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Windows Vista Repair | Vista and XP repair guides - Part 39

Windows Vista Blog

Windows Vista Repair and Resource site

Keeping Important Files Safe – How to Backup your Computer

The majority of us know that we should be backing up our data.If you’ve been lucky enough to never have a computer crash on you then realize that you’re a lucky fella and there’s never been a better time then right now to start backing up your important data.

There’s a few tips and items you should familiarize yourself with before you select a backup method to use.Ensuring you keep the process simple and having an idea of how much data you want backed up are just a couple of the things you need to remember when selecting your backup software or service.

What Data and Files Need to be Backed Up

OK, so first things first don’t go out and just buy the first backup program you see. Before you do that you should determine how many files, what folders and data it is you want to backup.Some of the software programs for backup are designed to specifically create a whole system backup, however this is probably more then the average PC user really needs.

The majority of home PC users need their photos, videos, and Documents backed up but can skip all the system stuff. This is just a bit to technical to get into for the average computer user.

Keep It Simple Silly

More features in a piece of backup software or online service doesn’t automatically make that service or program better.Trust me when I tell you to avoid buying a service or program that is very feature rich. Get the features you need but to many features slows down the backup process, this will in turn make it difficult for you to stick to a regular backup routine.

Instead of technical look for an easy to use program or service that can be setup to backup certain files and folders and will automatically do it on it’s own at particular intervals.Two good services to consider are Mozy Backup and Carbonite online Backup.

Do your Homework

Before you swipe the credit card or decide on how you’re going to backup your data take a bit of time look for online backup reviews. This just confirms that the software or service you’ve chosen is every bit as good as it claims to be.

Spending just a few minutes before you buy a program or service will ensure that you will easily be able to restore files and also that files are backed up properly.

How To Undelete Deleted Files

Your first reaction if you’ve just accidentally deleted a file on your computer is probably to go to the recycle bin. If you deleted the file from the “right” place, there’s a good chance that your file will be sitting there and you can just right click your mouse and select “Restore”.

But what can you do if the file doesn’t show up in your recycle bin? Is the file lost permanently? Murphy’s Law says that files deleted by accident are usually ones that you haven’t got a backup of. Grrrr!

You’ll be relieved to hear that most of the time, it’s possible to retrieve a file from oblivion. Even if your recycle bin thinks otherwise. This is because the Windows filing system doesn’t delete the file but rather it flags the space occupied as something it can use again when it needs to.

The bad news is that this won’t last forever and the more “stuff” you do on your PC, the bigger the risk that Windows will overwrite some or all of the lost file, making recovery difficult or even impossible.

So you need to stop what you’re doing on your computer. That means stop everything. Including web browsing, scanning your iTunes library, whatever. The more things you do, the higher the chance that Windows will think it can re-use the space you’ve created by deleting the file.

If you can use a different PC, use it to download a program like this one to undelete files. If you haven’t got the use of a second PC then it’s possible that you’ll be OK using your only computer (the chance increases if there is a large amount of disk space left unused) but only do this as a last resort.

Once you’ve downloaded a file undelete software program, it’s just a matter of pressing “next” most of the time and there’s a very high chance your file will be recovered for you.

Get your file undelete software here now. There’s even a free trial, you can be 100% sure it will work for you.

Small Business Backup Software

As a computer repair expert and network admin I know how important it is to have a  small business backup plan in place.  My company servce many small businesses and in almost every case none of them had a backup solution in place.  Once we explain to them how cheap it really can be to get something going, we have never had a small business say no to setting one up for them.

We will cover a few simple steps in this guide to solve your backup problem.

This is a guide for Smal Businesses only that do not run on a domain.  If you have a domain server then you should consider buing the Symantec Backup Exec software.  This is built for servers and the computer conected to them.

If you are like most small businesses then we have a far simpler and cheaper way to proceed.  The total cost will varyy but you can get set up for under 300 bucks.

