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Featured Tips From NewAsha

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... True Story continued

Remember my Swiss anarchist artist friend? The one who makes a backup copy of his amazing artwork to a "separate drive?" Turns out it's actually a partition .... a trick I've used to divide a hard drive for organizing my files. A partition makes it look like separate hard drives when you browse your computer, like C:/ and D:/, but it's the same physical drive. If that hard drive crashes, everything will be gone, lost forever.

Backup your creative work to a physically separate drive or disk. External drives are so inexpensive now. Get one and backup today!

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True Confessions

The night was dark and rainy ....no..., it was a dark, moist night, ... Okay, forget the drama. One day some years ago chills ran up my spine as my computer blipped, coughed, and otherwise groaned. I had videotaped a two-day conference, two cameras - wide and close angles - was putting the finishing touches after weeks of work on a DVD set that was soon to be published. Over 400GB of data gone in a flash. I couldn't breathe. Then I used a basic IT trick to check and repair the hard drive. All my files reappeared; the sun was shining again, my heartbeat slowed to normal. I got lucky!

I had been too busy to follow my own advice. I immediately did a backup, vowing never to forget to regularly backup my files.

Still not convinced? Maybe it will take your own nightmare. Most will not be as lucky as I was. Technology is not perfect and IT people can only do so much. I sleep much better knowing I have a safe backup.

Daniel

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Are You Using Protection?

Don't wake up one morning to a big surprise because you didn't! Okay, you're a creative genius. You've worked long hours and have loads of precious files you use frequently or can't live without. Computer stuff can be a hassle.

Here are free tools that will go a long way to protect your creative work and computer.* Before you start, read Install Recommendations. Live in Peace.

1. Backup Your DataSyncback

SyncBack by 2BrigthSparks is a good FREE tool for backing up your files.

  • Backup folders, like "My Documents", to a separate drive.
  • Schedule automatic regular backups (daily, weekly, etc.).
  • Backup to a separate hard drive or external drive.
  • Currently does not try to add third-party browsers during install.
  • See Advanced Setup Recommendations

How can you tell if it is a physically different drive?

Laptops users, it's highly unlikely that you have 2 internal hard drives as most come with just 1, although you can configure when you buy.

To check, click Start and type in to search for and open Computer Management. Click on Disk Management.

Below is an example of a partitioned disk, one physical drive.

Disk ManagementEach separate physical drive will appear on its own row, such as the DVD drive.

2. Use Anti-Virus Software!

Avast Free Antivirus software keeps your system protected.Avast

  • Updates virus database throughout the day.
  • Works with Outlook to scan incoming e-mail.
  • Automatically scans Internet downloads (tested with Firefox Browser).
  • Schedule automatic regular virus scans (daily, weekly, etc.), quick and full system scan.
  • UncheckNOTE: During setup and updates don't let Avast install and make Google Chrome your default browser. Click to see screen shot.

3. Disk Cleanup ToolCrapCleaner

CrapCleaner by Piriform, also FREE, removes junk, temp files and empties the recycle bin quickly and easily (better than Windows Cleanup tool).

  • Analyzes and displays which trash files will be deleted.
  • Advanced features for advanced PC users, like Registry cleanup - use this feature with caution. If you don't know how to restore a registry, you may cause big problems so ignore it.
  • UncheckChromeNOTE: During setup and updates don't let CrapCleaner install and make Google Chrome your default browser. Click to see screen shot.

4. Use a Firewall

A firewall prevents unscrupulous websites and hackers from getting into your computer, and your apps from sending info. Surprisingly, most applications frequently access the Internet. Sometimes access is necessary to use Help features, download templates, check for updates. See "How a Firewall Works".

There are many free firewall tools available, such as PC Tools Firewall Plus and ZoneAlarm**, as well as your computer's built-in firewall. Some, like PC Tools, give you complete permission management, for which frequent alerts can be annoying during the first few days, or you can trust their recommendations and let them run the show.

NOTE: During setup and updates don't let them install toolbars, browsers or change your default search and home page.

No recommendations here. I suggest searching and finding one that works for you. While a couple I mentioned have worked fine for me for years without problems, other people report issues. And follow Install Recommendations.

Install Recommendations: For PC users, you should create a system restore point before adding new applications. See Information on How to work with Restore Points. Then, install one tool at a time, use it for a week to make sure it hasn't affected how your other applications work or how you access the Internet. If you have problems, uninstall, try an alternative.

*These tips and tools are offered as suggestions. While there are other free options available, I have personally used each successfully and relied on them for years to protect my computer and data. If you decide to use any, you should carefully read all installation instructions and user guides. NewAsha does not offer technical support for any tools mentioned here. Mention here should not be considered as an endorsement of any application and NewAsha takes no responsibility for loss of data by use, inappropriate or otherwise.

**PCTools Firewall Plus on my Windows 7 machine interfered with Bluetooth headset functions. I have used it on a Windows XP computer. I use an older version of Zone Alarm on my Windows 7 machine because the newer version does not allow micro-management of permissions, which I prefer.