PC PAL Team

PC PAL Team

PC PAL is the UK's award winning Computer, Laptop, Mac & Smartphone support specialists, with experienced, qualified & local Computer Engineers based in your area. We are a name that local people have come to recognise and trust. Please take a moment to read our feedback from our loyal customers, or find your local PC PAL Engineer.
Newsletters 1st February 2017 793

Welcome to the PC PAL Newsletter - January 2017

I would like to thank all those customers who gave such positive feedback about last month’s newsletter on “What's happening in 2017”.

We have always tried to make our newsletters as informative as possible and hopefully this month will be no different, as we dedicate January’s newsletter to ask: “Are you backing up your photos and documents?”

We always say that you are unlucky to lose data because we can normally recover data in most scenarios. However, despite this, data loss does happen all the time for a variety of reasons. A device could be dropped, stolen, develop a fault or get infected with an encryption virus - all of which will sadly leave you with no access to your precious data, so it’s important to ask if you need to keep a backup (which in most cases is definitely 'Yes'!).

One of the harder parts of being a PC PAL engineer is telling a customer that their computer fault is so severe that regrettably they have lost all their family photos or, for that matter, a student has lost all his/her’s course work. Unfortunately, it happens far too often and we know many of our customers don’t keep good back-ups. That's why were are highlighting this issue again this month.

 However, it doesn’t have to be like this, for example the cost of a simple USB hard drive is small and both Microsoft Windows 8/10 and Apple's MacOS make the process of backing up your data 'almost' hassle free. Read on to find out more details & tips...

If you would like to satisfy your need for more tech news, please look no further than our popular blog: www.pcpal.co.uk/blog

 

Are you properly backing up your Photos & Documents?

 

Do I need to keep a Backup? backup

If you use your devices to store photos and documents, then we would strongly recommend you keep a backup and additionally keep it updated at least once a month. Even when backups are kept, you need to make sure that they are actually backing up everything you want.

We see customers every day whose backups are not correctly set up to copy all the their Music, Emails, Contacts, Internet favourites/bookmarks - all of which can be a real pain for a customer to re-create if lost.  Lost emails are a common issue! This is because Windows Mail, Live Mail and older versions of Microsoft Outlook don’t store their email databases into a commonly backed up directory and they get missed when the computer system sets up the backups.

Please get in touch if you have any queries or concerns about your backups, as we will be only too happy to help.

 

Windows 7 – The 'Backup and Restore' facilitywin7

All past versions of Windows have always had some form of backup system built-in.  We recommend customers take advantage of these capabilities. Windows 7 uses the 'Backup and Restore' facility which allows you to setup a scheduled backup, select the appropriate folders you wish to backup and will also notify you if they are any problems with the backup process.

The 'Backup and Restore' facility is limited to utilise USB drives and DVDs only unless you have purchased the premium Windows 7 Ultimate version for which you can backup onto network storage like a NAS drive.

The 'Backup and Restore' facility will also allow you to create full system image backups, which can take a long time to complete but also doesn’t work with the newer '4K' hard drives.  Because of this, we recommend you disable this feature.

Please get in touch with me if you have any queries or concerns about setting up your backup plan, as I will again be only too happy to help.

 

Windows 8 & 10 – File HistoryNumber 3

Windows 8 & 10 use the newer built-in 'File History' facility which offers improvements over Windows 7’s 'Backup and Restore' facility.  

One of the biggest advantages with the 'File History' facility is that it gives you a near real-time backup. In other words, 'File History' facility checks every hour for files that have changed on your computer and if your external drive is correctly connected, it will copy them across.

The clear benefit of this is that there is no need to manually run a backup or make sure your external storage is connected 2 minutes before a backup is scheduled to run. Because it's near real-time, you don’t need your storage device connected all of the time, making it really suitable for Laptops. You can also use network storage as well without purchasing a more advanced version of Windows (great for home & small business users). 

Backed up files are stored in a folder called 'File History' allowing easy access to your files. On the previous versions of Windows, you needed to run a special Restore program in order to get to your backed up files. This made the process of recovering data slow and wasn’t that straightforward to use. This program still exists today on Windows 8/10 but only for the purpose of recovering data from older system backups. 

