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Archive for the ‘Backup’ Category

Lifesaver: How backups saved me hours of reworking around stuff

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I recently babbled why CrashPlan is the best backup service I ever used. Turns out, it’s much, much better than what I thought while writing that post.

Coming to the point, I didn’t have the best of time computing in the last few days – I lost a few important files and I lost a few important software while messing around. Yesterday while uninstalling Aurora, a recently launched half nightly-half beta build of future Firefox versions by Mozilla, I accidentally deleted all the program data related to it. And then I realized- all the data related to Aurora was the same data related to Firefox. And deleting user files of Aurora meant my Firefox became like a freshly installed copy of any other Firefox. Meaning to say – all my bookmarks, my extensions, plugins – the entire user profile was gone somewhere in the mist! Unrecoverable, of course.

At first I thought it was stupid of Mozilla to link up the data of both programs. Then I thought it was stupid of me to not realize while uninstalling Aurora that Aurora is well – just another version of Firefox. And Mozilla is no where near to be blamed, are they?

The bookmarks was what I was worried about. And in my hunt to get them back, I realized I’ve a backup running all the time! I started CrashPlan, selected “Restore” and there I was, stunned. To my surprise, CrashPlan lets you even restore just a single file from your entire backup making it easy to get things done. When I used backup software back around 3-4 years, this wasn’t possible. One had to go through the process of restoring everything, which was useless. There are other programs that do so, but with its already awesome features, this just makes CrashPlan more good. CrashPlan also stores deleted files (for a period of time that you’ve to specify, of course) in your backup, just in case.

I found my bookmark backup file and all it took was a minute to restore my beloved Bookmarks. I also restored my user profile – but some extensions didn’t work fluently. For that, I reinstalled the broken ones.

Following yesterday’s nightmare, today I went in a much bigger trouble. I lost a photoshop document – well I made some changes to the document and I was supposed to save it as a copy. Instead I overwrited the changes to the original file. And boom, all hours of work – gone, just like that. To overcome that – yes, you guessed it right. I connected my backup drive, opened CrashPlan and restored the original version of it.

Saved me hours of photoshopping and made me some time to do this blog post. What I’m trying to say here is – have a nice, good backup system if you are a regular computer user – then be it CrashPlan or Acronis or whatever.

Backups are cool, period!

Written by rahulbhagchandani

April 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Posted in Backup

CrashPlan is the ultimate backup client I longed for

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Dropbox is something everyone loves and it’s cool for your very important docs. What about your other data? The music, The TV Shows, The Movies, The Pictures, The etc etc.?

I’ve been looking for a perfect backup solution since I became a computer user i.e. roughly since last six years. I tried Norton Ghost, I tried Comodo. I tried Genie and I tried Mozy. I even tried Windows Backup and also, LiveOne Care. Acronis Image wet me the most given it’s powerful functionality but still, it wasn’t perfect.A screen grab of CrashPlan

Then I came across CrashPlan last month. A few days back I decided to use it. And damn, it’s perfect! Leave it’s awesome online system (which is a paid service), it’s free service lets you back up your data to a folder ( or a external drive or whatever) and also to a friend’s computer (whose machine has CrashPlan). With CrashPlan you can also backup your stuff between multiple computers (Mac to PC, Desktop to Laptop, Office to Home – it works with all). But wait, that’s not why I’m loving it. I love it because of the simplicity it offers.

All I wanted from my back up client was –

a) It can backup/restore my stuff to an external hard drive.
b) In case I’ve to rush out during an ongoing backup process, I want the software to automatically pause the backup as soon as disconnect my hard drive without making all the progress a waste – Acronis did that to me too many times.
c) Backup has to be real time and it has to run all the time without me given any instructions. Acronis had to be told when to start, what to do and every other stuff. CrashPlan does it automatically without bothering me much.

CrashPlan does everything without interrupting the user. It runs quietly in the tray backing up your stuff, it’s neat and well as I said, it’s perfect!

**CrashPlan for Windows/Mac/Linux/Solaris – official website.

Written by rahulbhagchandani

April 16, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Posted in Backup

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Create a RESCUE folder to save yourself from OS reinstallation nightmares

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Backing up your data is one of the most important task a computer user has to face these days and even though with the advent of popular online services like Dropbox, there’s always an err here or there which when you’re machine goes down, makes your job of making your machine work again a difficult one. You may ask, so what am I talking about here – different backup software?

No. I’m talking about creating a folder (or an external drive partition) covering all the basics required just to get your system back in shape. To me, although backing up my data was never a big deal, re-installing an operating system was –  more so if I lost a disk or two. And in today’s age, it’s very difficult to manage flash drives let alone optical disks.

So today while configuring a new 1TB hard drive (which I bought to ensure I didn’t have to delete my massive volume collection of TV shows and movies and also to get an efficient back up system in place) I decided to make a simple folder (although a partition is recommended)  with all the important stuff one might need while re-installing the operating system. (Now I hope such situation of reinstalling everything doesn’t occur to anyone. No one! But mind me, people don’t learn. Just last weekend I helped two friends to reinstall their systems. I’m scheduled for one more for the next weekend.)

What did I include in this folder, you may ask. Simple… Here’s a quick list first.

  1. An installation of Flash Boot.
  2. An .iso of Lucid Puppy 5.2
  3. An .iso image of the OS’s DVD (Windows 7 Premium in my case, which came in bundled with my machine)
  4. A text file of OS’s license key (Because the Microsoft sticker is quickly losing the shape)
  5. An installation of Daemon Tools Lite (any image emulation software)
  6. An .iso image of system’s Drivers and Utilities disk (that Drivers disk which manufacturers bundle with your system)

So how would all this stuff help, you make ask. Here’s how. Flash boot is a software that let’s you make USB drives bootable. If my machine goes boom and if the other machine which I’m working on meanwhile has no internet connection, has no DVD drive, I could simply make a partition in my external hard drive and burn any .iso file to it and get things done faster. Yes, having no internet connection is lame these days, but who knows? Be prepared for the worst, they say.

Why Lucid Puppy? Lucid Puppy(formerly known as Puppy Linux) is the lightest Linux version I’ve ever come across and I’ve rescued very very important docs using it and not just once, on numerous occasions. Just burn this .iso on a DVD or USB and you’re running an OS just from that removable media – Just like a Live CD. You can use other Live CDs like Ubuntu, but compared to other Live OS like Ubuntu and Fedora, Puppy is much faster, lighter and simpler. What it can do? Well primarily used in my cases to recover data before on a bad OS machine before formatting a hard drive. And it does that like a charm.

After taking the data back you can simply boot with your primary OS’s disk (if you have it safe) or again burn it on a disk or USB now that you have an iso saved on your hard drive, and reinstall the machine. Or repair it. Suit yourself. And after re-installation, you can use a simple disk emulation software like Daemon and get your drivers back in shape with the iso.

Why this can help? Because as I said, optical drives are easy to lose. And especially the OS disks which tend to be a lot sensitive – a few scratches and they’re gone. The other software included is pretty much for worst case scenarios but it’s still good if you create one. It takes just 7GB of space, which isn’t bad for what it’s worth.

What if I don’t have an external hard drive? Then invest in one. And use a back up software like Acronis TrueImage for Windows, or Time Machine for Mac. If you are a regular computer user, you must invest in an external drive. Besides, they’re very cheap these days.

Other ways to Backup: Use services like Dropbox to keep your important to very important data backed up online.

Written by rahulbhagchandani

March 26, 2011 at 1:05 am

Posted in Backup

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