You’ll find a selection of
external hard drives at most
Costco warehouses and
online at Costco.com
(search “hard drives”).
Save your computer’s
data in a safe place
By Andy Penfold
YOU TURN on your computer one morning,
just as you always do. You are greeted with a
lingering blank blue screen. No matter what
you do—turn it off and on, hold down
Control+Alt+Delete, swear furiously at it—
the blue screen remains.
To cut a long story short, your hard drive
has crashed. You’ve lost everything—your
work, your music, your digital photo library,
even your contacts book and calendar. It is at
times like these you’ll really wish you’d
backed up your computer.
Hard-drive crashes, laptop thefts and
other data disasters can happen with no
warning, and they can be catastrophic for
your business or personal life. Fortunately,
modern computers make backing up very
easy, so put your mind at peace and set up a
automated service. That way
you can set it up and forget
about it, safe in the knowledge that your data is always
backed up as you work.
Hundreds of services are available online
that offer automated backup, such as Dropbox,
iCloud, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Carbonite
and SugarSync. Some of these are free, while
others charge a subscription fee.
Storing data on a drive
If you don’t want yet another online
account with yet another faceless online company, or you’d rather not keep your data on
remote servers, you could opt to keep your
data on an external hard drive at home.
There are plenty of options when shopping for an external hard drive—many are
designed to look very cool on your desk or
bookshelves. Whatever style you go for,
get one that has at least twice as much
storage space as your computer. That way,
it’ll be able to store multiple backups and
will keep files even after you’ve deleted them
on your computer.
When using a high-capacity hard drive,
it’s best to create a complete copy of your
computer. That way, if your computer whirs
its final whir, you can restore your exact
working environment onto a replacement
Microsoft Windows offers a built-in
application called Windows Backup that
makes setting up an automated, computer-
wide backup easy. Usually, you’ll be prompted
to set this up when you plug in your new hard
drive. The computer will ask if you want to use
the drive as your backup storage device.
Simply click “Yes” and follow the instructions.
Andy Penfold is a freelance technology writer.
Going online for backup
Backup options vary in terms of sophistication, from expensive software packages to
simply burning important files to DVDs or
copying them to USB pen drives. However,
you’re best off employing a cost-effective
AUGUST 2012 ;e Costco Connection 17 Troubleshooting your gadgets
DID YOU KNOW that Costco offers
free technical support for many of
your tech purchases? If you have
any trouble setting up your removable hard-drive backup, or experience other gadget glitches, you can
contact Costco Concierge Services
toll free at 1-866-861-0450.—AP