant improvements the industry has made to recovery solutions its much easier then ever to protect your data from a disaster. I hope this paper will point you in the right direction. Please remember that there are a lot of areas I cannot cover here so if you have any questions about this paper contact me, I love helping people live more productive lives.

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