 Please get in touch with me if you have any queries or concerns about setting up your backup plan, as I will again be only too happy to help.

MacOS – Time Machine Number 4

Apple's 'Time Machine' facility is a really reliable backup system only on Apple Macs. This works in a very similar way to Microsoft's 'File History' facility but backs up the whole system by default (meaning all your data and computer system files together). However, this can be turned off if needed. Time Machines can backup to any USB hard drive and some NAS drives. However, the NAS drive has to be able to support Time Machine software.   

We would recommend all Mac users use Time Machine to keep a good backup, especially on new Macs where the storage can be soldered directly onto the internal circuit boards. The problem here is that we could normally remove the storage drive from a faulty computer in order to perform data recovery techniques on it. In the case where the storage is soldered to the circuit boards, we are very limited in what we can do to recover your data, putting your data at further risk. Specialist data recovery companies often charge hundreds if not thousands of pounds to recover data from these types of computers - so you can see the benefit of using the built in features at little expense.

 Please get in touch with me if you have any queries or concerns about setting up your 'Time Machine' backups, as I will again be only too happy to help.

 

Online 'Cloud Backup' like Dropbox, OneDrive & Amazon Photos Number 5

Online/ Cloud backup systems have been around for a while now and are a very good way of keeping backups. This system has some advantages compared with other backup solutions. The biggest advantage is that your data is kept off-site: this means your data is not kept physically near your computer but is transferred securely across the Internet to a safe facility elsewhere. This will protect you against fire and theft related scenarios where your computer and local backup would possibly have been damaged or stolen (as they are usually kept in the same location).

Also, established Cloud storage solutions like Dropbox and Microsoft's One Drive can synchronise files across devices regardless of where they are. We see small businesses use this to share their data nationwide but it can also be used to share photos from a PC to a Tablet. A lot of these systems will also have an archive facility, designed to allow the user to recover an older version of a file if it was mistakenly overwritten, corrupted or even deleted. Amazon's Prime Photos service is included in its heavy marketed Prime subscription service.

However, Cloud storage solutions do have some drawbacks. Online backups are very dependent on a fast and reliable Internet connection, which is a problem as a lot of Internet connections just aren’t up to the job (particularly in rural areas). Even when customers have a good  Internet connection, it can still take days to perform the initial backup and can also mean your Internet  connection will be slow while the computer is backing up. The other problem is that it can also be slow to recover your data, as it has to download everything from the Cloud.

Because of this we would never recommend customers solely rely on an Online/ Cloud backup, but as part of a overall backup plan.  Please get in touch with me if you have any queries or concerns about setting up your backup plan, as I will again be only too happy to help.

 

Phones & Tablets – Apple iCloud & Google Drive Number 6

Many customers don’t consider about backing up their Phones or Tablets. Why you may ask as you store photos, emails and contacts on them? The Cameras in modern day mobile phones are almost as good as most basic compact cameras, only rivalled by bigger and more expensive SLR cameras. More and more of our special moments are taken on mobile phones and because of their high cost and how we use these devices, it’s arguable that there is a bigger possibility that your device could get lost, misplaced, damaged or even stolen.

For Apple users, you can use iTunes to create manual backups of your device; Samsung users can use Kies but this isn’t the best solution in our opinion. The best solution is to use a Cloud-based backup system so when your phone is on charge and connected to Wi-Fi, it will back up automatically to the Cloud. That way your Smartphone or Tablet are always backed up. 

Apple devices can use iCloud which gives you your first 5GB free and is upgradable to 50GB for just 79p per month. Android users can use Google Drive which gives you 15GB free and is upgradable to 100GB for $1.99. Both of these systems are easy to configure and can give you piece of mind.

These systems can also have other benefits, like optimising your devices small amount of storage. It does this by keeping lower quality versions of your photos on your device and downloading the high-quality version’s from the Cloud as you need them.

Please get in touch with me if you have any queries or concerns about setting up your backup plan, as I will again be only too happy to help.

PC PAL Team

PC PAL is the UK's award winning Computer, Laptop, Mac & Smartphone support specialists, with experienced, qualified & local Computer Engineers based in your area. We are a name that local people have come to recognise and trust.

Please take a moment to read our feedback from our loyal customers, or find your local PC PAL Engineer.

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