Small Business Backup Software for one computer

If you only use one main computer to house our files then your best solution is to use Acronis backup software with an external USB hard drive.  Acronis is one of the few programs that actually does not only a data backup but a full image back up your computer.  You can schedule it to be done once a week or every night.  It is importnat to backup not only your business files but the ENTIRE DRIVE.  This way if the hard drive fails you can simply have a new hard drive installed and then use the latest image backup to restore the computer.  Using an image is great because all your software, printers, files and custom settings will be the exact same.  You don’t have to re-install a thing or re-setup anything.  As far as you are concerned you will not even know a difference except the past knowledge of how smart you were to make the purchase of Acronis.  Perhaps the best part of this is the cost.  True Image Home 2009 is only 49 dollars.  The cost of a USB backup drive will vary depending on size bu for 120 gigs it should be under a 100 dollars and a 500 gig drive you can find for as little as 179.   Check out www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage for more information on Acronis.  Besides being easy to use they offer great customer support. The full image of your computer is why we use this software.  Another thing that is great is you can password protect your data backup image.  That means if someone steals the thing it is useless to them.  They will not be able to see your backup data. If we get enough requests we can post a video on how to install and set this up the right way.  Just leave a comment below so we know you are interested in a video.

Business Backup Software for more then one computer but no Server

We know many smaller businesses have more then one computer.  If this is you the right solution will depend on prefferences.  You can allways follow the above guie and have the same setup on all computers.  However there are other options to consider.

For many small businesses we usually setup a workgroup.  Read support.microsoft.com/kb/813936 for more information on what a workgroup is and how to set one up.  In a nut shell you just make it so all computers are on the same network and they can talk to each other.  Once setup you can have all your workers pull files from just one computer.  This way all the important data will only be stored on one system and you can setup Acronis with a USB external drive and call it a day.  This works great for many companies because the cost is much lower then having a server and just makes sense as a small business data backup solution.

Sweet Little Tip For You

One thing to consider is purchasing 2 external USB drives that are the exact same.  The reason for this is so you can swap them out each week and take the one that has all your data on it home on Friday.  The purpose behinf this is to be able to have a backup of your data offsite in case of theft, fire or water damage.  This can save your business so I urge you to consider this option.  After all it’s onl a few more bucks.

Like we already stated we are willing to make video on how to set up Acronis unless we get comments asking for one.  This software is very easy to use and holds your hand the whole way through so a video may not be needed.

History of Bluetooth

Bluetooth history

Bluetooth takes its name from a character in history called Harald Bluetooth. He was born in 910AD and the Bluetooth concept takes his name because in 940AD he had the ability to Unite two warring countries, Denmark and Norway. It was because of the uniting of two countries by Harald Bluetooth that the founders of Bluetooth technology took his name for the principle of uniting two components to work together remotely. Mobile phones, computers, printers, headsets etc can be connected wirelessly using Bluetooth technology.

The first to try and discover a way to provide low cost, low power interfaces was a company called Ericsson Mobile Communications. Starting in 1994 the probed ways of linking computers and mobile phones wirelessly. A group of like minded companies joined forces in 1998 to form and association called the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) in Lund Switzerland. Coming from different backgrounds the group included market leaders in laptop manufacturing, the cell phone industry and digital signal processing. Included in this group where Motorola, Nokia, Intel, Toshiba, Agere, Ericsson, IBM, and Microsoft. Today research and development into the Bluetooth technology is led by these companies.

Bluetooth specifications where developed by Jaap Haartsen and Sven Mattisson two employees of Ericsson Mobile Platforms. Enabling various components from different industries to Connect Bluetooth technology was developed in Scandanavia. This wireless technology is based on a frequency hopping spread spectrum providing a secure radio signal that combines and simplifies multiple forms of communication.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group made a firm commitment to have Bluetooth technology installed in various devices and by 2002 Bluetooth technology was installed in PC’s, notebooks, desktop computers and over 100 million mobile phones had the technology as well as millions of other communications devices.

What exactly is Bluetooth?

Bluetooth is a wireless communications network which operates on a short-range radio frequency. When connected to various devices such as mobile phones and computers it provides a way of exchanging information as well and the Bluetooth technology can be used on any other apparatus that is provided with it’s built in features. Due to its very low power it is medically safe to use, the information it carries using short wave radio and narrow bandwidth know as ISM is scientifically sound and very secure.

To be able to connect to one another devices need to have Bluetooth profiles and need to be compatible with each other. Once the profiles are enabled you should be able to use such things as hands free headsets with mobile phones, and wireless networking and communications which use printers, keyboards and a mouse.

