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Windows Backup Tips

I recently became a fan of Carbonite for backing things up. Sure, I have an external hard drive attached to my mac, but I wanted more. And since I’m a believer in the 3-2-1 backup system, Carbonite was a perfect fit. But, it is not without it’s faults.

I recently became a fan of Carbonite for backing things up. Sure, I have an external hard drive attached to my mac, but I wanted more. And since I’m a believer in the 3-2-1 backup system, Carbonite was a perfect fit. But, it is not without it’s faults.

First, the 3-2-1 backup, explained.

  • 3 copies of any and all important files (a primary plus 2 backups)
  • Stored on 2 different types of media (hard drive/dvd/internet)
  • 1 copy kept off-site

That means that with an external hard drive and a Carbonite account, you can fullfil all of those requirements easily and, more importantly, automatically. Win win. Bonus is the Carbonite restore process works as you would expect. Perfectly.

When I say perfectly, I mean it. It backs up **everything**, including any files that you might have on your machine that are infected with a virus or malware! As an added bonus, if you restore those files, you will also restore any virus that you had on your machine previously. Neat!

Here is a neat trick for your Windows users that will help almost elimate this problem. When you are setting up your backups, whether you are using an app, Windows backup or **any** online service, don’t use the default settings. When you do, many times you will be backing up application data and internet temporary files. In the case of a complete system restore, these are files that you don’t want anyway, since your applications won’t be the same and there is no reason at all to save temporary files of any kind. That’s why they are called temporary!

So, when setting up your backup, take a few minutes to actually specify the files you want. Don’t accept the default. For most users, all you need are the following folders.

**Windows XP**

  • Desktop
  • My Documents
  • Favorites

**Windows Vista/Windows 7**

  • Your User folder

Selecting just the important documents and files to backup will make your backup more efficient and faster. If you use programs like Quickbooks or any other proprietary software, it’s a good idea to also save the folder for that app located in c:\program files, just in case. And don’t forget those company files either!


Relocation is almost complete. While I won’t be doing any more onsite computer repair, I will still be taking your questions and answering them the best I can. You can do that at any time on my Facebook page or by using the contact form.

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