Backup Backup Backup - Tech Rick's Experience


Since the change in weather, we have seen an increase in the failure of hard drives in computers. Some systems are newer, and others had been working for years. It’s hard to say what caused the failures. We ask if there’s a backup of your information so we can restore it when replacing the failed hard drive.


An ounce of prevention prevents a pound of grief! Hard drives are like little phonographs with mini records or discs being read/written to with arms, like a phonograph needle, that glide across the surface of the record without touching the discs.

Hard drives can suffer from several types of failures....


• Sometimes the discs warp or get contaminated with debris causing information not to be read properly

• Other times the arms become misaligned and touch the discs destroying the information

• Sometimes the circuit boards (they are minicomputers controlling how the drive operates)

on the hard drive get an unexpected electrical charge causing the circuit boards to fail.

In today’s world, backing up can be done for whatever platform we are on, Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, Apple. We can backup locally to a USB drive or external hard drive or use an online backup service. Besides being able to restore your information after a crash, it can help when migrating to a new device or after being attacked by malicious software called ransomware, which locks you out of your information without paying a ransom for the code to unlock the information.


My Experience....

When I worked in the corporate world, we were instructed to make sure we had good backups to fall back upon if our data was lost. For us, it was making sure that whatever work we are doing was flagged for the automated systems for backup. And sometimes making a duplicate copy on another device, such as our personal computers or another storage medium like a tape backup (yes, I go back that far!) When I was in school, we learned to make paper-tape backups of our programs after changes were made. – We never knew when the garbage compactor in the cafeteria was going to cause the computers to crash!


There are pluses and minuses to each type of backup:

Local Backup:

• USB Drives – easiest to setup and use. We just need to understand what we want to backup and make sure we have a device large enough to hold our information.

◦ When the USB drive is not being used, it should be removed from the device. This will prevent any ransomware from locking the backup files.

• External hard drives – most external hard drives now include backup software that can be installed/activated when the device is connected. The backup software is configured once and backups when desired.


Again, When the external hard drive is not being used, it should be removed from the device. This will prevent any ransomware from locking the backup files.

Online services: Online services come in different variations/flavors, Online drives and online backups. Common concerns shared between Online Services:

• These services use a unique User-Id/Password to protect our information. So, this password should be extra strong and not shared freely

• And we must trust that the respective service will take the appropriate security measures to protect our data. Most data breaches of online drive data are not the fault of the providers, but the passwords used to protect the data.

• Online services have differing pricing and usually charge a subscription for up to a maximum size of information stored.

• Online services are only as fast as the Internet access and may take a longer time to access over slow or congested connections.

• Online Drives like Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, Amazon Web Services, Apple

• These online drives usually have apps or programs that we install on our devices to give transparent access to the information as if the information resides on the device. Online drives are only as fast as the Internet access and take time to access over slow or congested connections.

• Online drives allow the sharing of information on various platforms so you can access pictures/videos not only on tablets/phones, but on desktops!

• There are explicit online backup services such as Carbonite and Norton:

• Carbonite is usually configured to proactively backup files as they are saved. We can configure the service to keep a predefined number of versions of files. This way we can recover files that may have been lost or damaged or locked by ransomware.

• Carbonite can be paused when ransomware is detected to prevent the locked files from being backed up.

• Norton includes Norton backup as part of Norton Internet Security, it can be configured to schedule backups to be at certain times. The backup can be done to a USB Drive/ External Hard Drive or the Norton backup cloud.


At Rescue Computer Service, we can help you identify which type of backup service better suits your needs. Contact us to make an appointment today, 732.349.0500




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