Bluetooth Versions

Bluetooth has seen many improved qualities with many changes since version 1.0 in 1998 which had many teething problems, like most technology. The main problem being a lack of devices being able to communicate.

Version 1.1 was able to communicate properly and the great improvements made it truly operable.

Version 1.2 saw vast improvements with many new features and greater benefits, with improved voice quality, backward compatible and a generally better product.

Version2.0 improved even more with features and quality and now version 3.0 has a Bluetooth master able to communicate with several devices, and at any given time, the slave can become the master. The master has the ability to switch between devices very fast.

Other similar technology Such as Wi-Fi is on the market but use different technology although Wi-Fi has a greater operating range. The difference is Bluetooth technology is a lot cheaper as the Wi-Fi hardware is much more expensive. The Bluetooth setup of its services between many devices is simpler, can be automated and security is easier. Local are networks is more for Wi-Fi which is complicated to set up and needs to have all devices configured. Wi-Fi is better suited for operating larger networks while Bluetooth has more power and better connections. 

Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or higher is required to operate Bluetooth on a computer. If you run an Apple computer it has been supported by Bluetooth technology since 2002. Nearly all computers now have Bluetooth installed but if not then if your computer has Windows XP with Service pack 2 then a device called a dongle can be purchased. The dongle device allows various devices to communicate with your computer.

The future of Bluetooth is bright and it has become the world wide wireless standard system. In the future High quality audio and video data will have a much higher quality as Bluetooth improves and the alternative for transporting Bluetooth profile data is MAC PHY. Automatic configuration will be carried out by using Topology Management, and broadcast channelling, which will enable Bluetooth in other devises. The chain reaction is already in progress and as more components use Bluetooth technology, manufacturers of electronics will jump on the band wagon and become increasingly eager to make their products compatible. Here for the long term Bluetooth Technology will remain a world leader.

Finding Careers In Computer Animation.

Nowadays, there are more ways to find careers in computer animation than ever before. Back before the age of cheap and powerful computers, animation careers were hard to come by. The equipment  needed was extremely expensive, the technical expertise requirements were very demanding, and the job was time-consuming. For these reasons, becoming a professional animator was difficult. There were few jobs, and it was a difficult field to break into. It was such a time consuming occupation, after all, that it was almost impossible for private individuals to make their own animations in their spare time.

Computer generated animation changed all that. Nowadays, careers in computer animation are readily available to anyone who wants to take the time to study. There are many different ways to go about it. The most accepted way to try to get a career in computer animation is still to go to a respected animation school. There are plenty of art schools out there with excellent animation programs. Some of them focus more on computer animated cartoons, while others have a bigger emphasis on traditional styles. Either type of program will get you where you need to go.

Of course, many careers in computer animation start off with experimentation at home. Anyone can learn to program flash animations, and some of the effects people get are pretty good. Animating your own cartoons is a great way to build up a portfolio and get your work seen. Once you get a following, you can use that to get hired by a computer animation studio. Alternately, you can keep working for yourself. Many careers in computer animation, after all, take place completely on the Internet.

Still, it can’t hurt to have a career plan ñ particularly if you don’t already have a way to make a living. This is why going to an animation school is the most widely practiced way of getting a career in computer animation. There are so many people who have the skills that animation industry companies can afford to rule out anyone who doesn’t have the credentials without even giving them a second chance. If you can’t get your foot in the door, you will never become eligible for any of the best careers in computer animation. Going to animation school will give you a broad-based educational program which will teach you a lot more than you could easily learn on your own. All in all, going to a school for animation makes a lot of sense.

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XP to Vista Data Transfer Methods

You have just un-boxed your new Vista computer and can’t wait to take advantage of all Vista has to offer and the latest and greats hardware.  Before you can recycle your old PC or beat it with a base ball bat you need to transfer the files from your old beast to the new Vista computer.

Most people are not aware of how to do this.  Here are a few simple methods to consider.  Each method has it’s merits but only you can choose which one is best based on your skill level and comfort working with computers.  We will over a few methods.  From the easiest to the hardest.

