Thursday, April 14, 2011

Safeguard your data – easy steps you can take to prevent data loss

Safeguard your data – easy steps you can take to prevent data loss

Author: John Best

Fact – computer components fail, they always have and most likely always will. The sad truth is if you are storing your family photos, videos, songs and work documents on a computer's hard drive I can tell you with complete certainty that one day that hard drive will fail. It is going to happen and oftentimes it comes with no warning. Hopefully, with a few preventive measures you can avoid the loss of data and not have to resort to hard drive recovery.
Hard Drive Failure
What causes a hard drive to fail? Well to start with almost all hard drives are mechanical. Mechanical devices cause friction. Friction causes wear. All mechanical devices will eventually wear out and no longer function. Aside from the fact that a hard drive will fail eventually no matter what, the other culprits are shock, electricity and heat. If a computer or external drive gets dropped or bumped while the hard drive is spinning the drive can become damaged. Also a power surge or too much power from the outlet can cause the drives electrical components to fry. Lastly, and probably the biggest culprit is heat. A hard drive running too hot will cause the drive to fail much faster than a drive operating in the ideal temperature range. What is the easiest way to prevent a hard drive from heating up? Airflow – make sure your computer case has adequate airflow via case fans and is not blocked or enclosed in a small area. Without proper airflow all that heat stagnates around the hard drive getting hotter and hotter.
Preventing Data Loss
So now you know your hard drive is going to fail, right? Good. Now what are some steps to take to prevent losing all of your data when your drive does fail?
  1. Always, always keep your data in at least two places. If you're paranoid, then keep it in three places.
  2. Keep a copy in a separate location to prevent data loss from natural disasters, fires, etc…
Backup Your Data
Here are some ideas you can use to store a backup of your data on:
  1. An external hard drive – these are getting cheaper every day. A 500 GB external drive can be purchased for less than $50.00.
  2. USB flash drive – smaller capacity than an external hard drive but are cheaper, more portable and less likely to fail.
  3. Second computer – if your household has more than one computer you can setup file sharing and have each computer back up to another.
  4. Online – backing up your data online gives you a second copy as well as being in a separate location. There are backup services like Mozy and Carbonite, not to mention there are social network sites you can upload your photos and videos to as well.
Automatic backups can be setup nightly rather easily with either a 3rd party application or with the backup utility that comes built in with Windows. I highly recommend that even with an automated "set it and forget it" approach that you check often to verify it is running as well as every once in a while doing a "practice" restore.

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About the Author

John Best is the Information Technology Director at DTI Data Recovery,

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Friday, April 8, 2011

Free Antivirus Software

Antivirus Software helps to keep a personal computer protected from unwanted viruses, trojans, worms, spyware, adware, dialers, and other forms of computer infections. Antivirus protection comes either by freeware or by a yearly service subscription fee.

Antivirus programs can use a significant amount of system resources and can cause your computer to run slow. I have had several computers come to the lab that run more than one real time antivirus program. This can cause many issues to arise if you run more than one program, some of these are low memory warnings to appear or causes the computer to freeze or can cause the worse thing to happen is crash. We highly recommend finding an antivirus program that you like and stick to it and do not download or load more than one antivirus program.

Here is list of free antivirus programs that come highly recommended by our friends at Gizmo.

Free Android Apps

Do you own a Android Phone and looking for some free cool applications for your phone. Here is a list of apps that are listed as freeware “Free Androids Apps”.

Thanks to Gizmo for this list.

Android apps (short for applications) are mobile software designed for running on the Android operating system, which is one of the most popular platforms used in cellphones, tablets and other mobile devices.

Since Android was introduced, more than 200,000 Android apps have been developed and available for download….

With this extensive list you should be able to find what you are looking for.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How Too Install an IDE Hard Drive as a Slave Drive.

How to install an IDE hard drive as a slave drive.

First a slave drive is an extra hard drive that can be added to your existing computer in order to give you an optional area to store files. Your computer already has one hard drive called the master drive. This will add another hard drive which will be called a slave drive. So inside your computer tower there will be two hard drives now. This slave drive will not hold the operating system but it is a great place to hold your computer documents, pictures, music and game files. Also this is a great option for you to store you backup files of your operating system.

Only two tools you need to do this operation. The first is a screwdriver and the second is a anti-static wristband.


1. Shut down your computer and unplug all the cables on the back of the computer tower.
2. Remove the cover of the computer tower; some towers have screws holding on the cover while others have latches. All depends on the manufacturer.
3. Take the drive that you are going to use as a slave drive and switch out the jumpers on the back side of the hard drive by the connectors to make it a slave drive. Look carefully at the jumper settings chart on the hard drive to make sure you get the jumper settings correct. If the jumper settings are not correct then the computer will not boot correctly or the slave drive will not be recognized.
4. Find the ribbon cable going to the original hard drive. There should be an additional blank connector on the ribbon cable for an extra hard drive.
5. Mount the slave drive into an empty open bay.
6. After the slave drive is mounted install the ribbon cable using the extra connector on the ribbon cable and locate an unused power connector coming from the power supply. There should be a few extra power connectors. Make sure that you are able to slide the connector into the slave drive without much force. The top of the connector corners are rounded and the bottom corners are squared, so there should be only one way that the connector goes onto the IDE slave drive.
7. Put the cover back on the computer tower, install all the cables that you uninstalled on the back of the computer.
8. Turn the computer on and with some models you may have to change the bios settings to recognize the slave drive, but with most computers it should be recognized without and changes to the bios settings.
9. Double click on My Computer and take a look at the hard drive location. Both the master and slave drive should be recognized. It would be a good idea at this time to right click on the slave drive and format the drive to make sure it is totally clean to use to store files.

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