Most Effective Computer Backup Tools

Despite my best efforts, last week I lost my primary and secondary computer systems. After losing my main desktop a few years ago, I swore I’d never let myself get caught without a running PC. As they say, “the road to h * ll is paved with good intentions,” and I was once again caught with my proverbial pants down without an operating computer when my desktop, which had shown some signs of trouble in the last month, died suddenly and didn’t will light up.

I then went to my laptop, which I admit was lazy to keep updating, and turned it on. Immediately the Windows update process started, and asked me to install Service Pack 3 for Windows XP. After successfully doing it on my desktop, I wasn’t too worried about the installation problems on the laptop. However, after completing the installation, a blue screen of death appears, which is NEVER a good sign with a Windows based system.

After trying for about an hour without success to restart my laptop (which was only 8 months old and still under warranty), I knew I was in trouble and started looking for alternatives. Luckily, my husband keeps a laptop on hand that he uses to play games when we travel, and he generously offered to let me install my programs and files on it until I could fix one of my computers.

After finally admitting that there was no way I could have predicted this situation, I decided that I needed to sex it up, get over, and move on. So, I made do with a partially customized laptop which would do until one or my other PC was returned.

Despite having been through similar situations before, I still learned some new things along the way about data recovery and computer backup. Here are the 10 most effective tools that saved my flesh during the recent crash of my computer.

1. Automatic backup software.

I have used 2 online backups, Carbonite and Syncplicity. I had to recover from Carbonite before, and I found the process lengthy and a little confusing. So, a few months ago I started using Syncplicity because it offers online access to all backed up files as well as the ability to sync an unlimited number of computers. However, it took a week to recover 20 GB of data with Sync, and some of the data wasn’t really recovered, despite what Syncplicity told me on my account. However, I can easily download this missing info to my computer from the online vault. One of the processes that makes this backup system easier is that I store all my data files in My Documents so I don’t have to hunt them down in Program Files, or anywhere else they are usually stored.

2. Send an email to the client software.

 

I still use dinosaur Eudora for my email clients. Old habits are hard to code, I guess. However, I somehow missed marking some of the main eudora folders to back up, and so I initially used my webmail access provided by my hosting company to access email due to this oversight with Eudora. I got bored quickly, because I had no way to create additional folders in the system, so I then decided to manually configure Eudora and open folders and e-mails when I needed them in the program. This experience has made me very tempted to change all my incoming and outgoing mail servers in all domains to Gmail just to have access to everything online, come a storm, a flood, a tornado, or a computer crash.

3. Bookmark service.

I’m an avid researcher and resource collector, so having access to my bookmarks, or favorite files, is essential for my day-to-day operations. I’ve been using Spurl, but due to frequent periodic outages from their service I’ve changed to Foxmarks. I love that the service offers me the ability to access all of this online, as well as having it at my fingertips whenever I need it from my Bookmarks menu and easily syncing it to any computer.

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