XP to Vista Data transfere Methods

Hire out a Pro

1.  Your first choice will cost the most but is by far the easiest.  Paying someone else to do this for you.  I would consider staying away from a big box store like Best Buy or Circuit City.  I am not saying you won’t get a good person who knows what they are doing but if something goes wrong or not all the data is transfered over it can be hard to track down the person who did the transfer.  Going  with a small local company often times saves money and you can actually speak with the person doing the data transfer.  Not to mention you are supporitng your local economy. The cheapest way of hiring a pro to do this for you is having and online computer repair company do this for you.  We like to send people over to www.onlinecomputerrepair.org.  This is a California based computer repair company that can solve just about any issue online.  Not only can these guys transfer your data for you but they can even help out setting up your wireless netowork, do a tune-up on your old computer if you want to keep using it and so much more.  We give these guys a 5 out of 5 when it comes to customer service and price.


Purchase Data Transfer Software

2.  The next method is to purchase software to make the transition easier.  While Vista and XP does have a built in Transfer Wizard it is not the easiest to use and often times is a bit of a let down.  Purchasing Data transfer software like PCMover is a great alternative.  This software package is very straight forward and it takes just a few clicks to transfer the data over.  We do recommend also purchasing a data transfer cable to make the job that much easier.  Data transfer cables conect two computers together via a newtork cable.  From there you can choose to copy over anything and they take your hand and walk you though the whole thing.  It’s a cheaper method then having someone else do it.  PCMover is also the only program that can transfer programs from one computer to another.  If you have lost a disk fora program and have no way to re-install it then this is a great program to use.  To learn more check them out at www.laplink.com/Pcmover/ .  This software will work with all version of Vista includes 64bit versions.  Keep in mind that not all programs are Vista capable.  You may want to contact the manufacturer of what every softwarae you want to transfer first to ensure that version you own will work with Vista.  If you have the disk already then I recommend not tranfering over the program and just do a clean install.

Manually Copy Over Documents

3.  If your like me and all you want is your documents, favorites, pictures and music the you should consider just coping them over manually.  I like having a clean slate when I get a new computer.  This method is not as hard as one would think.  In fact if you have every copied and pasted before then you are you to the task.  Log into your old computer and hit the windows start button and select MY COMPUTER.  Now browese to your personal files located at C:\Documents and Settings\YOURUSERNAMEHERE\.  There you will see a folder called my documents.  Go ahead and open it.  You will see a list of all your personal files includes MY Music and My Pictures.  Just select them all and burn them to a CD \ DVD or copy them to a USB hard drive.  You may also wnat to copy certain things from your desktop folder and favorties folder located at the same place mentioned above.  One other place you should look is under C:\Documents and Settings\All Users  . This location can sometimes hold music and pictures.  Now that you have copied the data you want browse to the smae location on your new Vista computer.  One at the C:\ you will see it say USERS instead of Documents and Setting.  It’s the folder were your user documents are stored.  Now copy and past the documents you want over and you are good to go.

Easy Transfer Wizard Built into Windows

4.  The last method we will mention can take a little bit of work but if your computer savvy then you should have know problems at all.  You can use the 100% free built in Easy Transfer Software that comes with XP and Vista.  This software does not let you transfer over programs but you can import all your user setting and user acocunts as well as all your documents.  The time it will take to do the transfer will vary depending on what method of data transfer you choose and how much data is being ported over.  with the Easy Transfer Wizard you can choose to do the XP to Vista data transfer over a network, burning it to disks and even an external hard drive.  For some people with several user accounts this can be a good way to go and all you pay for is the sweat equity involved.  While we could list steps on how to do this and use this tool, why should be bother when you can og straight to the horses mouth and read how to use this software.  Check out Microsofts guide over at www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/setup/expert/crawford_november12.mspx.  This guide covers the basics.

If you made it this far in the article then chances are you have a good idea of the method to use.  When I personally do a data transfer for someone out in the field I do normally use PCMover.  This is because it takes me only a few minutes to setup and then I just sit back and sip my coffee untill it’s done.  The method that is right for you will totally depend on your skill level and comfort zone.  There is no exact right or wrong way and the 4 choises above should give you a good understanding on what method to use

DON’T forget to comment bellow.  I love getting feedback from this sites visitors as it helps us understand what your needs are and whether or not we are helping you out.

data transfer | file transfer software