Armageddon coming to a Windows XP machine near you!

On the 8th April this year Microsoft will stop supporting Windows XP (and Office 2003) – that is, if you read the popular press and believe everything that the “guy down the pub that knows computers” says then your whole computing world will end. Famine will sweep across your hard drive, a plague of locusts may well emerge from your CD ROM drive and every single hacker in the whole world will go to town on your bank account details. Or will they? Read this entire article »

Crypto Virus – Update (how to protect yourself!)

Last time we looked at a new virus making the rounds called Crypto Locker, this virus is ‘ransomware’ and not only locks you out of your computer, demanding money to give you access again but also encrypts all of your important data so even asking/paying a computer tech to clear the virus won’t give you your data back! Read this entire article »

Crypto Locker Virus

Ok, I know that we are all cautious when it comes to viruses and we always try to ensure that we have our anti-virus programs up to date. However, in reality the worst case scenario is that if you are unlucky enough to become infected all you will need to do is pay someone like me some folding stuff to come and sort it out for you. Even if you are badly infected, computer experts can in most cases recover all of your important data (as long as you haven’t tried too hard to fix it yourself that is!) Read this entire article »

Computer New Year’s Resolutions…

Well it’s that time of year again! Christmas is over (well the one on the 25th December is anyway) I hope you all had a great time, received the presents you were hoping for and didn’t drink too much – well 2 out of 3 ain’t bad!

As we start to make those unrealistic resolutions that we never have any intention of keeping, I thought I would throw in a few more achievable resolutions that you should consider for the health of your computer. Read this entire article »

Password Managment

Nowadays it seems that we have to be “the amazing memory man” to survive in the modern world.  Everything we use seems to need at least one set of characters or a password in order to operate or access it!

We have pin numbers for bank cards, a pin number for our phones, passwords for our email, Skype, social network accounts not to mention Facebook, our online bank accounts and probably so much more.  We all know that its best to use a different password for each thing as we understand that using the same password for everything leaves us open to a world of hurt if we fall foul of hackers, but the fact that we have so many different passwords means that we invariably end up writing them down in some way which is just as bad as having the same password for everything! Read this entire article »

The Importance Of Backing Up…

This month we return to the subject of backups. There are so many people that simply do not look after their data properly and end up losing it because they just haven’t taken the time to back it up.  There are even more that “think” that they back up their data, however when it comes to the crunch their well‐laid plans fail because of an identifiable flaw in their backup solution. Read this entire article »

Why Are Backups Important – And What Do I Need?

I am regularly asked about how to take backups, I guess it’s something that we all know we should do but it’s one of those things that we never really get around to doing.  The long and the short of it is if you don’t have your important data in two or more places then you don’t really have it at all.  I’m not scared mongering here, it’s not unusual for computer hard drives to simply fail, for them to become corrupted or infected by a virus or for a computer to be stolen.  Now, while I would wish this on none of you, I do see it happening to people up and down the Costa on a daily basis and most of them unfortunately have not taken the time to do a backup. Read this entire article »

Can you afford to lose your digital memories?

Hi, my name is Richard.  Welcome to the first computer column sponsored by – I hope you had a thoroughly relaxing Christmas free from technical problems.

First, a little about me and why I feel qualified to talk to you about technical matters.  Before moving to Gran Alacant in October 2006, I was a manager and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE), for a large My 13 years experience in IT and my love of anything technical or ‘gadgety’ means that I have amassed a decent amount of experience in most IT area’s.

I can only write about what interests you or what you are struggling with if you tell me; so please, if you want a topic to be mentioned in the column write to me at [email protected] and I will try to cover everything that I receive over the coming months.

There are so many subjects that I could cover including; emails, attachments, scanning, digital photos, downloading music, storage issues, using your PC as a telephone, backups, how to get on the Internet and instant messaging, etc.  The list is endless.  This month I have decided to write a little about backups and protecting your data as this is something that we all know we should do, but don’t tend to do it for a variety of reasons.

You may have been lucky enough to receive a digital camera or MP3 player for Christmas, or perhaps you already have one?  Like most of us you have probably been downloading music for your MP3 player or snapping away with your digital camera, happily downloading all of your music and pictures onto your PC.

Have you ever considered what you would do if you lost it all?

All of those memories potentially gone forever?  Scary?  Hold on to that thought, this is exactly the reason that you should backup your data.

“Backup’s are like a parachute … you probably will never need it, but if you do, you need it really badly!”

You can lose your computer data in a number of ways, theft, hardware failure, fire, virus or just by mistake.  If you have taken a recent backup then you are probably ok, if you haven’t, then that’s it, its gone, potentially lost forever, nothing that you can do – if you still have the computer then there are companies that specialise in recovering seemingly lost data, but they are expensive and the process can be complicated.

There is no doubt that good backups are the answer!

So, what can you do about it?

Well, if you have a modern PC then you probably have a CD or DVD writer installed in it, this can be used to take a backup.  If you have an older PC then you could always backup to a removable USB drive or some other form of external storage.

Another good alternative could be to use an online backup company; they allow you to backup your data over the Internet to their servers.  Many of these companies charge for their services, however I have found who offer a 1Gb (gigabyte) service for free.

How much data can I backup?
Backup Media Approximate number of files(assuming 4Mb per file)
CD 162.5 pictures or songs
DVD 1152 pictures or songs
USB Drive (2Gb) 512 pictures or songs
NAS (120Gb) 3,0720 pictures or songs
Online Company (1Gb) 256 pictures or songs

There are, of course, many other backup methods that I have not mentioned; backing up to NAS (Network Attached Storage) or to tape or using another form of storage.  The subject is huge and I only have a limited amount of space – if you would like to find out more or have any questions then don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected] or ring me on 655044970.