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April 25, 2007, 09:26 AM
Three months ago, my old Dell laptop started giving me trouble. Would get ve-r-r-r-y slow and overheat making it impossible for me to work for more than 20 minutes at a stretch.

At that time, I went for the quick fix and bought a laptop cooling pad. Which worked great for 3 months. But the cooling pad started making all sorts of noises and died yesterday!

I would have been in panic mode right now - switching computers is a big hassle. But I had a few things in place that helped me switch quickly and without pain.

1. I take quick backup of the hard drive every week
2. I take a thorough backup of the hard drive every month

Storage Space

1. External hard drive. I use a 250gb external hard drive from "Fantom Drives" - well - because there was a deal going on and I got it at a very steep discount. The hard drive has never given any problems to me - and I've had it since past one and a half years.

You should go for the external hard drive that has atleast twice as much space as your computer hard drive. So if your computer drive is 80gb, go for an external drive of atleast 160gb space.

External hard drives are quite cheap these days - 250gb drive costs around $70-100.

You can find a good external hard drive at:

2. Online Backup. I also store some of my most important files online - just because external hard drive is placed right next to my laptop - and in case of fire or something, it would be worthless.

I use dreamhost.com to host all my websites. They give me a lot of space. So I use it for online backup too.

But if you don't have a webhost that provides a lot of space, then you could go for a service like www.carbonite.com - they charge $5 per month.

Backup Strategy & Tools

1. Email. I use gmail.com for all my email. So I can access my email from anywhere anytime. If you use Outlook Express or some other software to read your emails, you can find their backup tutorials or softwares on google.

(Or Dien can post a link to the software he owns the rights to for outlook users.)

2. Passwords. I use firefox as my browser. Which saves all my website usernames and passwords.

I also have a firefox extension that makes it a breeze to restore all my browser passwords, bookmarks, cookies etc on another computer.

That extension is the Google Browser Synch:

3. Bookmarks. I use
for bookmarks synchronization too.

4. FireFox Extensions. I use FEBE to backup all my firefox extensions.
They have a scheduler - so that all my extensions are backed up to my external drive once a month.

5. Ebooks. I download all the products I purchase to a specific folder. This folder is backed up to my external hard drive once a week.

6. Softwares. I save all the setup files of all the softwares I've ever used. They are backed up on my external drive.

I also save the registeration codes of the softwares in a separate notepad. This notepad is backed up on the external drive as well as the online servers.

Some softwares are easy to backup - you just use the same registeration codes again. But some softwares require that you call their help desk and go through the motions. Its a pain.

7. Work files. I usually save all my work files on the desktop while working. And at the end of the day, I move them to either their project folder - or to a temp folder.

All the project folders and the temp folder is backed up every week on the external drive. Some project folders are also backed up on the server.

And some folders are also backed up everyday.

I use a free software that automatically moves files from my laptop to the external hard drive. That software is:SyncBack

So there you have it. A backup strategy you can put to use today if you don't already have one.

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